The Neighbors


Everyone has trouble with neighbors. At least that's what you always hear. They're loud. They're obnoxious. They invade your privacy. Destroy your property. Borrow things (mostly without asking) and never return them. They're the topic of endless novels, jokes, movies, even television series. Tales that go on and on until you think you've heard them all, but wait until you hear about my neighbors' antics. This has the makings of a whole new round of stories.

Last summer, for example, one of their kids had the audacity to steal a piece of mango left out to dry in the solar oven. Chasing him off was of no use. He just waited until I was otherwise occupied and came right back. Another swiped some of the bolts that hold the spare tire to my trailer. That meant a trip to the hardware store for replacement parts. One deemed it necessary to possess a piece of rope with which I had tied my hammock to a nearby tree. He worked and struggled and fought and pulled, quite entertaining to watch, but finally surrendered the fight and gave up. I even caught one messing around in the engine of my car, apparantly intrigued by something under the air filter. Chasing him off again and again took a frustrating amount of time and energy, but he, too, eventually gave it up. This never happened when the cats were around.

Busy as they are during the day, at night they're even more active. Many times I know they've been around only by the prints they leave, right up to the door of my house. Other times I can hear them, rustling around, disturbing my sleep, left to imagine only god-knows-what kind of mischief they are into. Lately, someone has taken to leaving a 'stash' in the folded bottom of my lawn chair each night. A sure sign of nighttime activity, and I can't imagine what else. I wonder what kind of stories they tell about me each night.

One ripped open a blue-ice bag I'd placed outside to cool and then dumped over the solar oven. I really don't think he meant to destroy anything, just an overgrown adolescent who didn't know his own strength. However, ANGS064croppedone sat and cussed me out every morning from his perch in the tree, all the w hile raining down pinecones as if to say "take that!" Then he found one of my blankets and tore holes in it. Retaliation, I think. Then he ripped apart the arm of my lawn chair. Neither sound very tasty to me, but then what do I know about building nests.

They quickly became comfortable with my presence, sunning with me, ignoring my comings and goings, begging for food with their big, brown eyes. One jumped into my lap for a hand-out, scaring himself even worse than he did me and then quickly scurrying away. And they did provide hours of entertainment, climbing through branches, contorting like gymnasts, hanging from their toes to reach the tantalizing purple berries of the serviceberry tree.


I've been 'buzzed' by a pair of curious golden eagles and tickled by a lizard, stalked by an angry squirrel, and serenaded by coyotes. Does and their fawns nap in the tall grass just outside my trailer. Not your normal neighborhood tales. But, all in all they've been very gracious, accepting my presence, sharing their backyard, and hopefully, not talking too badly about me, their new neighbor.

(Home) (Quoth the Raven)