July 10, 2009

I Can't Make You Love Me, But I CAN Bend You to My Will

I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it wont...

Bonnie Raitt

My mother has the worst neighbors. Okay, maybe "worst" is a slight exaggeration. Maybe a more accurate description would be to say she has really horrible, unfriendly, gossipmongering neighbors. Oh yeah, and then there is crazy trashbags-on-the-fence lady whose saga is getting more intense by the day. She can take up a whole post on her own (and I'm sure she will when I have the chance to write it all down).

My mom lives at the end of a dead-end road in a very small, rural lake area. There are only three people on her road and one of them lives right next to her (crazy trash bag lady) and the other lives down at the corner.

For months I have been driving past the Corner Lady's house and frequently she will be outside sitting on her lawn furniture just hanging out. I always wave and smile and she just stares at me, never waving back.

A couple of weeks ago she and another neighbor were walking down the road with about five tiny dogs which were all running amok around the wheels of my car. Crazy Drunk Neighbor picked up two of the dogs and managed to shoo all but one out from around my vehicle. I rolled forward at a 1/2 a mile an hour creep and as I pass by Corner Lady starts squawking, "Go SLOW now, go SLOW..."

I wanted to say, "Lady, if I were going any slower, I'd be traveling backward through time." Instead I just smiled and waved through the window and kept on going. She sniffed dismissively and turned away, walking down the driveway.

Lately I have been driving down there almost daily, taking Mom groceries and doing errands for her. The other day Corner Lady was sitting outside with a couple I didn't recognize. I drove past her place really slowly and she stared at me the whole way past. I smiled and waved vigorously like I was trying to win first place in a Miss Congeniality contest. In response she gave me the usual cold stare.

It really aggravated me. It aggravates me all the time, really, but for some reason that day it REALLY aggravated me. Maybe having to drive past all those crazy trashbags flapping in the breeze next to my mom's house made me insane. Maybe it was the summer heat and me not drinking as much water as I should.

I slowed down even more and waved again in case she had looked sideways as I was rolling past. Nope, she was looking right at me. More waving, more grinning like a pageant contestant.

There was the corner and I rolled slowly through it and turned, still driving past her house. I waved again and smiled. Still no response. I pressed on the brakes and stopped the car and just stared at her for a second. And then I waved again.

And I kept waving. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity just waving to her. She sat there for as long just staring at me waving to her. The hair on the back of my neck started to prickle. I decided I didn't care how long I had to sit there. I wasn't leaving until she waved at me.

Finally, with a pained expression on her face she lifted her arm and gave a half-wave similar to how you shoo off a particularly persistent fly. I grinned and stepped on the gas. Off we went, me and my small, petty victory. It was a start anyway.

I used to dread driving by her house all the time, but now I must admit I'm really looking forward to it!

29 comments:

  1. Ugh! I hate neighbors in all forms. Even the really really nice ones end up doing something messed up eventually.

    You can only put up with crap from your siblings, your parents and your best friends from high school...everyone else doesn't get a free pass.

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  2. My mother had a neighbor that never waved. She just stared and squinted. My mother's explanation, "She's sometimes like that?" Here, I found out that she wears glasses, and rarely wears them out in the yard. I wasn't so offended after this considering I have know her since I was about 14 or so...may be younger. I always got the stare! She didn't know who I was because she couldn't see me.

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  3. I think your mother might live next door to my grandmother. If this is the case, just so you know, she's not only not waving at you - she's saying nasty things about you under her breath as well. Just a heads up...

    Thanks for another hilarious post!!

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  4. I'm so offended by people that can't produce a simple smile or wave. Next time smile and give her the finger. For what is probably going through her mind when you're waving away, she deserves it.

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  5. Oh be careful now :) You may just become friends if you don't keep your distance!! *wink*

    I've always wanted to do a post about the neighbor we had while growing up... sent us threatening letters through an attorney about keeping the ball off her lawn, because her husband liked to nap in his underwear outside in the back yard!! Its a long saga, that ends with my mother and I taking care of her and eventually helping her into a nursing home...

