Everyone has a nosy neighbor.
It’s essentially become a part of moving to any new home. You check out the schools, the carpeting, where the nosy neighbor lives, the cabinet space…
If you don’t believe me, watch any sitcom from the sixties or seventies. If there was a neighbor, that neighbor was always butting in at the worst time. They also seem to have a tendency to be there for any awkward situation that could be confused for something slightly sexual. (This was the entire plot of Three’s Company. You would think eventually Mr. Roper would have come across them saying something very innocent, like “Check out my new socks. They’re argyle!” but NO, Mr. Roper always heard them talking about something that sounds risqué. He must have been a very confused man.)
These neighbors aren’t just limited to fictitious television programs, though. My parents recently put their house on the market. Before it was even listed, a couple of neighbors had called the realtor to find out about it. Now, unless they were planning on building one giant super house complete with skyway across the cul-de-sac, they were just being curious, aka nosy.
Since moving to my current apartment, I have been trying to identify my nosy neighbor. No one has given me the tell tale signs that sitcoms have taught us, such as walking in and raiding my fridge without an invitation, so I’m left guessing.
For a while, I thought I knew who it was. They always seemed a bit short and distant. In fact, if I said hello to them, they would get a panicked look and sort of wave back, but never say a word. As everyone knows, if you are snooping about, you don’t really want to have a friendly neighborly discussion with your snooping victim.
It turns out they are just weird and slightly rude. They don’t want to know what I’m up to, they just want to move to a deserted island away from all society and people where they can live out the rest of their awkward lives alone and quiet.
Shortly after moving, our neighbor on the other side moved. No nosy neighbor there either.
That’s when it hit me: my wife is the nosy neighbor.
The signs had been there all along, but just recently became overwhelming.
For example, this last week, I was sitting in my living room, minding my own business. As she came down our staircase, the water pipes in our shared wall came to life and she looked at me.
“Our neighbor takes a lot of showers,” she said.
“Yeah, I guess,” I said.
“He takes at least two a day.”
“Maybe he wants to be clean,” I replied.
“Still, that’s a lot of showering.”
I half expected her to pull out a chart of our neighbor’s showering times and show his previous five shower times to prove her point.
This, of course, is not a lone incident. We have also had discussions about our neighbor’s cat, our neighbor’s parking space (which is understandable, since they constantly use the guest parking spot instead of their own assigned spot), our neighbor’s music, etc.
If she lived next to, say, an astronaut who had befriended a genie with a scandalous bare midriff, there would be numerous wide eyed and slack jawed expressions from her. She would also, at some point, be turned into some sort of animal on accident, a feat which is awfully hard to explain to a nosy neighbor.
What does this mean for me?
First of all, it means I have my own private neighborhood watch. No one is going to get a new couch without my knowledge. Also, they have a witness to corroborate their alibi if they are ever charged with murder. That’s called a win-win.
Secondly, I know what NOT to get her for gifts. Binoculars, telescopes, supersonic hearing devices are all off of the table.
I also know what to get the neighbors for gifts, assuming they ever want to be friends.
Blinds. Lots and lots of blinds.