A Tale of Two Neighbors
my parents have two backyard neighbours that are as different as night and day. they abut each other and both abut my parents' property, roughly forming a triangle. the one neighbours, the halls, have been there for 30 years (basically as long as my parents), the other neighbours, the Oates have been there for about 3 years.
the halls are quiet, respectful, contented people. they are in their mid-70s and have two grown children with grandchildren. they also have a cocker spaniel named lady who loves to run up to the fence and sniff at my parents dog (being too ladylike to vocalise the fact that she was obviously enamored with my parents' dog's studliness).
the Oates are rude, raucous rednecks. not the funny, affable, treat you like family rednecks. the Napoleon-complex short, discontented, malnourished, obese wife with curlers in her hair and children who look like they've been exposed to too much argon rednecks.
the halls wouldn't be caught dead raising their voice above a firm declarative sentence. the Oates bellow at each other from night until noon and from noon until night each and everyday that their god-forsaken household is together. they have two yappy dogs that constantly escape their yard. they always seem to be involved in drama.
one fine, lazy summer evening, as the sun was going down, basking the world in that wonderful amber glow that assures you that the world is going to slummer in silence, the Oates wife, wearing what seemed to be a shower curtain over her immense girth, whilst brandishing a shoe above her head, chased their daughter in the Halls' backyard (the girl jumped the fence).
the Halls, who were grilling at the time, and lady, who was chilling at the time, were caught up in this horrible flummox for no other reason than that they shared a common border with these poor wretches of the underworld.
"you get your sorry ass back here right now Tess!"
"nah, mama, I ain't coming back there for no reason, I'm fixing to run away and leave y'all way behind."
mr halls, who for a few moments seemed to be hoping that this inconsiderate intrusion into his near religious devotion to tending to his steaks on the open grill was merely a figment of his imagination, finally went into 'firm declarative statement' mode.
"miss" he said in his relaxed southern twang. "I do believe that it won't do no good hollering at your poor girl that way. look see now, you're upsetting this wonderful night that we're having here with all this commotion. why don't we just all settle down a little bit?"
mrs Oates, who looked like she was witnessing the voice of reason for the first time in her miserable existence, quickly snapped out of nearly having a moment of clarity that almost led her to the insight that maybe acting like a hysterical bitch all the time wasn't the best way to solve all of life's problems, began hollering, "I'll please and thank you to not have you be sticking your nose into my private business!"
to which mr halls responded with the obvious retort that, "well ma'am, when your private business done hopped on over into my yard, it seems to have lost the privacy aspect of it altogether!"
at this point, the short-stature of mr Oates alit from the driveway, laboriously clambering down from his jacked-up pickup truck. his son, who had apparently been huffing glue in the driver's seat or had been engaged in some other type of malfeasance, ambled out the other side with a lazy, idiotic grin on his face that seemed to bely his mirth at the fact that it was his sister, and not he, who was momentarily the subject of their parent's disappointment.
"now Tess, you done listen to your momma right now and you get back over here like yesterday, or I declare we gonna be discussing this for some time now you hear?" mr Oates warned with a clenched jaw and fist which he seemed to be consciously trying not to wave in the air in a menacing fashion.
"nah, papa, mama is acting all crazy like. she says I'm acting like a slut on tik Tok when all I been doing is dancing with my girlfriends."
the halls, and their dog, lady, tensed up at the use of the word 'slut' and sought to extricate themselves from the situation forthwith so that the steaks, which had up to then been in serious peril due to neglect, could receive the tender loving care that was to be accorded upon them.
mr halls entreated, "look now. we can be reasonable about this. now your daddy is home, so you can all talk about this like reasonable folk. okay now darling? you just go on back over and be a sensible, nice young lady."
"yeah yah dumb bitch," her brother interjected, with his hands on his hips now, sticking his pelvis out in a caricature of the millennial redneck, "you done fucked up something awful already, no need to get more of a beating than you're already entitled to."
at the mention of a 'beating' the halls, and their dog, lady, again visibly tensed up and felt it their duty to suffuse some humanity into a potential human rights violation happening next door, "now son, now I'm sure your parents now how to handle these matters as responsible parents without any need to resort to unseemliness."
"I'll Kindly have you refrain from saying this or that about how we be raising our young uns now ya hear?" mr Oates firmly intoned. "we know what's best for our kind and kin and we aim to make good on that."
after some more idle threats by mrs Oates, who at this point had stopped brandishing her shoe as a pedagogical corrective device, Tess was finally convinced that she could reenter her parent's property without threat of surefire assault.
this is just one of many nights of yelling, threats of violence and other unseemly behaviour. it is just so interesting to see how one yard is the pinnacle of perfection, lorded over by a gentile cocker spaniel while the other always, inexplicably has power tools and bricks strewn about it lorded over by two little fluffs that seemed to have ascended straight from hell on a meth-induced trip of insanity.