Extremely, Unbelievably Rude Neighbor

misscanadaJuly 16, 2004

We had some guests drop off something they borrowed from us, and they parked on the street in front of our property. As they were getting back to their van, this man, who was on his balcony adjacent to our front door neighbor's house (we live in a condo townhouse) noticed a(n almost empty) pack of chips fall to the street from the van and in his loudest, booming voice started screaming at my guests (a respectable family) about the chips who had started picking them up from the street without any word (they are the most polite people we have ever known). At that point since I was absorbed with saying goodbyes to the rest of the family I did not really know what was going on, except that they seemed to be picking up something from the side of the van which I couldn't see, instead of hurrying home to leave (it was 10 p.m.). Even as they were picking the chips up I could still hear this neighbor say "Why don't you shove it up your a--?" and none of my guests were even looking at him or challenging him or anything. My next door neighbor came out wondering what the commotion was about and I asked my guest what it was and he just smiled at me and said it was nothing. After 30 minutes when they got home I phoned them and asked them what happened and they told me that a half-eaten pack of chips fell from the van and our neighbor started screaming. I thought I heard someone screaming but I did not realize it was them being screamed at, or being humiliated/harassed. I don't have his number and if I had I would have called him and asked him what his problem was. I am thinking of going to his house and telling him he has no right to do this to anybody. (He is white and my guests were people who wore headscarves---Asian---could this have been a racist thing?) I could not go out since it was chilly and I have two small kids I could not take out at 10:30 p.m. for a confrontation.

We are very tolerant and polite to our neighbors--we don't make a fuss if they suddenly park in our driveway and we have to park at visitors' and walk our way back to our driveway/house; we help those who need it; we watch out for kids and drive very carefully and slowly for the road to be safe for the kids who just suddenly dart out of their driveways. My husband even picks up trash from other neighbors lawn sometimes--you know Coke cans, burger stuff, coffee cups.

What should I do with this neighbor--should I write him a letter or confront him (politely but firmly) about the harassment he did? Does the condo management have anything to do with stopping similar idiotic neighbor behavior from happening again? I do have a chance of being screamed at to get off his porch but he should be told about his lunatic behavior. If he had a problem he could have said "Hey guys, you dropped something!" nicely, or if my guests ignored him, which they didn't, he could come up to our house, knock and say, "I noticed your guests dropped some chips on the street and I am really concerned about cleanliness--do you think you could clean it up?"

I am so upset and embarrassed--those guests are like family.

Thanks for reading my vent


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He sounds looney or drunk. I'm all for not littering but sheesh; it's not like they deliberately dumped a wagonload of trash in the street and then walked away. I would just forget it - not because it was "nothing" but because confronting him will get you nowhere. It's possible he was fueled by racism or he could just be half-baked in the head. If you had been there right at that time and noticed it, then yes, I would have asked if there was a problem. After the fact, though, I would let it go. If he had approached your guests or shouted actual racist remarks or thrown something at them, then of course I'd confront him and probably file a police complaint too.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 11:18AM
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I wouldn't prolong the nastiness. There's damage in a feud.

Perhaps a complaint to the management office, in case they've got other complaints and this will help them deal w/ him.

But I go by the life-saving policy of never confronting someone who obviously doesn't understand the rules of reasonable behavior. They're on the other side of the line that separates right from wrong--who knows how far to that direction they'll go?

If I thought there was a real danger to life or limb or property, I'd have a different answer. But when people are just being nasty, the nastiness ends faster if you just ignore them.

They only win if you stew about it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 11:58AM
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Unless he specifically made racial remarks, there is no reason to assume his tyrade was racially motivated. This was already an unfortunate situation - don't read more into it than it already is. It is not appropriate to assume it was racial.

I, too, believe he should not be approached. Mention it to the management office.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 4:14PM
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Why is everyone mentioning a management office? Most condos/townhouses are OWNED. Yes, an owner can rent/lease an individually owned unit... but there wouldn't be a management office unless it's an apartment building and the apartments are built like townhouses or condos.

So, if the boorish neighbor is, indeed, a renter, you can find out the name of the property owner by going to the county tax collector's office -- the name of the property owner is public record. (A Realtor might even get the info for you.) Then, if you're so inclined, you can contact the property owner.

If it's an apartment complex, then, yeah, complain to the management office.

Most likely, though, the guy was drunk and doesn't even remember acting like an idiot.

By the way, and for what it's worth, the difference between a condo and a townhouse is this -- with a condo, you own the airspace between the outer walls. Condo buildings can be multi-storied, with individual condos on each floor. With a townhouse, you also own the land beneath your unit. So, you won't have one townhouse above (or below) another townhouse unit.

Townhouses should have separate insulation between the common walls. That is, if you were to remove the sheetrock from one side of a common wall, you'd see insulation and behind the insulation would be the plywood. On the other side of the plywood there would be insulation for the other townhouse. Condos might share the stuff in the common walls, or they might have separate stuff...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 9:00PM
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