So, I saw the “not so friendly” neighbor across the street yesterday. We moved into the neighborhood just weeks apart and both of us were transplanted from big cities to middle earth. I thought that commonality alone would help pave the way for a smooth transition to life here….that I would have an instant friend who lived just across the street. Yet every time I passed by said neighbor out in her yard I’d get barely a nod of a hello. I tried to make small talk about the weather once and got three words in return (well…it was a few more words than that but you get the gist…). I even took cupcakes over for her three kids to enjoy last Halloween knowing that with the few houses in our new development there would be no Trick-or-Treating fun for them. I received a polite “thank you” and then….nothing else for all the days and weeks that followed.
Yesterday while walking my poodle I saw the neighbor in her yard. I commented on her newly installed invisible dog fence. I figured I’d get three words, if that. But for whatever reason (no…there is not even a full moon in the sky that could account for this) she had more than three words to offer. She talked about her dogs, who were not happy with the new fence restriction, nor the little jolts they’d receive if they attempted to venture out-of-bounds. She talked about the weather. She talked about the new houses going up in our neighborhood and her hopes that no more new houses were on the horizon…..and then….she talked about trying to get out of her funk.
Really? FUNK? Aha! It seems that she too has been in a funk since moving to middle earth. “I’m having a difficult time adjusting to living here after living in Houston but I’m starting to slowly like it here…”
Validation. I confess to her that I’m STILL in a funk over moving to middle earth. I confess that it’s hard not having a plethora of good restaurants or the paradise of Southern California weather. My voice rises when I get started on the insects and she nods in total agreement. And yes, she is on constant guard for more rattlesnakes in her yard after finding two last summer. We talk for a few minutes. Wow.
My poodle was getting restless in the heat so I said my goodbye. During the few steps to my front door I found myself reflecting on the past eight months and my negative feelings about my neighbor. I had misjudged her; she has been feeling much like I have been and I know how that has weighed on my own psyche for these past months. We may not talk again for weeks and weeks but now I know that she is not what I pegged her to be. We all have our issues. Good days and bad….Ups and downs….its a journey and really….we are all in this together.