Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Reader Question: Being a Good Neighbor


An Amalgamation of Several Reader Questions on Being a Good Neighbor:
What are good rules for neighbor etiquette?  How late should a party go on weekdays, weekend, or holidays?  How early can I mow my lawn on Saturday or Sunday, or start construction?  How often should a lawn be mowed at all before it becomes a blight?  For those of us who get newspapers but also go away for weekends, is a three day build up rude?  What is an acceptable use of  radios outdoors?  I hate smelling neighbors fabric softeners, but I don't think anything can be done about that.



21 comments:

  1. Times have changed, sadly.
    Each makes their own self focused reality.

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  2. A lot of this depends on how close you live to your neighbors. I will say in our neighborhood 9 am seems to be the magic hour to begin outdoor work with any kind of power tools. I wouldn’t allow newspapers to build up on my driveway for security reasons.

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  3. I think a bit of change in mindset is needed when you apply the Golden Rule to the situations outlined here - you must put yourself in the neighbor’s place. Of course, there is also something to be said for taking Ricky Nelson’s approach as sung in “Garden Party”.

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  4. Suggest your readers in urban
    and suburban northern climes wait til winter.
    First snowfall, wake up early. Get out
    there and shovel your walk.
    Then... shovel your neighbor(s) walk.
    There isn’t a more neighborly thing
    you can do. You will make friends for life.
    I know. I’ve done this.

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  5. Partys end by 10 pm
    9am for lawn mowing, etc.
    Mow the lawn at least once a week.
    Stop the newspaper delivery when you go away or have one of your neighbors get it...after all, you are a good neighbor.
    Radio use on the porch and only you can hear it.
    Not much you can do about the smelly fabric softener except hope the wind blows in the other direction.

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  6. It's all part of the dailyness of thinking of others, which is, in itself, a fairly old fashioned concept in 2019 where "ME!" is King.

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  7. I am just going to reply to one part of this, because it has irked me for years. Public parks with frisbees and dogs and radios and barbecues and baseball games and car washing and volleyball, etc. etc. all contribute to a level of noise within said parks.

    What I want to know is, where are the parks for the people who want to go and sit in silence and read a book? Sit in silence and hear nature? Sit in silence just to sit in silence?

    In the grand scheme I am being silly, but wouldn’t it be nice?

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    Replies
    1. As weird as this sounds,
      try a cemetery with beautiful landscaping, filled with wonderful benches, off the beaten path.

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  8. Can anyone offer recommendations for politely retrieving a serving piece from a lovely neighbor who threw a party? It is a substantial piece that I love, use frequently, and cannot easily replace - perhaps I shouldn't have used it - but it was all I had available to accommodate the dish I brought. Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. "I had such a lovely time at your party, and I hope you enjoyed the (what is what that you made). I'm actually planning to bring the same dish to a (name an occasion like a church event, potluck or gathering at a relative's house). Would it be inconvenient for you if I stopped by to pick it up later today?

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    2. Hi Lovely, I'm making my famous jellied moose nose appetizer this weekend and the only dish that works is the one I left at your house! Can I come by at your convenience and grab it from you?

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    3. Great suggestions! Thanks to you all!

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    4. Start researching/don't wait, have a backup serving piece for next time?

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  9. If you are within fabric softener smelling distance of my laundry room, you are either a member of my family, an invited guest or a burglar.

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    Replies
    1. You would be surprised by how far it travels! I've been thinking about approaching my neighbor with this issue but can't think of a gracious way to mention it that doesn't sound controlling.

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  10. Yes, both (above) are good ideas. It's up to you to be a bit assertive about this because the hostess may not even remember whose dish it is and is waiting for a call.

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  11. + Parties no later than 10pm; 11pm on Saturday nights/holidays.
    + Mow or use tools no earlier than 9am; 12Noon on Sundays (my father's firm rule).
    + Mow when grass is less than 6" in height. Or sooner.
    + ALWAYS have newspapers/mail held; it's neighborly, easy to do, and a security concern if not done.
    + Radios so they can be heard in your immediate area; never as though you were starting a pirate broadcasting station. "Radios"? Wonderful to read that throw-back term.
    + Fabric softeners should be the least of our neighborly smell concerns...

    Good fences make good neighbors.

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  12. The problem with the scent of a neighbor's fabric softener is that it disrupts one's enjoyment and engagement with Nature. You're going for your daily walk/run/dog walk, enjoying the time of day, the weather, your peace of mind, and suddenly your senses are assaulted by an artificial, chemically produced, un-natural odor. It is a kind of pollution we don't think about often...unless we encounter it, accidentally, from a human drenched in an obnoxious perfume. (I know, I'm an old crank.) Suzanne

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    Replies
    1. try the out gassing of pot plants...far worse.

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  13. A neighbor's bbq or picnic is a fine event filled with happy sounds which should not include loud music, continuously barking dogs, screaming children or worse, loud, boorish adults. People today sometimes forget that they do not live on a private island where money buys privilege, but are part of a well-intended society.

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  14. I love this question. My husband and I had a similar conversation recently, as we have loud neighbors. We don't think it's a "class" issue, but rather a "standards" issue. Certainly, it is a "consideration" issue. We just try to follow the Golden Rule, and hope others do the same.

    As for the specific questions:
    Hold mail and papers when out of town
    Cut the lawn once a week, and arrange for it to be cut when out of town
    Try to minimize outdoor party noise when it gets dark in the summer, and 8-9 pm other times
    No lawn mowing or loud construction on Sundays, and only between the hours of 9-5 other days. (I'm probably the only person who feels this way.)
    I don't usually smell other people's laundry, but I don't find it unpleasant.


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