A tree in my neighbour’s backyard has grown over his fence, across the alley between our houses, and into my backyard. It’s been squeezing a bay leaf tree in my backyard against the garden shed. If his tree is not trimmed soon, my bay leaf tree will die. I needed to bring this up with my neighbour so he could hire a gardener and get the tree trimmed back.
I am an uber conflict avoider. The thought of asking someone to do something, with even a slight potential of conflict gives me a shiver.
I am also Indian. So the idea of people refusing to do what’s their responsibility is almost the natural default for me.
The combination of these two characteristics meant that for last few weeks I’ve been playing the encounter with my neighbour in my head. My fears and my overactive imagination meant it had gone far enough that we were filing police complaints against each other for ASBO12.
Anyway, I saw him today when we returned from the evening walk. I waved at him and approached.
Me: Hey Scott, I’m sorry, but do you have a minute.
S: Yes, of course.
Me: I’m sorry, but there’s a tree in your backyard that’s grown over into mine and is strangling one of my trees.
S: Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t notice it.
Me: No worries, it’s right at the far corner.
S: I’m sorry. I’ll get the gardener to come do something about it.
Me: No worries. Thanks.
S: Cheers. I’m sorry. See you later.
No, we didn’t end up filing ASBO complaints against each other. We just said ‘I’m Sorry’ to each other a dozen times, smiled, and carried on.
I can breathe now :)
- ASBO = Anto-social behaviour order ↩
- It went like this: I asked him nicely to get the tree pruned. He refused. I asked his wife nicely, she ignored me with a stare. I complained to the council. They sent him a letter. He complained to the council about my dog. I complained to the council about his noisy backyard parties and his garbage dump in the alley. I woke up to find rubbish dumped in my front yard. I canvassed the neighbours (specially the white, elderly ones) against him. He counter-canvassed. …. I have an active imagination and things got really bad really soon after that… in my head. ↩