Moving to Chicago from Omaha, Nebraska meant a lot of changes for our family. We left a house with a front and back yard and friendly neighbors on either side. Now we live in a six-flat where we are still trying to learn about neighborly etiquette. Our kids are learning to be mindful of neighbors above and below as they play, both inside and out.
Recently, our kids were happily enjoying the unexpectedly nice weather by playing outside in our backyard (also affectionately known as our "back concrete"). The neighbor kids from our building joined in the fun, as we parents caught up and enjoyed the opportunity for adult conversation for a change.
Before too long, a pick up soccer game got started. The space is fairly small for that kind of a crowd and that kind of a game, so it didn't take too long for someone to get hurt. My daughter was the first to take a tumble and her cries of "agony" filled the air. My husband immediately comforted her, as he hushed her loud cries.
Apparently she wasn't quieted quickly enough. Suddenly, next door, a window flew open, a lady's head appeared, and the air was rent with her shouts: "Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up!" The kids, frightened, rushed into the stairwell. We parents turned to her with looks of horror, trying to comprehend what had happened to our idyllic evening. As she continued with her obscene rant, we tried, to no avail, to get her to at least stop using foul language in the presence of our children.
This only seemed to enrage her further: "Welcome to the neighborhood! Now shut the f*** up!" She finally slammed her window shut and left us to pick up the pieces. Our neighbor boy ran around his apartment checking all the windows to make sure she couldn't get in to cause further harm. My daughter was afraid to go back outside, because she didn't want the lady to "throw something like glass" down on us.Continued on the next page