Our neighbor thinks she is my mother, or maybe grandmother, or very possibly just my feudal landlord/evil over lord.  First of all let's be clear, I am talking about a neighbor, whom like all the other surrounding neighbors  simply shares a property line with us.  She is not in anyway, any of the following: 

1. My mother

2. My grandmother

3. Any relationship to me at all

4. Any relationship to Simon

5. Our feudal landlord to whom we are required to get approval from,  permission from, or in anyway consult when we are doing anything that pertains only to our house and our yard which is not shared space.

Drinking on the patio with Simon, Bertha be damned!

Drinking on the patio with Simon, Bertha be damned!

and again we rebel by using our own garden!

and again we rebel by using our own garden!


Sadly, the neighbor does not know, or at least  refuses to acknowledge the above facts.   She has basically been a giant ( both literally and metaphorically) pain in the ass since the movement we got the keys to our house.  Actually now that I am really thinking about it, she has been a pain since before  we received our keys. When we were doing a walk thru with our real estate agent, before closing escrow she came ambling over, interrupted our agent, and said "I guess you are the new owners? I am sure you are REAL QUIET all the time and only use organic stuff in the garden!"

Which to be honest, was true. For the most part Simon and I are real quiet, as most of our friends hate us for moving to Berkeley, and insist we go to see them in San Francisco, so we never have anyone over. We also don't use gross toxic poisons in the garden. However, being interrupted in the middle of our walk thru by some noisy old woman who seemed to be issuing demands about our behavior before we even moved in did not sit well with me. I knew she was gonna be a problem.

(For the sake of this blog  from here on out I am going to refer to as Bertha or Bertie, on the off chance that she has access to the internet ( you'd be surprised how many people in our nabe don't !) and on the off-er chance that she actually sees this blog, recognizes herself and feels like she should sue me.)

So  back to Bertie (not her real name) the problem neighbor. She put me off with that first interaction, as it did Simon but we both put it out of our minds.  She was just an old lady right? It probably came out wrong, I am sure she didn't mean to sound like she was accusing us of being loud and disruptive before we had even spent a night in our new home?

Two weeks after we moved in my nearly 70 year old parents came over for dinner, which for them happens at about 5:30PM. It was nice out, and Simon and I had made our first house purchase, Patio furniture (!) so we decided to eat outside. We grilled something, made a salad and sat outisde with the P's enjoying the great weather in Berkeley.  We chatted for a while, but because my parents are:

  1. Old
  2. Afraid to drive after sundown
  3. Only mildly interested in actually hanging out with us

The whole thing was wrapped up by 8PM.  




The next day, while I was out front watering the roses Bertie came ambling up. "So nice to have someone in this house that actually lives life." She said, her tone strained in a way that made "so nice" sound like something that wasn't very nice at all.  

"HUH?" I asked, startled by her statement.  

"You are clearly gonna be people who live life." She continued. "I know because I heard you in the garden last night." Her eyes narrowed and she began to spit out her words pointedly. "I could hear that you had people over , and they were outside in your garden." 

 "You mean my parents? " I asked in disbelief. Was Bertie really coming to complain that we had my parents over the previous evening; my 70 year old parents, who are afraid to drive after dark and therefore left before 8pm???

"I don't know who it was." She said. "I just thought you should know I could hear you when you have people in the garden." 

"Ah... ok" I said feeling more and more awkward by the moment. "Good to know." 

She narrowed her eyes at me again and added. "I like to listen to the baseball game while I am in my hot tub." ( A frightening visual I asure you.) "So if you are ever bothered by my noise, you can let me know too." She said and then turned around and ambled back towards her house, leaving me totally baffled by the whole thing.


So what do you guys think, am I right to have my guards up about Bertie? Is just a friendly lady making chit-chat or is she going to be the biggest pain ever? 

AuthorCynthia Anderson
CategoriesText, Images