Back in olden times when I lived in town, in apartments and duplexes (and one time in a granny unit), I was a nervous neighbor. I didnít like other peopleís noise, and I especially didnít like other peopleís cars. Thatís mostly what I moved out into the country to get away from. Other people.
In my reckless youth, I would stand up for my rights by pounding on the walls or stomping on the floor, if I thought too much noise was coming through. To this day, nothing sets my teeth on edge more than hearing the bass line booming through the wall. I always made sure no one could hear me, and I expected the same consideration (which I rarely got).
Even when I got over the wall-pounding phase, I still had issues. If something was going on, I peeked through the mini-blinds. If a neighborís visitor was parked in my driveway, I camped out beside the window, alternately peeking and cursing until they left. I lost many nights of sleep worrying about things that I had no control over. Maybe thatís where I got into the habit.
Itís been almost five years since Iíve had to live under those conditions, and Iím a little bit out of that worrying habit. Then today, when I walked out to get my mail, I found a pickup truck parked at the end of my driveway (the part I share with the landlordís other property next door, so it wasnít exactly blocking me). There was a guy in the truck. He was reading the comics section of the paper.
Immediately my stomach tightened up. I walked by him and got my mail out of the box, then turned around and saw another pickup (a red one) parked along the side of my street a few feet west of the driveway. I had to wonder what was going on. It brought back a lot of bad memories, mostly of my own behavior. I didnít want to fall back into that pattern, but neither did I want some stranger parked that close to my house.
I did pretty well, though. Because of fences, shrubs and trees, I canít see that area from my house without pulling a stepping stool up to the bathroom window and, yes, peeking through the blinds. Iím proud to say I didnít do this as soon as I got back to the house (although I thought about it). I waited about half an hour before checking. Both trucks were gone, but the uneasiness stayed with me. I guess that will always be part of me.