Not Such a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Our first house together was a rental duplex in High Park. We knew something was awry when we collected the mail from the common mailbox one afternoon and saw that first letter. It was from the Attorney General’s office and was addressed to the neighbour who lived upstairs. Over time, the letters increased in frequency; the envelopes became increasingly colourful and the font size of the word ‘URGENT’ also ballooned to quite incredible proportions. That was 15 years ago, and we periodically wonder if he’s still on the lam from the law. So when I recently saw a link on the Toronto Star website to an article entitled, “Next Door to Trouble: Neighbours as Nightmares”, I was tickled by the prospects of reading about the camaraderie of the shared experience of the nightmare neighbour.
The article waded through the usual neighbourhood conflicts of noise (parties, pets), garbage, and other common by-law violations such as too-tall fences, too-long grass and too-overhanging trees. But the meat of the article, and by far the most entertaining portion, referred to a number of websites designed to help one navigate the muddy waters of personal relationships, whether they be at home, in the community, or at work. Ahhhh – now we’re cooking with gas.
First up is civilityexperts.com, a Winnipeg-based website offering seminars and tips ‘aimed at fostering respect and communication’. Some 10 percent of the emails it receives are related to bad behaviour in the ‘hood, citing the example of the family who returned from vacation only to find the neighbours in their pool. The Americans have rottenneighbour.com while the Brits have Neighbours from Hell. These websites serve as ‘early warning systems’ for those in the market for a new home. Clever. New, from the creator of civilityexperts.com is youresorude.com, a website that charges a very affordable $2 to send a nasty anonymous email to your neighbour on your behalf.
We’ve moved around a lot since High Park and now count ourselves blessed that our worst complaint about our neighbour is that he has the best damn lawn on the block.
Jennifer Hartman, Guest Blogger