This feels so hypocritical after all my raving about how great our community is, how much we want to know our neighbours and so on…. but Brian and I are thinking that we might just have to build a taller fence around our yard sometime next year (when we have the cash to do so). And why? Because of a single problem neighbour on one side of us. He’s always been a bit of a jerk, ever since we moved in and he wouldn’t talk to us for the first eight months, but this summer we’ve apparently just been pissing him off to no end. Our dog barks at him, some grass clippings from our side went on his lawn when Brian was mowing, the fact our water goes on his side of the fence, seemingly because we spend time in our yard and he wants more privacy (the glaring!). Etc. And it’s not like his just asks nicely about things. Everything he says is just dripping with loathing attitude and tough-guy anger.
Now, I might be able to deal with it, if he just mostly kept to himself – but I’ve also noticed his tendency to stare into our yard when I’m out there working. I don’t know what is going on there, but when we are both in our yards, I often turn up from my work to find him looking at me (this doesn’t happen when his partner – the owner of the house – or Brian are in the yards as well, so I find it creepy even though it’s not a particularly lascivious look).
Last night he yelled up at our house during dinner because my sprinkler was sprinkling in the very corner of his concrete walkway and he “had to do some work” – which was all of about 2 minutes of watering his hedges in a corner not affected by my sprinkler. Obviously, he was just irritated about the fact our water hit the yard at all. So I’m a bit tired of it. A bit tired of being stared at, a bit tired of being glared at, a bit tired of being barked at about nothing. A bit tired also of hearing about how he is such a perfectionist with the implication that our yard is a mess (he strives for one of those stupid perfect lawns). Which I think gets to the heart of the real problem – he thinks we are weird, and he doesn’t like our aesthetic of veggie boxes and berry bushes and bicycles tucked under the back porch. Recently I heard him telling people that he was planting some hedges along the fence to get some privacy from us – though from what I can tell of the hedges, it will be at least five years before they provide any kind of a screen (he doesn’t know much about gardening).
But on our side we’re thinking that six feet instead of four feet would make a real difference in enjoying our backyard without his attitude. So a fence next spring perhaps? According to the City of Vancouver we have to get agreement from their side to replace our fence, and I can only imagine the fuss about having to come onto their property to do work – but really, it’s probably worth it to never have to deal with him again. (On the other hand, I am perversely looking forward to disturbing him off with our permaculture-design frontyard and boulevard which I pretty much guarantee will make him tense for months to come once it goes in/)