Our next door neighbor (NDN) is a crotchety old woman, and that is the nicest term I can think of to use for her. However, we are neighbors and M and I try to be kind and help her when needed. We are not of a mind to be taken advantage of, though, and she is definitely someone who would take advantage of kindness if given the opportunity.
Her dog walker (DW) recently quit after a dispute over payment. Their agreement was $10 for an hour of dog walking. A couple of weeks back NDN was engaged in conversation with her landscaper and held up DW by about 20 minutes. DW is only 15, has a regular babysitting gig 3 nights a week, and has a pretty strict timetable for getting Rosie walked and back. NDN upsetting the schedule by not coming to the door and letting DW in to fetch Rosie meant a shorter walk. NDN shorted her pay by $5 because of the shortened walk, even though DW was there on time and it was NDN’s fault the walk was short. I absolutely do not blame DW for quitting.
So tonight NDN asks me if I can walk Rosie while out on my own stroll through the neighborhood. M had gone off running in the canyons so I’d be cruising solo so I agreed. Rosie is a goldendoodle and a sweet and pleasant dog, albeit a bit cowed by NDN crotchety-ness. Unfortunately she also has poor doggy hygeine, i.e., she STINKS and really needs a bath more frequently than once every few months. Really not her fault, though; it is just indicative why NDN should not have such higher maintenance pets.
But I digress, as usual.
Coming back from our stroll, I put Rosie in the backyard and walk to the front door to leave the leash. NDN comes to the door to chat with me and suggests I start taking Rosie with me on my evening walks. After all, it is obvious I have to lose a lot of weight and Rosie will be my accountability to at least exercise.
I cannot believe she just said that to me. It was beyond rude and left me completely speechless for a moment. Whether it is true or not, whether I am grossly obese or carrying a few extra pounds, it is kind of cruel thing to say to a neighbor you hardly know. But wait, there was MORE!
After the very long pause where I wonder if I actually heard her correctly, I say that I don’t want to commit to walking Rosie regularly because my walking is for me, a time to clear my head and listen to tunes and not have to worry about anything other than oncoming traffic. Then she says: Rosie is no trouble to walk, and being seen with such a beautiful dog will make me look prettier and more attractive, maybe even sexier as well. You are such a plain woman you should really take better care of yourself, do more to fix yourself up. I’m surprised your husband does not have affairs. But then he cannot stop talking long enough to have another woman.
I am so stunned by the turn of conversation that I can only repeat more forcefully that I really cannot commit to walking Rosie and she should engage another dog walker. Followed immediately by “gee, look at the time, I should get home” before making my escape.
Thinking about it as I showered and cleaned up, I was offended, I was angry, and I was horrified by the awful things she said to me. However, the more I thought about it, the less impacted I felt by her words until finally it was rather amusing to replay in my head. By the time M got home and I was telling him the story I could not contain my laughter. He was also horrified and offended at first, but then he agreed that is out NDN is manipulative and batshit crazy anyway and there are very good reasons why her middle aged children do not visit often.
Our plan is to continue to maintain the boundaries with NDN. If she is ill and needs help we will help her, but we will not be corralled into regular favors or too much interaction with her. There is no edit or pause button in her head and we certainly do not need to subject ourselves to her abuse.
I told M he should be flattered that she thinks him handsome enough, fit enough, attractive enough to be having extramarital affairs, yet it is only his chattiness that makes him a poor candidate for such things. I suggested he work on that for future success in such endeavors. M says he will take her advice under advisement, especially now that he knows not to pursue women walking dogs. Who knew how much allure and glamour Rosie casts on humans walking with her?
The moral of the story: it is truly tragic that NDN lacks the energy and ability to walk her dog herself, because she could use a little more beauty (and diplomacy) in her life.