Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Neighbour

Last summer, I watched what seemed to be a romance blooming between my neighbour, a man in his early 60s, and a woman, perhaps slightly younger but still very attractive.  Every day, he would stand in his front yard drinking coffee, and when she walked past he would stop her and they would chat.  She walked south in the morning, and I walked north.  Sometimes, when I was a little bit late, I would pass her closer to my house, carrying a flower (I assume from his garden) and wearing a Mona Lisa smile.

I walked past the same fellow's yard every morning, but I don't recall any interaction between us.  If there was, it wasn't memorable.

After a while, I stopped seeing the beautiful, well-dressed older woman.  I guess she must have moved, or changed her routine so that she no longer has to walk down my street.

The man with the coffee started paying attention to me.

At first we just nodded and smiled at each other as I speed-walked to the bus stop.  I am always in a hurry in the morning, having stayed home until the last possible moment because, work is work.  At some point we added saying "Good morning, nice day," and so forth.  Perfectly fine, normal conversation.

Then a day came when I found him dressed in a shirt and tie, carrying a briefcase.  He popped out of his front gate and fell in step with me.  "Are you going to the bus?  I will walk with you."  Well, alright, fine, it's a free country.  Go ahead.  I chatted politely with him; found out his name and national origin (he came to Canada from Romania 20 years ago, and still has an accent).

It got a little weirder when he walked me right to the door of my bus and patted my shoulder before wishing me a good day.  I felt slightly creeped out.

The day after that, he was waiting for me again.  He conveniently had a client he had to see right near where I work.  Jump in his car!  He'll give me a ride!  Why not?

I suddenly pictured last year's lady, chopped up and frozen in a chest freezer in his basement.  Maybe she didn't move away after all...

Anyway, I said "No thank you" and made polite excuses which were actually 100% true: I prefer to walk; I enjoy the exercise and the time out of doors.  Ken can confirm that I have refused his offers of a ride to work many times.  I'd always rather walk if I can.

I don't want to be one of those women who answers every conversation opener from a man with "I'm married," but in this case my instincts said I should back off.  Happily, for the rest of the week I haven't seen him in his yard.  I can enjoy my morning walk in peace, with no social awkwardness.  Hurray!  I hope it stays that way.

P.S. The charity people picked up my donation last week!  It's all good.


Abby said...

Yeah, that sounds a bit awkward with the neighbor guy. I'm glad you were straightforward with him, so many women just want to keep the peace. The image of the nice older lady in the freezer is funny/creepy!

Glad you got your stuff hauled.

G. B. Miller said...

Freaky indeed. I used to have customers like that when I'd worked in retail decades ago. You almost have to go against your nature and get hostile in order to get rid of them.

But hey, that nice lady is probably sitting in a freeze waiting to be turned into pork fritters (saw Christopher Reeves in a Tales From The Darkside episode where that was the case).

LL Cool Joe said...

Never get into a car with a stranger. That's what I tell my daughters anyway, even though my 17 year old ignores me and rolls her eyes. Of course your neighbour may just have been being kind, but is it worth the risk. I think not. I hope he doesn't bother you again.

Granny Annie said...

An elderly gentleman used to visit over the fence with me and my sister. He was very nice and harmless. We enjoyed talking to him because he made us laugh. One day we are on our way to a church potluck dinner and he ask us to bring him some dessert. We took him a huge slice of chocolate cake. It wasn't long after that we stopped seeing him and learned of his death. He had diabetes!! We have always wondered if we killed him. Many reasons our parents told us not to talk to strangers...

wigsf3 said...

Not chopped up in a freezer. Remember, Romanian. Pickled in a jar.

Lynn said...

Your instinct is correct to not get in the car with him. Wonder what happened to the nicely dressed lady????

Ginny said...

Oh yikes! That is creepy. Any way you can walk a different route to be safe?

Vanessa T said...

I'm creeped out just reading about it!

I'm glad you didn't get in his car. What was he thinking, doesn't he know not to even offer that to a woman in this day and age? I hope you can continue your morning work-jaunt without his, uh, friendliness, too!