Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Neighbours

As most of you know we moved into a new building and I've been very happy with it - even though it's really too small for us. I've met almost everyone in the building and they are all terrific - never saw Frenchie again - not sure if he still lives here. But it's been wonderful - very reminiscent of living in a dorm - people always around - back garden is a hang out - kids everywhere. Very friendly and fun.

One of the neighbors - a really sweet woman with two children aged 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 - and I have become somewhat chummy. We've had a few play dates in the building but don't venture outside - not even to the back yard. She's worried the kids will run in opposite directions and she won't be able to keep an eye on them. I've offered to keep an eye on her kids with her, and I've invited her to hang with a few other mommies so we can all watch the kids in a controlled, fenced environment but she is too wary of it. I respect her decision and we've settled into just visiting each other at our respective flats. That's fine with me.

However, I've noticed lately that she is very afraid of just about everything. She told me that there is a shelter for violent sex offenders down the road. So I looked into it - and there isn't one. Then she told me the Tavistock Centre - which is way down the road - helps rehabilitate the criminally insane - yet I haven't discovered that division of the centre just yet.

Today she called me while I was out at a playground and scared me half to death. She said there was a strange man lurking about the building peering in my windows and trying to get in the front door. When she asked him what he was doing he moved away so she could get in the door and then a few minutes later there was a knock on her door (she's on the second floor - third floor to any Americans reading). She called our management company who told her to call the police but she didn't.

I came barrelling home as fast as I could - pushing my giant double stroller with both kids half bouncing out of their seats. When I pulled up out front, worried we'd been broken into and my engagement ring was pinched as well as all our electronics including this computer (my THIRD since we moved here) there was nothing - none of the windows were touched, no one was around, the windows weren't tampered with, no visible fingerprints anywhere.

I had frantically called Fen to tell him someone was trying to break in and he was very nonchalant about it so I hung up on him in my rush to do what - I have no idea. If someone was in the flat I would have run in the other direction and called the police. I'm no karate expert and there's no way I'm putting my kids in harms way for any reason.

When I called my neighbor she was upstairs, calm, and said she didn't call the police because she could have been mistaken.

What?

I was so annoyed that I came rushing home worried that we were being broken into and the building was under siege! Maybe I made too much of it. But I spoke with Fen and we think that she is making me a bit of a nervous nelly myself!

Is it me or is my lovely neighbor too much of an alarmist? Honestly, she has me locking windows and peering out the window before I leave 'just in case.' Am I paranoid?

6 comments:

  1. No, your not paranoid. But it sounds like your neighbour is and that can be contagious. Perhaps, you need a little distance or she needs to find some other people to share her paranoia with?

    Sorry, this may not be the best advice but it's all I have.

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  2. I would tend to agree with Spencer Park's advice...keep your distance. I don't think it's good for you or your children to spend too much time with this woman.

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  3. Uh-oh, your neighbour sounds like she has some issues. I would nip that friendship in the bud.

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  4. Here are my thoughts as a former agoraphobic - stay friends with her if you like her (if she has difficulties, it doesn't make her a bad or stupid person which is how I was sometimes treated), but don't let her stop you doing what you want to do. If you plan to take the kids outside but she gets in touch and suggests meeting up, continue with your plans, it might eventually encourage her to come outside with her kids too. You mustn't keep yourself inside with her, it won't do either of you any good, and you are not responsible for her. Also, if she expresses concerns about people or places, take it on board and perhaps be a bit extra cautious, but again don't let it stop you. Let us know how things go with her!

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  5. Thanks for the advice folks. I'm really torn about this because despite the paranoia she is lovely, and I really don't have it in me to be mean. I really have to think on this one.

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  6. If, paranoia aside, she is the type of person you would be friends with, then be her friend. However, don't let her behaviours and attitude change the way you live your life. You sound like a very good friend! As I said yesterday, just because she may have problems, doesn't make her a lesser person (she is a 'normal' person inside, just being tormented by these difficulties), but I know you know that anyway!

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Go ahead, make my day!