Home > Uncategorized > What Do You Do When Your Neighbor Tries to Blind You?

What Do You Do When Your Neighbor Tries to Blind You?

(I know that I said I’d tell you about my college English professor and his influence over my short story writing. That’s been postponed for this post.)


I consider myself an easy person to get along with – and a good neighbor. If your pet goes missing, it’s a safe bet that I haven’t maimed it or lit it on fire. (I’m more likely to go all Elmyra and hug your dog, cat, horse, or even the occasional ferret.) You will never find me out on the lawn screaming obscenities at a family member, friend, or boyfriend – no matter how badly they’ve screwed up. I will not throw my groceries at errant children who’ve wandered into the yard. (Stay out of the garden, though. I do get angry when the beans go missing.) I’ll probably go so far as to bake you cookies at Christmas. Not because I’m Martha Stewart or Betty Draper. No, I just like cookies. As far as I’m concerned, cookies for everyone!But this post isn’t about cookies. Or the fabulous cast of Mad Men. No, this is about the Others. You know, the neighbors who seem to have lost their last vestige of humanity – and you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they keep a monkey in the basement dressed as a clown, once ate human flesh, or sing only Cher songs in the shower. (No, you can’t turn back time. And no, I no longer believe in life after love. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.)

Over the years, I’ve had some odd neighbors. They are mostly harmless. One was an aspiring opera singer. Another was possibility growing pot. And there was one baked me a pie. Sounds good, right? In theory, it was. In practice, it had so much bourbon in it that my liver nearly imploded with that first bite. I tried to eat it – and failed. That is a tragedy, because a) it was chocolate and b) I like alcohol. Sadly, I am tiny and cannot handle an entire bottle of bourbon without wanting to drunk dial ex boyfriends.

…where was I? Right. Neighbors.

I have a neighbor who, by all accounts, is an air-breathing mammal. She waves when she sees me, never mind that it was the middle of the day and she was wearing a flannel shirt and silk boxer shorts. In the rain. With flip flops…while feeding her animals that are numerous enough to populate several classic Disney movies. Never mind that until recently (this past month) I’d only seen her son twice, and I had begun to wonder if he was chained up in the basement with the monkey. (The French monkey for those keeping up.) Never mind the fact that her husband is the most androgynous human being I’ve ever seen in my entire life (nothing wrong with that – but I neatly ate my own toes when I asked a really tragic question as a result of the indeterminate gender), and I still have yet to learn his name. If it’s Pat, I might die laughing.

However, neighbor-small talk aside, I’ve hit my limit. There is a giant baseball stadium light blazing like a supernova in their yard. Alone, that wouldn’t be a problem. It’s really none of my business if The Lady Neighbor wants to run up her electric bill or cause planes to be confused about where the runway really is.

Except that it’s shining in my damn window. It is angled right toward my house, and it is nearly blinding. I know it’s movable, because she occasionally faces it toward the back of her own property. So, why turn it toward others? I do not know. I DO know that it illuminates the side of the building like a giant, unforgiving strobe light. It’s harsh light, too, the kind that make imperfections leap and sing like a circus of horror.

Suddenly, I feel like I’m in that terrible movie, Lakeview Terrace. (I want those hours of my life back, DAMN IT.) There’s no safety issue, here. These are normal floodlights. And there’s no structural reason why this Economy-sized Light needs to be pointed in my direction.

So, what do I do? This is not a Hatfield and McCoy level incident – but it’s tricky. It’s not as if I can randomly ask her why she feels the need to stave off the very concept of darkness. Perhaps she merely has a raging fear of the dark. Or she’s suffering from a severe case of SAD. Or she wants to keep vampires at bay. Or, perhaps, she just really wants a large collection of moths.

What I do know is that between the hours of 8 and 11, it is like Daylight on Crack. I don’t even need to keep any lights on. (Yay! Fringe benefit!) I feel that the only solution to this problem is to fight fire with fire. Sure, I could be an adult and talk to her about it. Then again, I’m still young enough to think it’s a good idea to climb over the fence, dodge her dogs, try not to get trampled or bitten by various wildlife, and thieve away the offending bright lights. (Not that I would do that, but it almost sounds appealing.)

Of course, I could just get up early on the weekend and start blasting Cher in the backyard. I’ve heard that’s quite effective.

I know I can’t be alone in this. Crazy neighbor stories, anyone? And…go.


  1. February 21, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Two words: pellet gun.

    • Ali
      February 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      I like the way you think. *grin*

  2. Andrea
    February 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    We used to have a neighbor who would vacuum his lawn to get the rocks out. The crazies are everywhere. Also, I’m totally in support of the pellet gun idea. 🙂

  3. February 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I had some dorm neighbors who liked to roast pot and pop their pop corn in the same microwave – the communal one at the end of the hallway on our floor – at… the same… time. I can’t help but admire their ingenuity (RA: What are you guys doing? Neighbors: Oh, just making some pop corn.) Except when they would get REALLY high, they would forget for how long to set the microwave and burn both things, and stink up the whole place, AND set off the fire alarm… at 2:00 a.m. … on a school night… in the middle of January… in Rochester, NY.

    Ali, how about telling your neighbor that you have narcolepsy and require COMPLETE darkness in order to sleep properly? Otherwise, you may end up sleep walking and performing acts, for which you cannot be held responsible… like breaking into her house and attempting to perform a medical exam on her spouse to establish its gender once and for all.

  4. February 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    For whatever reason, you calling yourself tiny jumped out at me. Just how tall are you, anyway? You seem of normal height in the photos I’ve seen of you.

    Also, because I’m a slacker, I’ll reply to short story post here. It seems to me that you would be good at short stories. Any time you tell a story about your family or what not, it flows quite well and amusingly. It’s too bad your college professor did you damage in that way.

  1. December 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

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