Most of my neighbours seem pretty decent: they cut their grass, they rumble their bins to the curb at not-unreasonable times of day, and their free-roaming cats only occasionally sneak into my house and surprise me on my couch. Not that I'm watching or anything, but in my humble opinion every one of them leaves their vehicles to "warm up" for far longer than is strictly necessary, and I also can't help but notice that *some* of them seem to produce an astounding amount of garbage each week, yet suspiciously little blue or green bin fodder. Plus I accidentally couldn't help seeing that *someone* hired a tree-removal company to cut down a perfectly healthy pin cherry tree last year, yet left a dead spruce standing in their front yard...
Anyway, like I was saying, perfectly normal and environmentally-conscious
people whom I am definitely not watching and judging from my nice big kitchen
window, which happens to face out over the street.
But the "new" guy next door? I am absolutely judging that guy. I
have never spoken with him, but having lived next door to him for around 3
years now I like to think I've gotten to know enough about him - through an
as-yet undefined method of neighbourly osmosis - that I am able to pass
judgement on him, and that judgement is not favourable. In addition to leaving
his car running too long and not sorting recyclables or compostables, he has
never - not once - mowed his lawn, shoveled his snow, or walked his dog. (I
only know the dog exists because I can hear it howling all day long.) Plus he
orders So. Much. Take-out. that we've had more delivery drivers mistakenly come
to our door with his food in the past 3 years than we have had delivery drivers
delivering our own food to our door in the entire 11 years we've lived here. Who
needs that much take-out?! Really, he only has himself (and maybe Skip the
Dishes) to blame for my poor opinion of him.
People always say that karma will take care of things. Although I too wish
the world was a more fair and just place than it is, sadly I have seen no
evidence suggesting this karma business is anything more than wishful thinking.
However, even I must admit that every so often a natural consequence of
impeccable timing and proportion occurs, and I think we would be remiss if
we did not take a moment to relish those happy coincidences. You can even call
them karma if that makes you feel better about the world.
For instance, while it seems like everyone would rather forget this long,
snowy winter, I will forever remember it fondly as the winter my lazy-ass
neighbour got his car high-centered on the snow at the end of his driveway. I
was cooking supper so I had an excellent view of the entire "karmic"
comedy playing out: no amount of pushing or revving would get his little car
over the entire winter's accumulation of snow. And what kind of homeowner would
think to invest $20 on a shovel in a measly 3 years of homeownership? Not this
guy! So he very laboriously dug his car out and cleared his entire 21.5 metre
driveway (I measured) with a wee trunk-sized half-shovel.
To be clear, I've helped other neighbours get their cars unstuck in the
past, but this was such a profoundly satisfying win for natural consequences
that I kept right on cooking supper while I enjoyed the show. Our kitchen
window so beautifully frames the sunsets that we usually call it Tom Thomson,
but that night it was nothing less than Norman Rockwell.
For the record, new neighbour guy since bought himself a real shovel and has
been shoveling his driveway shortly after each snowfall ever since that fateful
night. I think his parents would be proud of my work. Now if I could only
figure out how to get his car high-centered on the waist-high grass in his backyard...