Being Neighborly

Neighborly: characteristic of a good neighbor, exceptionally helpful, friendly, or kind.

Imagine a world where neighbors worked their differences out. A place where Home Owner Associations (HOAs) didn’t exists. It may sound like heaven to some. But, not so long ago, this “heaven” was reality. Oh, the good ole days, right? We were allowed to do anything we wanted until the police arrived. The fact is, this was not an ideal world. Police were pulled from their patrols to settle minor disputes, and such petty arguments put unnecessary stress on our officers. Our solution bought about HOAs. Yes, the police still help resolve petty squabbles, but not as often. And with an association stepping up to take responsibility for our trespasses towards each other, the police had an entity they could approach. The liability transferred from our hands to theirs, giving the association the ability to hand out fines.

Although I am not a fanatic of HOAs, when appropriately managed, it provides excellent services. Houses have higher resale value in an HOA community. Neighborhoods look clean and safe. So, why do I have a problem with this association? My discord lies with the fact that we couldn’t control ourselves. We needed an association to do the work for us. What happened to neighborly? Indeed, I don’t know my neighbors. We’ve traded names once or twice, but that’s about it. But, I’m as mindful of my actions as they are. The lawn is maintained to keep copperheads and other snakes out. If we need to work outside, whether on the house or the vehicle, then we ensure its within regular working hours. There is nothing like an impact gun at two in the morning.

So, what constitutes a trespass. In simple terms, if we are working or playing and any product from our activity enters their yard, that is a trespass. It includes but is not limited to smoke, sound, dust, seeds, mist, or spray, and may I add our horse-size dog doing its business on their lawn. Eww! Now that I’ve broken the monotony with that horrific mental picture, I’d like to interject that some trespasses are acceptable. If I hear my neighbor mowing his lawn at eight in the morning, I’m more inclined to accept that as opposed to two in the morning. Or, if my neighbor has the same grass I do and some seeds he is resowing blows over into my yard. No harm, no foul, right?

The objective here is to come to terms with those around us. Reach a level that causes zero stress to everyone, and no one causes us stress. Whether or not this goal is attainable isn’t essential. It’s the fact that we are heading in this direction. It may require us to adjust ourselves, or we may need to voice our concerns in a professional manner. The point is we do not need an association to tell us how to live together. We are all human. It’s easy to get absorbed into our world and not realize the discomfort we are causing others. But we are responsible for our actions. Our population is growing with no end in sight. As it gets crowded, we need to learn how to adapt and be neighborly.

Steve Curtis

at1_retired@yahoo.com

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