Dear *sshole Neighbor

Congratulations! You discovered my tipping point.
Congratulations! You discovered my tipping point.

Dear Asshole Neighbor,

I’m in a bit of a funk. I know you don’t care, but I’m telling you anyway. After the letter I received from city public works today, I thought we should get better acquainted.

I got laryngitis right in time for my college reunion, so I got to stand around drinking seltzer, smiling and nodding like an idiot, while everyone else had the time of their lives. Then I got much, much worse.

I was dismally ill through the entirety of my family’s big awesome vacation to Hawaii, including one memorable day at the Kaiser Permanente clinic there, because that’s fun. I enjoyed reading last September’s Better Homes and Gardens cover to cover as well as a thoughtful booklet about advance health care directives. That was such an informative way to squander a day in paradise.

I flew home and was sick some more. A month later, despite giving up coffee, alcohol, talking, sleeping, and–especially today–joy, I’m still sick.

A couple of hours ago, I had another visit with my doctor. He assures me that I will probably be feeling better by the end of July…which will be right after a big family trip across country to visit my mother. Here’s hoping the recovery comes before my husband abandons his hacking, sleepless wife.

No big deal, right? Just a pesky virus. Things could obviously be much worse.

Did I mention that my big, fabulous book deal just disintegrated? No?

Well. My big, fabulous book deal just disintegrated. Maybe it’s for the best, you may be thinking. After all, the publisher had a penchant for the playful caveman font. Still.

Add to this the fact that my best friend is apparently breaking up with me…via email. Ouch.

But instead of crying in a heap about my broken heart and broken dreams, or going to bed in order to finally, actually, maybe start feeling better, I have been copyediting and photo editing and cleaning out the closets, taking small people to the eye doctor and dentist and piano lessons, and grocery shopping and saying goodbye to friends who are moving 3,000 miles away, and labeling every goddamn pair of my kids’ underpants with a Sharpie for camp.

Imagine my surprise then, when I was reminded–after living in this house for almost eleven years–that I happened to forget to bring my garbage cans in. Once. I left them out there for one day.

AND YOU TOOK A PICTURE AND SENT IT TO THE GODDAMN CITY so they would start harassing me.


Have you nothing better to do?

I’m sorry you were so overwhelmed by the incredible monstrosity of my tidy row of bins that you were completely unable to walk over and knock on the door like a reasonable human being and were instead forced to take a photo and print it out and mail it to the goddamn city.

Guess what? I’m going to sneak over there today to cough on your mail. And maybe lick your door knob.


Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

16 thoughts on “Dear *sshole Neighbor”

  1. Oh no! That’s awful neighbourliness.

    I thought mine were bad when they wrote to me complaining that ‘my’ rainwater was running off my garden and into theirs. Writing to the city is a whole different ballpark!

    Hope you survive your lurgy, complete with all the trips and little people, and that things work out with your friend (and your husband).


  2. Jerk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve heard Hawaii is really not so great and you didn’t miss much. Well, no, but, I bet you learned a lot from that magazine. Like, how to tidily store your trash bins? I have an idea! Move to Takoma Park, Maryland, next door to me. I will put your trash bins away FOR you. Imagine someone failing to appreciate you as a neighbor. Humph.



  3. The most neighborly thing to do would be to walk over to your neighbor’s, copy of the picture in your hand, and try to talk to them about it. There has to be another reason why those passive aggressive butt faces did that. If they are rude to you, then you have every reason to continue to cop an attitude. I wouldn’t want to live next to people like that.. although I did when I was young. Might just have to write about that one just for your benefit! That experience taught me that being passive aggressive right back is not the best solution.

    Your husband must be a saint if he has not reacted to them!

    Reading this makes me want to go give all of my neighbors big hugs. They have endured far worse infractions from me than (gasp) leaving my garbage cans out “too long”.


    1. Well, yes. There are more graceful ways for me to have handled this, but since I’m not certain which neighbor turned me in…I had to vent somewhere or risk imploding! GO HUG YOUR NEIGHBORS.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had such an a#@hole neighbor that I sold my house, so now that I’m gone this post made my day. Time and distance made it all better, hope you feel better soon and figure out some creative revenge tactics!


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