A mid 17th century proverb says, “Good fences make good neighbors.” That might have applied in the 17th century but I know from experience that is not the case in the 21st century. I know because I am having a fence built. My contractor says the only way to really know your neighbors is to put up a fence. They will show their true colors. We decided to put up a three rail ranch fence around the front and sides of our property. I told the neighbors the fence was going in even before I chose a contractor. Did they complain then? No.
Did the neighbors complain when eighty holes were dug for the new fence? No.
Did they complain when eighty bags of cement were laid out, one beside each hole? No.
Did they complain when eighty posts were placed, one in each hole? No.
Did they complain when the dry cement was poured in the holes and all eighty poles were carefully leveled and straightened? No.
Did they complain when water was poured into the holes to set the concrete? No.
Did they complain when they chatted with my contractor keeping him from his work? No.
Did they complain during the 48 hours the cement was setting up? No.
Did they complain the moment the cement hardened? Yes!
Did they instruct their lawyer to send us a letter threatening a lawsuit unless we moved the fence? Yes.
Do they own the property on which they claim our fence encroaches? No.
Do they sneak over to check out the fence when they think we aren’t looking? Yes.
Is this the most ridiculous lawsuit in history? No, the goose poop lawsuit against another neighbor takes that title.
It seems as if in their old age, some people find pleasure in making others miserable. It really is sad and pathetic. What drives that in people? Is it anger about growing old? Is it regret for what they didn’t achieve in life? Is it like the child throwing a temper tantrum where any attention is better than none? What must life be like when lived this way? Do they derive pleasure from it or do they know their behavior is nasty and vindictive and feel guilty? Does knowing that everyone in the neighborhood hates them make them feel powerful? Why can’t they stop and let the people around them live their lives in peace? I wish I knew. I only know that I don’t want to become one of those people.