Not everyone is super confrontational, which is why I sympathize with the narrator of this story, who had to deal with an awful neighbor who wouldn’t share a driveway. But the way this man bided his time and waited for the right moment to strike back is… Inspirational?
That’s taking it too far, but it’s something, that’s for damn sure.
A few years ago, my ex and I rented a one-bedroom house on a dead-end street in the downtown area of the city I grew up in. We had three cats and I lived close enough to my job that I could walk to work every day. The city had (and has) a poor reputation, particularly with regards to heroin overdoses, but none of that affected us.
The landlord who owned my home had for some reason actually built two homes on the same property – mine, a small one-bedroom home, sat maybe six feet from the street, and my back neighbor’s home, a two-bedroom, was kitty-cornered behind mine; there was a long shared driveway on the left side of my house that ended at her front door. The number for the neighbor’s house was 11 1/2, and mine was 13.
From the beginning, we had issues with this neighbor whom I hearby dub BN for Bitch Neighbor… She would frequently invite herself over to our house for dinner or drinks, she would have people coming and going loudly at all hours of the night, and frequently had the police at her home to kick out various boyfriends.
By the time we moved out of that house, she had had two people actually overdose and die in her home and had somehow caused an electrical fire in the house that had cost about $35k to repair.
Keep in mind that this house was maybe fifty feet away from mine, and neither home had particularly thick walls.
Mostly, we ignored BN. We didn’t spend time with her, we didn’t answer the door when she knocked, and we just left her alone – the most we interacted was when I would give her misdelivered mail. We wanted nothing to do with her and the hurricane of chaos that was her life. Of course, BN didn’t like this- she wanted to be in control of everything on the whole street.
The driveway that lead up to her front door was large enough to fit four cars – a fairly big deal in an area with mostly on-street parking. But BN insisted to us when we first moved in that we were NOT allowed to park in this driveway – the driveway was only for her and her guests/children/boyfriend of the week. She said many times that she WOULD NOT allow anyone to block her car in at any time.
This driveway was directly on the side of my house: my desk was in our converted dining room and was right next to the driveway. Every morning there was a car parked directly next to these windows, and every morning that car started up (crazy loud, because it was a real piece of shit car) at about 6am, right around the time I was sitting down at my desk with coffee. Luckily, I’m a morning person: if I had been asleep during this time, I would’ve been pissed.
I occasionally had family and friends come by, and would warn them to not park in the driveway, but a few times they did. My sister was moving at one point and needed to store some things in my basement, but the only entrance was outside on the back of the house – so she pulled up into the driveway and started unloading boxes. BN flew out of her house and flipped out.
But my sister has her own anger issues and handled the crazy situation all on her own. BN did this to two of my friends, my brother, and my mother on separate occasions – she started to flip out on my grandfather once until she saw my mother come up from the trunk of the car with his wheelchair. BN went back into her own house this time.
My ex and I didn’t want to deal with her. We had our own problems and certainly didn’t want to get involved in hers. Sure, it means that we couldn’t use the side door of our house that let out onto this driveway unless we had two hours to get stuck talking to her, but we decided to just adapt. We had some lawn on the other side of our house that was brown and overgrown with poison ivy – we cleaned it out, filled it with gravel, and made it our new parking spot. Voila! Crisis averted.
Then came winter. A particularly bad winter. We had feet of snow piled up.
My ex had gone out and shoveled out our car and a path from our front door to the car. He was out there every hour, clearing off the path and the car and laying down rock salt. My job was waiting until the last possible second to close, so I wasn’t sure if I would be heading to the office or not. My ex kindly made sure the car was available in case I needed it.
BN was PISSED. We could hear her in the driveway yelling at the boyfriend of the week to shovel. We could hear her saying all kinds of bad shit about us. And we could hear when she broke her shovel, threw it into the yard, and stormed back into her house.
Later that day, a plowing company came. Two guys dug out the cars, let BN move them, and plowed their driveway. They even did their front steps. They were gone in less than an hour.
Then the landlord showed up.
The landlord never showed up at the property unless there was a big deal. My ex and I were in the kitchen at the time (which was also adjacent to the driveway) and could hear BN’s loud conversation about how expensive the plowing company was and how much snow there still was in the driveway – it was still snowing.
The landlord knocked on our side door.
I opened it with a big smile. “Hi Landlord, hi BN. How are you?”
BN shoves paper at me: it’s the invoice from the plowing company. “So I’m SURE you noticed that we had to have the driveway professionally plowed. I talked to Landlord, and you have to pay half of this bill.”
Me: Yeah, I’m not going to do that.
BN: It’s expensive! And Landlord says that we can take part of it out of next month’s rent.
Me: That’s nice. But I’m not paying for that.
BN: You have to!
Me: Actually, I don’t. I didn’t know you were getting the plow guy, and I don’t use the driveway.
Landlord: If service is performed on the shared parts of the property, you should split the costs.
BN: See! You have to!
My eyes narrow as I turn back to look at her.
Me: You’ve made it very clear that it’s not my driveway. I’m not allowed to park in it. I had to make my own parking space. You can pay for your own driveway.
BN was speechless. She had really thought I would’ve just done what she wanted.
Landlord: You made your own parking space?
Me: Yes. I’ve been told since I moved in that I’m not allowed to park in the driveway and I’m not allowed to block her car at any time. She’s yelled at everyone who has come here to visit me that has parked in the driveway, even if they are just stopping by for a few minutes.
BN finally looks ready to re-enter the fight, but Landlord speaks first.
Landlord: Thank you, dontpanicllama. Enjoy the rest of your night.
I smiled at them, closed my door, and locked it.
I could hear BN trying to argue with Landlord, and could even hear her walk up and down my steps wanting to knock on my door again. But Landlord was firm: she had to pay for the bill herself.
And, after that, she had to let me park in the driveway too.
TL;DR Bitch neighbor controls the shared driveway and doesn’t allow me to park there for years, hires a company to plow it, and tries to stick me with half the bill.
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