When I came home last week, the first thing to greet me as I rang my parents’ doorbell was a big sign duct-taped to the gate that said, “Please do not SLAM THE IRON GATE!!!!!” (Yes, those exclamation points are real; so is the capitalization). I thought to myself, that’s a really great way to scare people away from this house, and who knows… this may even scare away the mailman! I told my parents I didn’t think this was a good idea, and they just ignored me.
I brought it up again today with them, and my mother insisted that our neighbor upstairs, who rents a room from my aunt, has guests constantly coming in and out of the house, slamming the gate, the door, and even ringing our bell without realizing they are ringing the wrong one. The sign is not for our neighbor, she says, but it’s for her inconsiderate guests and family. I want to note that our neighbor is dying of cancer, and according to her doctor, she probably only has about two months left to live. She’s so frail that she can’t even make it to the toilet. She has to have a bed pan, which unfortunately goes into the garbage…. And my dad has to clean that. It wouldn’t be anyone’s favorite thing to do. Since my aunt is away in New York, she doesn’t have to take any responsibility for this.
I thought about how hostile and just rude the sign looked. Every day when she’d come back from one of her JW meetings or the doctor’s and would be in pain, she’d see that sign. Passersby would see this sign and think, what the hell is wrong with the people who live here? What kind of problem do they have? It just didn’t seem right to me to have such hostility and passive aggression stare at someone like that who’s dying. I told them that I think the sign should come down. My mom got angry and spent the entire airport ride being defensive and childish about it. “Stop saying things to hurt me,” she complained when I brought this up. “Just STOP IT.” She claims that the sign is not for the neighbor, that it’s for her bad guests. And I have no right to say anything because I don’t live there, so I have no idea about all the “suffering” that neighbor makes her and my dad go through. She even complained about the breathing machine making “all kinds of noise all night long” upstairs. Well, without that breathing machine, our neighbor would die, I said. Why are you complaining, and do you realize what would happen without the breathing machine?! She insisted they were right to keep the sign up, and my dad flatly refused to take it down. “They have no consideration,” my dad said.
This is probably why you shouldn’t have duplex or multiplex units housing multiple families. You have to deal with stupidity and passive aggression like this that is ultimately caused by both sides either not taking responsibility or choosing to be mature and reasonable. Some people just want to instigate and cause more misery and suffering without even realizing it, and they spend their entire lives depending their poor, thoughtless choices. They claim everyone else has done wrong to them and that they are constantly the victims. And these people are people I call my family.