I like to be neighborly.
Especially when new neighbors move in and you want to make a nice impression in the hopes you and they might become good friends.
“Hi, Perry,” said new neighbor Jane Buxbaum standing at my doorway early one evening.
“Jane!” I exclaimed,” good to see you. Come in.”
“I’d love to,“ she replied,” but I can’t right now. I wanted to ask you if you have a corkscrew we can borrow?”
“Of course I do,” I said, going to the kitchen, securing it and handing it to her.
“And you need not be in any hurry to give it back either,” I said.
I knew Jane and her husband Tom were just setting up housekeeping so I understood they may lacking in some household essentials.
A couple of days later, husband Tom was at the door.
“Hey, Perry, Jane and I are making soup today. Wonder if I can borrow a large pot, a stirring spoon, whatever appropriate seasonings you have, and a tureen?”
Well, why not? Anything to be neighborly.
And about the corkscrew that Tom was clearly not returning while borrowing the large pot, stirring spoon, whatever seasonings I had, and the tureen … well, I did tell Jane not to be in a hurry to give it back.
“Here ya go, Tom,” I said, gathering everything up. “No rush getting these back.”
“Perry! Thanks for all your great help.”
Next day both of them were back at my door.
“Oh, you guys!” I said. “I told you there was no rush in giving the corkscrew, soup pot, stirring spoon, seasonings, and tureen back.”
“Oh, yes, we know that and we thank you,” gushed Jane.
“But that’s not why we’re here,” Tom said.
“We’re having both of our families over for dinner tonight.”
“So … may we borrow your dining room table, please?”
“Your dining room table. Here, I’ll help you lift it.”
“But …. But…”
“We may have to take off the legs to get it through the doorway," said Tom, "but never fear. I brought a saw and I have glue at home.”
Over the next several days the Buxbaums were frequently at my door. And out my door and over to the Buxbaums went all the furniture in the living room, my pool table, and the powder room toilet.
I had to face it. People do sometimes take advantage of me. I have to watch for that from now on.
I decided to start right away.
I marched over to the Buxbaums’s house.
“Jane, Tom,” I said in a strong tone of voice.
“Yes, neighbor?” Tom replied.
“I want my corkscrew back and I want it right now!”
You know what? They returned the corkscrew forthwith!
Being assertive works. No doubt about it.
It’s two months later. I am living in a tent in my back yard. It’s cold and muddy and I could use a shower and a hot meal.
I’m not the best at being assertive, no doubt about it.
But at being neighborly?
I’m the best!
P.S. If you liked this post, you'll love my book Perry Block - Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute. If you hated this post, you'll still love my book Perry Block - Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute.
Why? That's just the way it works!