Almost every time I’m out running errands or dropping off/picking the kids from school, someone I know will ask me “So what is going on with your crazy neighbor?” I also get emails, and phone calls, and FB messages. Heck, when I was in New York this August, most of the time I saw a friend we would hug, exchange ‘How ARE you?’ greetings, and then they would ask that very same question.
(For those of you who are new here, this past spring I was running on the trail with my dog when a guy rounded the corner with his two aggressive dogs, and one decided to attack and gnaw on my dog’s ear for a snack. I called animal control and reported him, as one does when they are fearful for the safety of their dog and the neighborhood in general.) Two days later, as I was leaving for another run, the same redneck dude pulled up, cursing at me and then he threatened to follow me down the trail with his dogs. I returned home, called the RCMP to report his threats. A short while later, when we finally went for a run, he followed us and, well. You can read about it here. Because he hadn’t done enough weird things, he then set up camp across the road from my house (Along with his brother and his Dad! He’s not alone in his craziness!) and they would yell obscenities every time we came or went and I felt very anxious and vulnerable.)
(Oh! Something I never shared with you guys here: During that time, a producer from ABC’s 20/20 contacted me because they were doing a piece on bad neighbors. We had a lovely phone chat – he totally has a ‘T.V’ voice – and he offered to send a team up here to document The Crazy. Matthew and I felt that the Redneck neighbor wasn’t worth the attention of 20/20, but it was pretty cool to be contacted by them.)
The thing is, the more I wrote and talked about it, the better I felt. And the awesome thing is that despite never having mentioned his name here on my site, locals knew exactly who I was talking about. Other neighbors in the area we live would tell me stories of things that he had done, using words like idiot and punk and loser. He told the officer that came out here that he ‘works up north’, and I had three different neighbors tell me that if he did “work up north”, it was growing marijuana, because selling it is the only “work” he’s ever done. The biggest thing for me was hearing stories from so many (SO MANY) Moms of people he had bullied in school, as well as from a few of those who were bullied by him when they were growing up.
Something inside me clicked, and I was free of my anxiety and worry. He is merely a bully. The handy dandy world wide web provided me with this definition.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
(Definition credit: Stopbullying.gov)
He was acting like a child who perceived that he had power over me. The thing is, he has no power over me whatsoever. He is not part of my circle of friends (obviously), he has no control over my family, my income, my enjoyment of life. He is someone who has his panties in a loop because I called the authorities on him when he committed an offense. And instead of apologizing, as pretty much anyone else on the planet would do if their dog attacked and injured another one, he resorted to threatening me and trying to intimidate me. The thing is, those middle school techniques don’t work if you’re a grown up who has matured with age instead of resorting to schoolyard tactics.
It was so freeing, you guys. And I didn’t feel like writing about it because he’s not worthy of any more of my time, you know?
So why am I writing about it now? There are a few reasons.
1. A local reader I’ve yet to meet shared the link to an article out of northern Alberta. Again, despite me never using his name, someone in town knew exactly who I was talking about. It turns out that Redneck and his brother own a property in northern Alberta and do indeed “work up north” (air quotes). It’s no wonder they were mad that I called the RCMP that day. They are not merely potheads, they had a huge grow op. Had being the operative word, because the police and military discovered it and the brothers were ‘charged with production and possession for the purpose of trafficking marihuana.’ Awesome.
2. On Friday afternoon, Matthew arrived home, walked in the door with a big grin on his face and said that he had just had a delightful conversation with Redneck at the bottom of our driveway. He had stopped to pick up our garbage cans and Redneck had roared up in his truck with this opening line: “So your whore wife has a blog, eh?”
I burst into laughter. First of all, because last I checked, being married to the same man for twelve years isn’t the definition of a “whore” (I never said Redneck was smart). Second of all, he’s probably been thinking that he scares me for all of these months, when it’s exactly the opposite. Every time he steps onto his deck to glare at me when I drive by, I don’t acknowledge him but I smirk at how ridiculous he looks. Last week he took it up a notch, even. I was taking the kids to school and realized I’d forgotten their lunches, so turned and went back home. As I turned onto our street, he was getting into his truck. When I went back down the driveway to head to the school, he was standing on his deck, glaring at me. He RAN BACK INTO HIS HOUSE AND UP THE STAIRS. To GLARE AT ME. I laughed the entire way into town, because WHO DOES THAT? Someone who has a lot of time on his hands and no life, is who. It’s a little sad, really.
Anyway, he spent about ten minutes, red-faced and yelling, while Matthew maintained his composure. He called me a few other names and even resorted to calling Matthew ‘ugly.’ Because that’s what grown ups do. (He’s, uh, pretty homely, and Matthew is tall, dark, and handsome, which made that comment crack me up too.) He kept egging Matthew on to fight him and Matthew told him to go ahead and throw the first punch. He kept trying and trying to get a rise out of Matthew and Matthew simply responded in an even voice ‘You aren’t worth my time.‘
Which he isn’t, and that’s why I’ll wrap this up. There is nothing for you guys to worry about. The RCMP have all of my documentation (notes, videos, photos) of everything, and a guy in town told me that he called the RCMP to tell them about the Alberta news. The RCMP have told me that if he even hints at threatening me, to call them and they will be here ASAP. Same goes for is he even dabs a toe onto our property. We have a good friend who is an RCMP officer and he’s told us to just keep living our lives and reporting any incidents. He said that the goal of the RCMP every time there is an arrest is for rehabilitation. Hopefully, Redneck will get some help with his anger management issues and maybe learn how to be a contributing member of society. I highly doubt it, but I hope for his sake he gets help and grows up.
Thanks so much to our friends out here in our neighborhood who are watching us (and him). Thanks to everyone in Summerland who love us and support us and helped me back when I was attacked. Thanks to those of you across Canada, the States, THE WORLD, family included, who love us and check in on us. We are totally fine, and totally happy. Life is good.