My flakes versus your flakes.
By Sue Langenberg
There is a nut case in every neighborhood. This one knocked on my back door the other day first thing in the morning.
I could tell already by the frumpy sound of the knock that I was guilty of something. There are knocks from a friendly neighbor to announce the birth of a new baby. There are knocks from neighbors during the holidays to leave cookies and best wishes. I once heard a knock to ask if I needed help with my grass.
This knock shook the door with hostility. Had I known what was coming, I would have played deaf. Too late, I opened the door and recognized the neighbor across the street.
He’s the one who stands at the edge of his property in the summer and glares my way because a fleck of dandelion from my garden might waft his way. He can tell because my dandelion flecks have nametags on them. His rectangular grass blades salute in perfect order and bushes are geometric perfection. He just knows that I am the enemy because my flowers seem disorderly.
In the fall, no self-respecting leaf would blow in his direction. If so, he would examine it carefully to see whose name tag cross his property line.
So our recent Polar Vortexes brought inches and inches of snow. Out came the shovels, blowers, and neighborly greetings to make sure that we were all safe and cleaned up.
It was inevitable that this frumpy knock would lead to some major felony that bothered his perfect little world. There was no “hello,” “how are you?” or “excuse me.” Just a glare.
I’ve driven down country roads two states away where people routinely wave at complete strangers. I have lived in the city where people say “hello” on subways. I have waved at intersections to other drivers, “thanks for letting me go first.”
But this aforementioned nut case glared without greeting. He was convinced that my personal snowflakes were bothering his personal snowflakes. There was a million of my nametags to prove it. He probably sorted them out only after taking a hairdryer to the perfect cement in his driveway. In fact, in case anyone missed the weather report during that storm, local meteorologists cautioned that I funneled the entire blizzard to dump mountainous snow on his driveway.
He threatened to “Call the mayor!” twice. Gee I was scared. Hello Mr. Mayor! I know that you have nothing to do, but you probably should haul in the FBI to investigate the DNA on my personal snowflakes. If arrested, please Mr. Mayor, allow me one phone call to my lawyer who specializes in serial snowkillers.
Meantime, he parts his curtains to glare all day, hoping to find somebody somewhere breaking some law so he can “Call the mayor!” With any luck, he’ll find some old law on the books that says no one is allowed to chat in front of their houses.
Probably the worst offense about having such a glaring nut case is having no small but powerful greeting, “hello,” or “excuse me, but could we cooperate about…” or even a smile that says it might be good to be alive. Apparently his grandmother never told him that you could kill more flies with honey than vinegar.
In my mind, there is only one solution for neighborhood nut cases. Throw a block party in the summer with dandelion decorations, have a leaf-piling party in the fall and carol in front of his house during the holidays about the Grinch.