I live in a large mid-western city on a quiet residential block. Everyone knows everyone else and for the most part are very friendly and helpful, with the exception of the man who lives by himself directly across the street from us. He grew up in the house and was already living elsewhere when we moved in many years ago. We were friendly with his parents. After they died he moved back into his childhood home. Our efforts to have a cordial relationship (waving hello, saying good morning, etc.) have been ignored. He has fought with some of the other neighbors over various issues but we have managed to stay out of his cross hairs. Until yesterday.
My mother has been living in a private-pay assisted living residence for 3 years. She has severe dementia. She is also out of funds, and we cannot afford to keep her there. We have yet to find a suitable place for her that will take public aid, so we have decided to try to take care of her in our home. We arranged to have a company that specializes in transporting people with non-life-threatening medical issues bring her to our house yesterday. I rode along with her. The transport van was clearly marked as a medical vehicle.
It had been snowing heavily and was still snowing. The van had a wheelchair ramp on only one side. Our street is one way, and the driver told me he thought it would be much easier if he approached our house from the wrong way so that the ramp would be on our side of the street. He pulled up one house past ours because cars were parked in front of our house. The neighbor across the street was clearing snow off his car and as the van passed he yelled at the driver “This is a one-way street!” The driver opened his window and very nicely said “We have a wheelchair transport here, sir.” Neighbor yelled something else I couldn’t understand. Then, as driver unhooked Mom’s wheelchair and lowered her and the wheelchair, neighbor stood in the street and glared at us for several minutes, muttering under his breath. Moving mom into the house took about 10 minutes. We were NOT blocking neighbor’s car–he could easily have pulled out–and no other cars approached in this time (or if they did they backed out down the street and took a different route).
I was quite upset by the whole experience. Mom was confused and frightened by the ride, neighbor was clearly miffed when any normal person (especially the rest of my neighbors) would have shown a little patience and heart.
I am tempted to write my neighbor a note, saying we are sorry to have inconvenienced him. Or, perhaps, to say he’s an ass. Or should I ignore the whole thing? By the way, he is very educated and has a good job. Obviously he is a functional member of society. 0102-14
Ignore his histrionics on this issue. Replying to him in any manner is just going to feed his need to feel justified in his legalism. However, I would continue to smile and wave at him for two simple reasons. One, you will feel better as a human by offering kindness to the undeserving and it will get you in a good mood, and two, it annoys him.