Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Squall Line Vol. 7 – Who Needs Reality TV When There’s Reality?

Hurt. Indignation. Humor. Sagacity.
It took me 5 days to process this incident and gain some perspective on it. (FYI, sagacity can be defined as discernment.) This is a true story but the names have been changed to protect the kooky innocent. For this story, I’m going to give this neighbor the nickname of Mercurial Mable. You’ll understand why in a minute.

A sheriff’s officer showed up at my house the other day. He explained that my neighbor had called about the fact that her missing dog was last seen at my house and wanted to know what I knew about that. Her black lab puppy, named Obama since they got him on election day, loves to visit our 2 labrador retrievers. I told the deputy I was aware the dog was missing and had been looking for him myself. In fact, I had called my neighbor and spoken to Mr. Mable to offer to make signs or help in the search effort.

After the officer left, I wondered if I could have misinterpreted that conversation, but it sounded as if Mable had called the sheriff’s office to accuse me of harming or stealing her dog. Surely that couldn’t be; this is someone I have friendly talks with several times a week! I figured I would simply call her and be sure there wasn’t a problem. Bad idea.

When she answered the phone and I expressed my concern for Obama, she WENT OFF like a fireworks display. (Except this one was all smoke and noise - nothin' pretty about it.) I listened in stunned silence to her anger and venom. Yes, she’d called “The Law” on me because her dog had been last seen at my house. How could I hurt her and her husband like this by harming their dog? And on and on she went. When I would try to say something she would yell “I’M NOT FINISHED TALKING!” And when she had exhausted her rant, she hung up on me.

I couldn’t believe it! I was upset. I couldn’t find any humor in the episode.

Mable’s husband called that night and spoke to my husband to report the happy news that Obama had been found. He had been hanging out at someone’s home 2 miles through the woods on another road. My husband felt that the call was meant as an apology. And we are really happy Obama is back where he belongs. He’s very appealing but he can really stir up trouble. (Double meaning intended.)

Who needs to watch reality TV? I mean really? Give me happy endings and a meaningful script, but I can tune into my own neighbors for strife and drama.

By the next day, I started seeing some humor as my husband teased me by calling me a dog-snatcher.

Very quickly I made the conscious decision to forgive Mable. It’s a good thing I learned years ago that forgiveness is an act of the will – my emotions don’t always line up right away. It helps when I rationalize her behavior by wondering if she’s on some medication that makes her crazy, or maybe she was furious with someone else and I unwittingly wandered into the line of fire. Regardless of the reason, common sense tells me that if you know there’s a wasp nest in a tree, don’t mess with that tree or you’re going to get stung.

And you know that thought (in my 25 random things post) I had to run for public office? Forget it. My skin is not thick enough to be chewed up and spit back out.

If you have a squall, feel free to link up to the Squall Line. Please link the exact post below. It doesn't have to be a post from today!


Ballerina Girl said...

my neighbor upstairs always complains about the barking...which really isn't all that often!
not really worth a whole post, but just wanted you to know that we are all grilled at some point in our lives!

Greg C said...

I may have a rant later on today, pending the outcome of a meeting at my son's school.
I can't beleive that this neighbor didn't call to appologize. Perhaps she thinks you relocated her dog just to throw her off. If you already have two dogs why did you take hers. Confess right now.

Merrie said...

Well, you can probably take some comfort in the knowledge that you probably saved Mr. Mable from additional grief... She was able to spew on you so hopefully he got less spew. I'd say that he has a special place in heaven, and after your experience with her, you do too!
As the saying goes, "bless her Lord!" (of course said with a twang)!

My ADHD Me said...

You are a better woman than I am. I hate to admit it but I would feel the need to comment something after she found her Obama.

I had a similar incident. A neighbor had someone vandalize her Halloween decorations (the huge blow-up-air-inflated kind). It was a Frankenstein and was about8-10 feet tall. They also messed up some other stuff. WELL, she said to the police she was almost sure my son (15 at the time) did it. The thing had been cut with a knife and she said that my son had bought a sword from her at a yard sale a year earlier. (so no one else in the world owns a knife?) (my son collected them, his dad was with him, we kept them locked up).

Anyway, the police came and questioned him and us. Even though that was the end of it, now I feel like anytime anything goes wrong in the neighborhood, the police will automatically think of my son.

I went to her house and VERY NICELY asked her to please not accuse my son of things when she had no idea who did them. I also told her that if he had, I would be the first one making him replace items etc. She screamed at me so I said goodbye and left. Luckily she moved less than a year later.

P.S. I do know my son isn't perfect and he has had his share of problems but he is past all of that now (I hope and pray). Just to make sure I wasn't being a "blind mother" I did do some detective work just to be 100% sure that my son actually did not do it. he didn't (whew!) She later said she accused him because of the way he dressed.

OK, my book is done.

Edie said...

Clearly the dog ran away. I mean what dog wouldn't after being named Obama? LOL!!

Love your heart to forgive. That is so hard in a situation like that. I have a neighbor who harassed me for several years. She kept trying to get into my backyard when I wasn't home. I don't really know why but I think she wanted to demolish my garden. I ended up putting a survelaince(sp?) camera outside to keep an eye on things. God had me exercise a lot of forgiveness and kindness during those years.

Now, thankfully, it appears she has a beau and thus a new focus.

Toia said...

My jaw dropped when I read about how your neighbor went off on you. I would have been furious, too. I must admit that you handle it in a professional and neighborly manner.

Is it safe to say that your neighbor never took her foot out of her mouth long enough so she can apologize to you?

Thanks for sharing!! I enjoy reading this post.