Neighbors: We all have them—some close and not so far and some at quite a distance, but the ones that live across the street from us are observers of some of the most routine or personal elements of our very lives. Such is the case with Georgeann and her family. The husband appears to be a quiet, sociable man, and the kids are unrecognizable from any other grown children, still at home after completing school. Each has a relatively new car and fashionable clothing and says nothing when they pull out of the driveway to leave the neighborhood. I don’t know if any of these people are friends of others in the area as they seem to be cloistered behind the doors and unacknowledgable to others.
All of this would be fine if Georgeann, the mother was a decent human being. But here’s the hard part: She is rude and vicious woman. She screams incredibly repulsive language at me when she sees me walking my dog near her house. I am certain that she is mentally ill. When makes things worse is that I don't blame illness on anyone, but I only wish she'd get it treated. On occasion, Maggie has let loose in on her front lawn, but because I always carry paper towels and plastic bags, she has nothing to worry about in terms of dirtying up her grass; I’ve never heard such profanity and evil behavior from any other woman I’ve ever known. My dog and her walks are no threat to her, yet you’d think we were spreading botulism all over her property.
Georgeann is a very angry person and she lets that rage spill out on me in virulent ways. Her outdoor cats have run through my property for years and dumped on my lawn in front of me, yet I have never made complaints. Why? Because I never considered it or them a major problem. I wish I never had to hear her spiteful voice again, but I’ve listened to it during all the time she abused her children when they were small, until they grew tall enough to protect themselves. I wanted to report her to the Department of Children’s Protective Services then, but I didn’t. Lucky her. Poor children. Irresponsible me.
So last Wednesday, she watched me walk my dog in front of her house and tried to carve a niche inside my head with her obscenities and threats to call the police to complain about my behavior. I chose to ignore her. As I turned to go into my driveway, I gave her a stalwart finger salute.And, instead of waiting to see if she followed through with her threat, I called the village police instead, and informed them of her threats to me.
Officer White told me that they were aware of her noxious behavior from other neighbors and they considered her outrageous behavior to be outright harassment. He told me that when a dog is on a leash, as mine always is, it s not abusing the “curb your dog” law. My dog did NOT mess up her lawn that day and I only grabbed some dirt to indicate I was showing good faith.The police also have information about her prior abusive behavior to her children reported by others in this area who must have done far more than I, so my plight with her was carefully documented by them a long time ago. Apparently, others more brave than I had documented her child abuse when I was too frightened to do so.
So I got brave enough to write her a note detailing all that I am reporting now. Georgeann now knows the police are totally aware of her behavior, and I don’t think I have to fear any more inappropriate actions from her any longer.
But perhaps I do. Officer White told me to carry my cell phone whenever I walk my dog and speed dial the police when she goes on another tirade. He promised me that they would be over to my neighborhood in short order to quell the problem. And how does it feel to know that I’ve put her on notice? Not very good, even though the problem seems to be addressed. But, when I went out this morning to get the newspapers, I found what appeared to be scrapings of mud or dog droppings along the edges of my steps. My first fear was that Georgeann had deliberately planted some dog droppings from another animal on my property. I ran inside to my husband to report the incident and he told me that he had stepped in mud the night before while walking Maggie and hadn’t cleaned up the steps yet. It took a while for my blood pressure to drop from what I thought was an all out strike in a long war.
My neighborhood is quite serene. The other adults and children are sublime. The scenery is dramatically beautiful. But one bad apple among stately trees and people can set your heart racing and reduce your confidence, knowing that one must call the police now and again to keep it that way.