We live next to a little strip mall. It’s mostly good. It’s clean, there is no pool full of screeching children and we don’t have some of the troubles that can come with bad neighbours.
But the downsides are really annoying, in the brief moments that they last. Take yesterday morning…please! A delivery truck (perhaps soft drinks, perhaps picture frames, who knows?) sat in the parking lot and idled for nearly half an hour. It caused a low, annoying rumble through the front of our house like a vuvuzela in the inner ear. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it except go to the back of the house and enjoy the relief. Anti-idling bylaw? Not here! That applies in the centre of the city only. It’s just one of those things caused by a thoughtless driver. But once it was over, it would be over for a few months.
Every couple of weeks the garbage truck comes to empty the massive, metal trash bins at about 2 am. It beeps when it backs up and it slams everything that’s slammable. Again, it only lasts a short while and then it’s done for another couple weeks or so. But at 2 am, crashing and slamming outside our bedroom windowseems like an eternity even if it’s only for a few minutes.
The third annoyance is the gang of little bike riding pre-teen twerps. They ride without helmets (where are their parents??) and begin their merge into the plaza’s driveway at about the halfway point of our lawn. You see, our plot of land drops off about a metre to the plaza driveway. Most of it is separated by a fence but there’s a swatch of grass close to the sidewalk that is fenceless and the twerps like to fly over that piece as fast as they can and catch a little airtime before they land on the pavement below. They also like to do some mid-air turns INTO the fence on the other side. They actually broke one board and it has yet to be replaced. (It’s the plaza’s fence but as they proved when their snowplow operator crashed through at the back, they don’t really give a shit. We will fix it eventually but right now it looks like a long grin with a missing tooth.) We’ve put up all sorts of barriers to try to prevent them from using our lawn as a ramp but they all go missing or get mysteriously broken. Once, a friend who’s a dispatcher with the London Police was visiting when the herd arrived and he went out, flashing his ID and scared the crap out of them. But that was a couple of seasons ago and there’s a new crop of kids that has come of age and they don’t know we’re friends with a guy who’s not really a cop but has some very impressive looking ID!
I would still take this over any of the bad neighbours I’ve had in the past. Once you’ve been saddled with a terrible neighbour you learn to appreciate NOT having one. We have a great, helpful couple on the other side and an occasional annoyance from the plaza isn’t too much to bear. Besides, the Mac’s is pretty handy when we need milk and the Chinese restaurant makes a really good pad thai!