Thursday, September 23, 2010

Like a Good Neighbor

I struggle being a good neighbor. I'll admit it. I like my space. I like my privacy. I don't like being inconvenienced. I want relationships on my terms. It's a very selfish and sometimes isolating way to live, but it's how I've functioned for most of my life. I could say more about how I've come to grips and have had to face my issues being neighborly head on lately, but I had something happen Sunday that was a glaring reason why I have a hard time being neighborly.

Here's what happened...

We pulled in the parking lot after church with our Arby's drive thru lunch and as we got out of the car, our neighbor upstairs leaned over her porch and said "Neighbor (she didn't know my name) could you take me to the corner of this street and that street?" She was on her cell phone at the time so I thought there was some sort of emergency or something. I was planning to go into town for a half off sale at a consignment sale so I said yes. No big deal, I thought. I'll drop her off and go on my way.

When she got in the car, she revealed to me that she wanted a ride to a nail salon to get 2 of her acrylic nails fixed. Then she said she was going to walk to Walmart - about a half mile walk - to get some ingredients for a recipe she had seen on the Food Network that morning and couldn't get off her mind. She also said she was just going to call a cab to bring her home.

I quickly figured out that what I thought was going to be a quick drop was going to turn into an entire afternoon of playing taxi driver! I dropped her off at the nail place, that she didn't even know exactly where it was. It was not near the intersection that I had initially agreed to take her to. I then went over to the consignment sale and quickly looked through the rack I wanted to look at and then went back to pick her up at the nail place. I chauffered them to Walmart for their groceries or whatever they were getting and finally went back home. She has a bum knee so I had to help carry groceries up the stairs to her apartment.

It's not that I mind helping someone or driving them somewhere, but I felt misled! I guess I should've asked more questions, but I was put on the spot and would've felt worse just saying no not knowing what the real story was. I was also a little shocked that someone would be bold enough to ask a total stranger to take them to have their acrylic nails fixed when that could've waited a day or so.

I'm ashamed to say that I have almost wanted to go into hiding or park somewhere else to keep from being asked to take her places now that she knows I'm willing. She has asked me one more time for a ride, but I wasn't going anywhere else that day.

I really want to be neighborly. I really do, but it's going to take some time before I just flat agree to do things without getting all necessary information before saying yes! I did offer to let her son walk to school with us in the mornings and he has been at my door every morning this week to hang out and then walk to school. Baby steps...

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