That Time I Went Through My Neighbour’s Bin

Storm Hector hit our village the night before last which brought high winds and heavy rain. Our ten day summer was officially over. The gazebo was dismantled and put away; the paddling pool was emptied; the garden furniture was placed in the garage as we battened down the hatches and prepared for the worst could Hector could bring. He had a stupid name anyway so I wasn’t overly concerned.

I woke the next morning to the sound of cacophonous rattling outside. This was strange as I am normally awakened by the sound of our neighbour’s sixteen dogs barking. All at once. Every day. Without fail. But I digress. Had the Russians invaded? The North Koreans? Or whoever Donald Trump had posted an offensive tweet about recently? The Greenlanders? The Fijians? It’s hard to keep up these days.

I arose (staggered) from bed to investigate. A peek out the window allayed my more serious concerns regarding alien invasion but I was nonetheless dismayed by the sight revealed to me. A neighbours bin had been blown over during the night and emptied its contents all over the street. And by all over the street I meant in our front garden. Hector had left his calling card. Although I doubt if the United Nations would have been losing much sleep over the humanitarian crisis unfolding in front of me.

I bounded into action. Throwing on clothes (nobody needs their first sight in the morning to be a middle aged man chasing rubbish round the street in a pair of Peppa Pig pyjama bottoms) I ventured outside to survey the carnage. Our front garden was bedecked with every type of garbage known to man. I gingerly tiptoed through the chaos and tidied up the mess, all the while shooting daggers at the offending house from whence said detritus had emanated from.

By the end of it all I knew what they liked to drink (cider and lots of it), eat for breakfast (their own body weight in Honey Nut Loops) and even how their exceedingly grumpy teenage daughter had fared in a recent R.E. exam (not very well – sniggers). A five minute rummage through their bin and I knew more about them than in all the preceding ten years we had lived within a hundred yards of each other. I don’t know my neighbours very well I glumly concluded.

Perhaps rooting through a neighbour’s bin is a tad extreme in the getting to know you stakes (although each to their own I guess) but it’s a sad indictment as to how little we know about the people we share our lives with. And I don’t just mean the folks down the street who we exchange pleasantries with once in a blue moon. What about our colleagues, friends and family. How well do we really know each other?

It often takes one of life’s storms in order for us to open up to others. In times of crisis we are more likely to spill our garbage all over a friend or relatives immaculate front lawn. All of our secrets, faults and dramas. Yet we expect them to clean up the mess. I know I have and it wasn’t a pretty sight. All my dirty laundry and grubby skeletons made my neighbour’s bin look tame in comparison.

We need to talk more. Listen more. Take a risk and reach out more. This post is as much for myself as for anyone else. I have cut myself off from so many but when the you know what hits the fan I expect so much from them. Do it now before it’s too late. For one morning the storm will come and you will need that shoulder to cry on. Even if he is wearing Peppa Pig pyjama bottoms.

Do you talk to your neighbours?

What’s the most interesting item you’ve ever discovered on your front lawn?

27 thoughts on “That Time I Went Through My Neighbour’s Bin

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  1. Impeccable! Perfect … the Peppa Pig pyjamas? Quirky is perhaps the adjective that springs to mind, that and stark raving bonkers! My old neighbour in Glasgow became a solid friend … Here in London on a “mixed military patch” everyone seems to be irritating everyone else. I’m glad that we’re just tucked away from it around the corner. Trump aside, I think WW3 will break out here before too long. 😬

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  2. People do need to listen more, but sadly, in a lot of instances they are too busy formulating their next answer to be paying attention to that which you are speaking about – at least IMHO.
    A beautiful hawk smashed into my home office window, and sadly lay dead in the front yard, that was definitely the worst thing I’ve found. Great post by the way, even with the Peppa pig pyjama visual now stuck in my head.

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  3. Had to look up Peppa Pig. Better than Sponge Bob, I guess. With the exception of your choice of pyjamas (we spell them differently over here… probably something to do with the row back in the 1700s, I guess), this could’ve taken place here in Florida. We had neighbors who evacuated their rental (never returned), leaving a bin of rubbish out at the street. Shrapnel in high winds. I sunk it in the pool behind the house. “Can’t imagine how it got there…!”

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  4. Most interesting things found in my yard… a Water Moccasin (snake) in our side yard, an alligator (almost 3 meters) in our back yard.

    We talk with our neighbors when we know their language(s).

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  5. An enjoyable post. I can’t say I’ve ever found anything of interest on my lawn, because I live in a condo. Do daily visits from red cardinals count? 🙂

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  6. We have good communication with all of our neighbors except one. We have lived in this neighborhood for 17 years. The first few years we always waved at our neighbor when we passed their house if they were outside. We even walked over a few times to say hi. They have never responded to our waves and were extremely unfriendly when we tried to make conversation. I hate it but now we just drive by their house and don’t bother to wave.

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  7. My neighbors to the left are gone. I called the police on them for making drugs in their backyard. My neighbor to the right is an auto mechanic shop. I chat with his dad every now and again.
    I am going to make a top ten list below for the most interesting things I have found in my front yard.
    1. A blow up Doll
    2. A bowling ball
    3. Someone’s half empty keg
    4. A package of steak
    5. Several used condoms
    6. An iguana(it was a neighbors pet)
    7. A stolen car(he pulled into my lawn and took off on foot)
    8. Several pairs of VERY dirty men’s underwear
    9. About 50 pink flamingo yard ornaments(planted as a prank by accident in my yard)
    10. This one is a tie. One morning I came out and sat on my porch for coffee. I heard snoring and there was a naked man asleep under my porch. Another morning I came out and there was a man in a Batman cape with plastic see thru undies asleep on my lawn.

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  8. I knew my neighbors very well in my previous neighborhood, then got backstabbed by a few of them and moved because the resulting anxiety was rendering me nonfunctional 😦 I haven’t gotten up the courage to talk to my new neighbors yet and we’ve been here almost a year 😦

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  9. Really enjoyed this one! I’m taking a theater class right now and we’re focusing on the importance of attention–and how little attention we pay to one another these days. I couldn’t help but chuckle, however, at the thought that we, as writers, leave a good portion of our garbage (at least, the garbage that’s worth exposing to people–I really hope that doesn’t sound too odd) on the internet! My current goal is to prioritize bringing topics to a conversation and not a keyboard. No neighbors to talk to (college kid!) and not really any lawn to look after, so unfortunately haven’t got much to contribute to your questions–still a great read, this one!

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  10. I loved this! And, I totally would wear Peppa Pig pajamas too… But then, I’m a 42 year old woman who wore a pair of shoes to church today with enough rhinestones on them to blind a disco ball, so…thank you for writing a post that helped me to find more reasons to smile today 🙂 And I think you are right, we should be more open to those around us. Sometimes it is hard to find the time though in all the craziness that can go on in life…

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  11. Well, growing up we lived near a golf course so we would somehow find golf balls…and…you had to walk a ways to get to the golf course, I don’t know who is hitting golf balls across the road that also FLY above the house and end up in the backyard.

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