I met a dear college friend for breakfast the other day in the city. While parallel parking on a wide street with plenty of room to go around, an angry woman gave me the finger. Try as I might, I can’t figure out why she felt I deserved the finger. There were other spaces– I did not cut her off, nor did I block her from continuing down the street. Using soft eyes, perhaps she was just having a bad day. But, Abby, or Ann Landers, or anyone else who writes a famous advice column, why do people do this?
This week, we received our second formal complaint from our condo association where we live. The first took place 4th of July weekend when we had “too much going on in the common area.” My most read and shared blog article to date and you can find it here (https://heatherkrill.com/2016/07/16/for-our-grumpy-neighbor-who-complained-about-too-much-going-on-in-our-yard/) We love our neighborhood–fiercely–and we adore most of our neighbors: Sweet Claire and Jim who rent to awesome interns from Tufts University; Elsa who makes the best Italian cookies and leaves them on our door knob; Dave and Laura who always take time to visit when they are up skiing or hiking with their grown children; Dave and Debbie from Alabama who worry someone is sick when they don’t see our wild children out in the circle playing. We know our neighbors, at least the ones who have made an effort to reciprocate. Our kids bake cookies and share them around the cul de sac; they shovel others’ walkways. They are learning how to be good neighbors, and most of our neighbors model that for them.
The second complaint followed MA vacation week where parking is very limited. The email suggested there was a concern about not adhering to the parking policy of one spot per unit, etc, etc. The board was just doing its job in following up on complaints. Normally, there are just a few of us who live here full time, and it’s never an issue, except for Christmas and February vacation weeks when our towns multiply ten fold in size with tourism. We are grateful for the money our mountains and restaurants and ice castles bring in for the local economy. However, often times, renters forget that real people actually live in these condos ALL the TIME. Why didn’t they just knock on our door and have a conversation about the parking? Why did they complain to our condo association about something as insignificant as parking before trying to have a conversation? Had they knocked on our door, I could have explained that the reason I park next to my husband’s handicapped parking space (in front of our condo mind you) is because people sometimes park too close to him, and he can’t get out of his car. Or, he can’t even pull his car into the space. Abby, why don’t people knock on neighbors’ doors? Using soft eyes, perhaps they too had someone visiting with an elderly mother and needed to park close up to condo. Had we known, we could have been flexible and moved. Now, our family is up to two formal complaints from grumpy and uncommunicative neighbors to an association whose time and effort we support and appreciate.
So I’m mad thinking about these grumpy people of the world, when so much more really matters with friends’ parents struggling between life and death, other friends battling serious diseases and still others desperate to become parents– forget about even more complex issues like world peace and neglected children and drug addiction. This is what I’m thinking, Abby, while unloading my car of skis in the drop off zone of Loon Mountain yelling at my children for fighting with each other. I have a ski bag and three pairs of skis on my shoulder; poles are flying in every direction. And I’m wondering for the umpteenth time this ski season about why I can’t rent a Mountain Husband– the ones I’m secretly envious of who pull up in their GIANT SUV to drop off the Mrs. with their 1-4 children, carry all of the gear while the mom holds the hands of the children as they chat pleasantly. We are the opposite of that. We, with our loud voices, which a friend’s son recently shared sweetly, they were working hard at home not to use, and maybe we could work on that too. This little fellow is an only child, and I reminded him that when you have siblings, loud voices are simply a way of life.
Then a kind mountain host appeared to inquire politely if I needed any assistance. “Why, yes, Mr. Mountain Host I would love your assistance.” I could have cried. He appeared at the right place at the right time renewing my faith in the humanity of strangers. Funny how that happens. The next day, I brought them all cannoli, a small token of appreciation for making my day easier. Then I wrote the customer service department of Loon Mountain a note of gratitude, remembering so often we only send the emails to complain and not to give credit where credit is due.
Dear Abby, if someone sends you a note asking about how to handle the homeowners in their cul de sac with the wild children and overwhelming parking situation, please send them to me for a visit. We can have tea and talk it out just like we did back in the day before people lost the art of door knocking.
Heather Krill, North Woodstock, NH
PS. Check out my author FB page at Heather Krill, or you can follow me on twitter @heatherkrill1. You can also subscribe to wordpress so that you receive notification when a new blog posts if you are not on social media. Thank you always for reading and sharing. My audience is growing larger by the day, and one of these days someone will recognize the writing potential and reach out for that next novel! Back to the classroom tomorrow after a lovely vacation home with my children doing what we do best: skiing, playing, and making large messes.