Our neighbours having been driving us insane. By neighbours, I mean their dog. It has howled and cried like an old sick, dying man being prodded up the bum with a hot iron for the past 6 months. With probably only a handful of nights that we haven’t been woken up; the tiredness is taking its toll. We are beyond exhaustion. Between the dying dog and our daughter who is still waking up at all hours, going to bed is no longer exciting; we dread it! It is like preparing for battle. We roll over every night and hope for the best.
Every day we wake up after another ‘midnight audience with stinky old dog’ and wish terrible, evil things upon the neighbours and every day we become cowards and say nothing to them. We were certain someone else would have to complain soon enough, so not being whingers; we left it.
Today after a year and a half of living in our ‘new’ house. I decided to pay a visit to the neighbours. No, it wasn’t to be brave and complain about the dog, but to chat about the trees we would be removing from our boundary fence.
I charged up to the door, tension building like you wouldn’t believe. In my head I had constructed a picture of an evil couple who were showing disregard for the human race by allowing their 99 year old mutt to howl at the moon every night. ‘Disrespectful @#$%^&’ my husband and I had called them for months. How can’t they hear this *&%$ dog barking at all hours? Surely if they had no respect for anyone, then taking the trees down was sure to start an argument. I slung my 1 year old on my hip and marched up the driveway.
I didn’t get a chance to knock on the door, sitting outside on the porch, lighting a cigarette was a frail, broken woman. After a year and a half of living next door, this lady had no idea who I was, did not even recognize me. She was talking to and feeding the Magpies. I had to introduce myself, still on the defensive and preparing for an argument. It was then a few moments in that my anger slipped away and was replaced with sadness and guilt. After a just a minute or two my neighbour (who as it turns out is named Chrissy not ‘ *&%$head) had spilled her heart out to a stranger. It seems her husband had left her after 30 years of marriage; she was a broken woman and clearly struggling. She confided to a not so close neighbour, though I suspect she would’ve told anyone who would listen that she had been in and out of the mental health hospital; that she felt she had lost her life. Clearly sedated at 3:30 in the afternoon, it became clear why she could not hear her dog barking. She was so highly medicated to escape her pain that a dog barking would have faded into the backround.
Suddenly my anger was gone. There was now a face to the evil person from next door, and more than that there was now a sad, lonely woman trying to claw her way back to life. Chrissy even mentioned how excited she was that the trees were being removed and how her summer would now be much brighter from her side of the fence. What a shame that it had taken a year and a half to make contact with someone living a few metres away from us.
The guy chopping our trees down came to interrupt our conversation and I must admit I was a little embarrassed when he asked and realised it was the first time we had met. From the outside, their house looked the same as it had a year ago when things were good for them. But behind the fence things had fallen apart.
After being shocked to recently hear of another friend separating from her husband after being together from the age of 15, I was reminded that nothing can be judged from the outside. We certainly know nothing about what goes on behind closed doors.
Recent topics of conversation have also turned to the insecurities we are all feeling as a result of following particular identities on Instagram or Facebook. Each picture, each hashtag and each story just seems to be so perfect. The houses are perfect, the children are perfect. Every second mum is an ‘entrepreneur’. Hey, if you have kids and you’re not running a business then it seems you’re a lazy ass. The one thing I know for sure, is that not once have I posted a photo of the shit things in my life. Never do we see a post of the bills on the fridge that couldn’t be paid. Never do we see a post about how shit peoples’ marriages are, never do we see a post about what they are scared of or what their child ‘can’t do’ this week, or the fat, sugar laden takeaway that we ate for dinner this week.
It’s probably time we got real and at least once a week started posting the shit things. Or better still, that we logged off the social media accounts and instead of liking someone’s posts, wonder about what they aren’t saying or having the guts to post. My bet is they’re probably sitting behind their own fence, with their own barking dog.
In keeping with the ‘keeping it real’ posting I’d like to share a picture of my grotesque front door from my not so renovated house. Because after nearly 2 years here and a year off work, we just had other shit to pay for!