Thursday, January 30, 2014

At the end of the sidewalk/ Thursday confessional

Sometimes I actually wake up early enough to shovel the entire block's sidewalk. I've mentioned it's a race to clear out my elderly neighbours' place, John and Bernice, to the south of me? A race against neighbour Greg who lives to the south of the elders. 
Who will get John and Bernice's sidewalk and driveway cleared first? I rarely win ... unless Greg is away... usually Greg has my entire sidewalk and driveway shoveled by the time I've opened my eyes.
Sometimes for fun or maybe for spite, I shovel the sidewalk of the Odd woman who lives beside meto the North. She hates it.

She only started hating it this winter, she's retired and wants to use the shoveling as "a way to get some exercise". Previous winters she would just glare at me from her front door while I shoveled her out... sometimes she'd open the door, then slam it shut if she saw me.

It's still snowing. It's snowing again.
In french these two sentences are the same.

Today I was shoveling my own driveway when the odd woman began yelling at me. "Do you let Greg shovel your sidewalk?"
Me: I love it when he shovels my sidewalk!
Odd: (yelling angrily) I keep telling him to stop but he does it, I want the exercise. Why does he do it? It's my sidewalk, he should just mind his own business.  Then there's farmer bob over there (gesturing madly to Darrell's house) making a mess! (Darrell has a plow and plows out the end of our driveways and creates a parking space on the road... the town plows have pretty much reduced us to a single lane) People can't even be considerate.

She alternates between yelling and mumbling rude things about the neighbours for a while. Each time I turn away to leave she calls out to me.

At this point I've got my back to her while I shovel because I can't handle how negative she is. She's rebuffed several of my attempts to remind her of the way people are being kind to each other on the street.  I make some comments about how nice it is to have neighbours who like to help each other.
She starts yelling more angrily.
Odd: they need to leave me alone! People putting their business where it doesn't belong.
Me: are you mad at me for something?
Odd: (still yelling) no I'm not.

She starts complaining again...(more yelling...  Bernice is now watching out her door and the woman who lives on the corner waves timidly to me as she pulls her car out of driveway)
Me: why are you yelling at me?
Odd: and then my door was frozen shut and farmer bob just watched me. Just watched me! I had to carry buckets of boiling water to get the ice off my car. And no one even offered to help. Everyone here is so rude and inconsiderate! Worst neighbours ever! Can't even be bothered to help me. My car was frozen shut for two days.

Me: why are you yelling at me? You keep saying you don't want help.
Odd: they shouldn't just sit there. I'm a single woman, someone's got to help me

Me: (very frustrated and loudly) you have to decide... you just yelled at me that you didn't want any help and that we're rude and inconsiderate for trying to help you and now you're yelling and complaining that no one helps you. You can't have it both ways.... you are being inconsiderate to people who are trying very hard to be kind to you.

I turn away and keep shoveling....

Odd starts singing a cheerful tune. She's won... She's made me as angry as she is.

I've made her day.

Thursday confessional? It still felt really good to tell her off.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Good for you Ms. B! People who behave that way need to be called on it. But next time - smile the whole time you're telling her off - it'll drive her mad ;-)