Ask Amy: COVID-panicked neighbor might get a moonrise
Dear Amy: I need advice on how to handle a neighbor situation. The elderly lady across the street, who has always been a little crotchety, has now utterly lost it. She prowls the neighborhood, looking for “COVID violations.”
Two neighbors talking from opposite sides of the street get 10 minutes of screaming profanities because, in her mind, social distancing means not socializing at all.
She has called the police on another neighbor so many times that she’s forbidden to do it again. The reason? There were three cars parked in his driveway. He has his daughter’s family staying with him, which she considers “a party.”
My parents came over for my father’s birthday and she called the police on us, reporting an “unsafe large gathering spreading the virus.”
The four of us, all healthy, were sitting inside eating cake. (And anyway, in our area, gatherings of 10 or less are considered fine.) She has also called the police on lone joggers without a mask and gloves, even though she herself doesn’t wear them.
She has now set up video cameras conspicuously around her lawn, one of which is pointing directly at our house. She has commented that she can see in our windows and has berated us for not wearing a mask and gloves… in our own home!
My husband has suggested that we start mooning out the window. I would prefer a solution that doesn’t involve her having photos of our naked backsides. I also don’t want to be forced to keep the curtains closed.
How can we reason with the unreasonable?
Dear Fishbowl: The answer is: You cannot reason with the unreasonable. So don’t try. You might be able to get that camera off of your house, however.
You should research state laws regarding privacy and video. You don’t necessarily have an expectation of privacy while in your yard or driveway, but you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy inside your own home. You should contact a lawyer regarding your legal remedies.
Based on what you describe, this neighbor seems to have gone round the bend. The pandemic has proved a trigger for various mental illnesses, and if she has dementia (for instance), she may be fixated on the risks she irrationally believes surround her.
Live your life. Do not “moon” her. Stay calm and polite if forced to interact with her. Imagine what it must feel like to be in such a state of rage over things you cannot control. Avoid her and (if possible) feel sorry for her.
Dear Amy, My son has always come to our summer cottage many times during the summer months.
This year, his girlfriend has a large dog.
We have always had a rule that no dogs are allowed.
Now my son and his girlfriend say that they will not come, because we don't allow dogs at the cottage. This dog is noisy, sheds, and leaves messes everywhere. Thus, we are sticking to our set rules. However, I love my son and am so stressed that they care more about the dog than our Father/Son relationship.
We are only at the cottage four months during the summer, and live in Florida the rest of the year. We sure would like to see my son more often.
What do you suggest?
Dear Confused: I doubt your son cares more about the dog than you, but I think it’s a safe bet that he is more invested in his girlfriend’s happiness than yours.
You and your son both seem to have laid down non-negotiables. Of course, your son could visit you solo, but he doesn’t sound willing to do that. You can offer to let them visit with the dog one time to see if you are able to tolerate having it there. Otherwise, you will need to accept that for many people, girlfriends and dogs are full-on family members, despite the challenges they present to actual family members.
Dear Amy: You missed an important point to “Bi-Curious” in your response about bisexuality. Sexual orientation doesn’t end with marriage.
I have come out as bi/pan, even though I have been in a seemingly straight relationship with my husband for more than 20 years. It is part of who I am and doesn’t go away with a ring on my finger.
Claiming my whole identity helps others, yes, but it also helps me.
Rena Dubin (use my name— it’s pride month!)
Dear Rena: Thank you (and every month is Pride Month!)