This week on Suburb Saturdays, I'm answering a write-in. Please continue to send in ideas and I'd be happy to weigh in. Moving forward I'll actually lay out a few potential solutions and I can run a poll to see what most people would do. But without further ado, here is this week's submission:
I recently moved into a new neighborhood, it’s a rather nice neighborhood in the suburbs and my wife and I are probably the youngest couple there. I like to take my golden retriever and 9 month old son on walks as often as I can. One day my neighbor approached me and said “I don’t know your name but don’t let your dog shit on my lawn” I said sir I always pick up after my dog and I can’t exactly control where my dog shits, especially while pushing a stroller and carry a leash with an 80 lbs. dog. After the walk, I went back to confront him and ask him what his problem was. He keep reiterating that he “likes to keep his stuff nice” multiple times, which I believe he was referring to his lawn. He has a thick accent so it’s hard to understand exactly. He told me that he wasn’t trying to be rude or confrontational. It really rubbed my wife and I the wrong way. Now, we avoid walking in front of his house, instead we take a circuitous route to avoid him, when he waves or makes eye contact I completely ignore him. And above all my lawn looks 10x times better than his, which is what I think really annoys him because I’m in my 30s and he’s 65-ish and retired. Am I being too petty or overreacting by ignoring his existence?
I think every young couple that moves into a new neighborhood always has one neighbor they don't like. It could be for various reasons. Maybe the new neighbor took a couple of years to introduce themselves and didn't wave/say hi for awhile. Maybe they take a parking spot that should be yours. Maybe they are too noisy or start yardwork super early. Whatever the reason, this is a super common problem. People just want to be liked and accepted and it can irk us if we don't get that from our community.
In this situation, the neighbor proactively set the rules of engagement. He let this guy know that he would be playing by his rules. So as a result, the guy has been taking a roundabout way that's literally taking time out of his day EVERY DAY to avoid this guy. It's a tough situation because he doesn't want to encounter this type of unpleasantness on a daily basis. But what are the alternatives?
Option 1) Keep taking a roundabout way and ignoring neighbor (no change)
Option 2) Approach the neighbor and tell them why that got under your skin. Maybe they never owned dogs or pets and don't have any idea how the bathroom stuff works with pets. If a dog is peeing, a dog is peeing. As long as the guy has the pooper scooper or doggie bag to take care of the #2s, this should be no issue. However, this option has the potential to open up an actual neighbor war. They could not take kindly to this and just start putting out anti-that family propaganda around town when they see people. And maybe he's totally normal outside his disdain for dog waste.
Option 3) Start fucking with the neighbor. Don't do anything illegal or unsafe, but little things to kind of get under his skin. Change his lawn gnomes order. Do a poo dollar. Something small that'll give you a little chuckle every time knowing you have a devious upper hand.
Option 4) Go back to walking that route and just ignore the neighbor completely. Show that you're the bigger person but you also don't fuck with him anymore. He's not going to change your route just cause he's an asshole. This option would take a lot of self restraint as you'll surely see the neighbor out of the corner of your eye from time to time. But you just ignore and keep it moving. Let him know you're not going to be bothered by his ignorant ways.
What do you think the best course of action is? Or is there one I missed? Sound off in the comments and let me know! I'll put out a poll on Sunday with these options and see what people think. See you next Saturday!