Everybody needs good neighbours. There's a song in that to be sure, but apparently it's not one to which we all choose to harmonise.
No, there's a growing divide between neighbours and acting neighbourly. While the definition of one who lives next door or close by remains essential to being a neighbour, many such dwellers in today's "hoods" seem to reject the other important element involved in their position.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a neighbour not only dwells next door, near, in same street or village or district, or in adjacent country, but the same nearby dweller is also "one who should be friendly or as having claim on others' friendliness". It refers to the age-old "duty to one's neighbour (or any fellow man)" as well.
Whatever the case, it's a shame unneighbourly behaviour, that is failing to display a "characteristic of or befitting neighbour(s)" or being "friendly or kindly", is as much the norm as otherwise.
He followed the unwelcome visitors out to speak to their owner and ensure it doesn't happen again, but she was already off down the road and barely visible in the black night. Perhaps she'd heard the raucous her dogs had caused and scurried off.
Then we saw the blood. Not only had these two delinquent dogs invaded our brittle-boned,15-year-old Bella's territory, they had entered her safe house and attacked her to the point of needing veterinary attention. This was on a Friday night so not only were the nine stitches in her shoulder upsetting generally, but the after-hours bill added an extra pinch.
What was even more aggravating, however, was the response of the other dogs' owners when we finally caught up with them. Despite being upset at the thought of what could have happened again to Bella, I was neighbourly in my approach but it didn't work.
She rudely rejected what I had said and told me that her dogs would never have done that and wouldn't admit any fault. I have not seen her walking her hounds in months. Instead now they are almost always with their master. In a strange case of reverse sexism, I thought a man would be more rational to deal with on such matters.
Thus, when I pulled into our drive one day and saw he and his dogs heading our way, I waddled out with my very pregnant belly. Hopeful of some resolution, I explained to him what I had explained to his wife, but he was rude, arrogant, dismissive and entirely unneighbourly.
It was all the more unattractive given he was a senior man who should be wiser by now, not to mention entirely in the wrong, and talking to a younger, heavily pregnant woman. I haven't called the pound. I probably "should".
Everybody needs good neighbours, just not everybody has them.
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Tags: neighbour "bad neighbour"