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  6. Too Funny ... I wonder what's she's telling to others about the lady who waved at her LOL

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  7. Ha! Perfect!
    Your powers are impressive, Sensei.

    I look forward to more neighbor quashing stories.

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  8. Mary's Mom: see how nice you are compared to me?? That never occurred to me. OOPS!

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  9. Wendy, I so look forward to your stories. This is just too good.

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  10. I wish I had the guts to do that! We just moved and I have quite a few, um, less than nice neighbors.

    Too funny!

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  11. I don't think there's a person alive who doesn't have a neighbor story! If this had been me, I'd probably have had to stop and 'nicely' said that I was just curious why she never acknowledged me, had I done something to offend her. Put her on the spot. I know that curiosity killed the cat, though, and I might be worried (in this day and age) that there was a gun under her apron!

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  12. I'm impressed by your persistence in grinding her down. Maybe we can see a little curl of the lip that may vaguely suggest something like a smile. Or would that be too much to cope with?

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  13. Effective tactic. I used a version of your tactic yesterday, by the way. We were at the zoo, and every patron there was miserable because of the relentless heat. (Animal turds cook in heat like that, in case you were wondering.) So I made a very loud joke about a camel and his drool-mouthed mug. I actually managed to get a few people in the vicinity to laugh out loud. Destroy glumness, I always say.

    P.S. Your life reads like a movie.

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  14. What in the world is that lady's problem! My goodness!

    I had to laugh at your little victory. I can picture myself doing the same thing.

    Man, how rude is she!

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  15. You are, my dear, a Hoot, a Toot and An 'ole Coot...keep up the good work and don't get too worked up..

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  16. LLOL! I can COMPLETELY relate. I'm a "waving" runner. Runners wave to ALL fellow runners and walkers, no matter what. When someone doesn't return the wave or even a head nod, I mutter bad words under my breath toward him/her. It's a blog subject, actually....

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  17. Oh, my. She's scared of you now. I love being really nice to people not being nice to me - and when they realize I'm getting nicer. Evil, perhaps. You might be my twin.

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  18. Reminds of how my mom used to say, "kill 'em with kindness" about the mean kids in school. I often wanted to make those mean kids have to be nice to me just to irritate them!

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  19. Very Under the Tuscan Sun, and she, too, just kept on waving until the old guy waved back - at least in the movie. Your version is much funnier!! I would be thinking that maybe she didn't take her meds today - you are braver than me. :)

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  20. thank you so much for your kind words~~~they really help

    nice to find another blog to read

    char

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  21. and one from arkansas~~ hello neighbor!

    i am from lower arkansas now, have lived in northern, central but am now back in my hometown

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  22. I won't go into it here but, I have neighbors I'd like to see move away... far away. Glad you were able to have your small victory. Makes one day go better I think. Hope all is well. Good night.

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  23. I do so enjoy your writings. As to the victory with the wave, all I can say is "You Go Girl!"

    I have a few neighbors very similar to the ones you describe. I walk by their houses every day ...... (back woods country road) and get all sorts of dirty looks and worse. I wave (both ways) and shout "G'Day Love!" and keep walking. 17 years and they STILL don't recognize me. Maybe some day ......

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  24. You are hilarious! I would love to just spend a day with you. I can only imagine what was running through that lady's head. I can totally picture the "wave" that she gave you if you wanna call it that.

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  25. If I did that with my neighbors, I'd probably get the middle finger or worse. That's why I try to avoid direct eye contact at all times.

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  26. oh my, i love your persistence and perserverance. i recently wrote about my new neighbor who is driving us crazy and who seems to have our landlord skewered on his ambivalence, to our frustration...and then i deleted it cuz i thought i was just being whiny. glad to read this! good for you.

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