America is great! One reason America is so great: We have very few real problems. Instead we have “first world problems”, trivial things we worry about that border on being insulting to lesser nations. Well, you can put annoying neighbors squarely into that category, and, unless you live on 100 acres, then these classic neighborhood personalities cannot be avoided.
I’m hesitant to date myself here, but The Burbs from 1989 (26 years ago?!) pretty much hit the nail on the head. Whether you live in sprawling suburbia, a community of townhouses, or a high-rise condo building, you cannot escape these “unique” people. Or worse, maybe you ARE one of these people! If so, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. If you’re relatively normal, you might feel like Will Smith’s character in I, Robot. He said “Does thinking you’re the last sane man on the face of the Earth make you crazy?” Don’t worry, you’re not crazy. Take solace in the fact that many of us suffer from the same domestic plight!
NOSY CAT LADY
Let’s just get this personality out of the way first. The Nosy Cat Lady is a cliche’ for a reason: She’s ubiquitous! Now to be fair, the Nosy Cat Lady personality does not apply to ALL single women that own cats. Maybe it’s not even a woman. You could live next to a Nosy Cat MAN. But, the personality profile remains the same.
This person has NOTHING better to do than to meddle in other people’s business. Her mission in life is to get people wound up with inflammatory accusations, then she’ll smile and laugh at the chaos she hopefully created. She jumps to insane conclusions and uses hyperbole with the utmost precision. The ONLY redeeming characteristic of the Nosy Cat Lady is that in the process of seeing everything, she might actually witness a legitimate crime. If she does, you can bet your ass she’ll be the first one interviewed on the evening news! She is the MVP of the neighborhood watch. In fact, she carries the neighborhood watch on her back like she’s LeBron James and everyone else is the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers! Unfortunately, 99% of the suspicious activity that she reports is completely harmless. Shut up and get back to me when I should genuinely worry about something you’ve seen through a crack in your blinds.
UNDERCOVER SKY MARSHAL
This guy is posing as a discreet Joe Schmoe. You might not even know he exists. Just like the deadly agent who sits inconspicuously in seat 14C browsing the Sky Mall for the millionth time, looking at carpeted stairs that allow someone’s dog to sleep in their bed despite a recent hip replacement. This resident doesn’t attend neighborhood meetings (if he does, he sits quietly and protects his anonymity). He mostly keeps to himself. But, don’t let that fool you! At any moment something could spike his interest and he can spring into action with a concealed weapon and kung-fu grip! Not only will this guy be more vocal than any other neighbor combined, but his obnoxious rants will be full of misinformation, insults, and possibly even legal threats (because of course this jerk is “friends” with a lawyer).
THE EXPERT WITNESS
This personality is both terrible and common, the more we tell everyone how special they are, the more people will think they are experts. To make matters worse, the Expert Witness is rarely a stand-alone personality. It’s often part a brutal 1-2 punch with the Sky Marshal, the Cat Lady or the Conspiracy Theorist. To make matters more frustrating, the Expert Witness is greatly empowered by the internet and social media.
The Expert Witness will confidently chime in as if summoned by the Supreme Court. They’ll ramble on like they’ve been rehearsing for weeks. I’m fairly confident he/she winds down at the end of the night by curling up with a glass of overpriced wine and reading the neighborhood covenants or the fine print of some hot new city ordinance.
Ah, the Corey Feldman character. What would a neighborhood be without you? This might be the only personality that can rival the Nosy Cat Lady in previlance. We can instantly recognize the Party Animal because they have a couple extra cars in their driveway at all times. Or, if you live in a condo/apartment building, there are people constantly coming and going. Then, when it’s time for an epic party, cars and people flood the streets!
Party Animal, it’s okay that you like to have a good time, but why does it have to be Wednesday night? Your loud stereo is obnoxious enough, why does your taste in music have to be so terrible? The truth is I’m a little jealous. I wish I could party with that much impunity. What do you do for a living? I was young once, but now I have to wake up and get ready for work in 5 hours!
PARANOID CONSPIRACY THEORIST
A man who is not quite as prevalent as other personalities, but his reputation is the stuff of legends. He’s kind of the male version of the Nosy Cat Lady. He’s definetely single, and bonus points if he lives with his parents. He is always on high alert and everyone is “out to get him.”
The Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist is a seasoned conclusion jumper and he thinks that no action occurs without a motive. My trash accidentally spilled over before the truck could arrive? Well, logically I must be trying to sabatoge your life. Obviously this is the first step in a progression that leads to murder. You never know when one of your neighbors might be killing people and burying them in the backyard.
ALTERNATE REALITY GUY
I don’t know what planet this guy is from or what rock he’s been living under. But, he has no idea how reality works. Alternate Reality Guy is different from the Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist. He’s not crazy, or at least not alarmingly so. Heck, he might even be fairly nice. But, he’s SO unrealistic!
Neighbors could be having a perfectly reasonable meeting about neighborhood security then (with a straight face) this guy suggests surrounding the neighborhood with a moat and building a drawbridge! In what parallel universe is that a good idea?! He means well. But, his oddball comments are completely unhelpful. What’s that, you think we should put a vending machine next to the front gate to increase property values? Sure, buddy. We’ll form a committee to look into that immediately.
THE PASSIVE CHEERLEADER
This neighbor is the complete opposite of the Sky Marshal. Instead of springing into action, they withdrawal into hiding. The passive cheerleader is very supportive of neighbors and HOA board members who are trying their best to do the right thing.
These people mean well, they really do. But, when it comes time to take action or do anything remotely controversial, the cheerleader becomes suddenly quiet and the pom poms are nowhere to be found. Then in private they’ll give you some cliche support like “You’re doing the Lord’s work” or “Great job, hang in there”. I get it, you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. But, I’ve got news for you; When a destructive minority is very vocal and unopposed, they can easily be perceived as the majority.
Hermit neighbors are an enigma. So many questions that may never be answered. What’s their story? They might be ex-carnival workers or an unemployed husband-wife encyclopedia sales team. What do they do inside all day? Probably read books about WWII or watch Walker, Texas Ranger reruns. The sound of birds chirping came from inside today, but yesterday it was a dog barking. So confusing!
So, why is this person called the “Jungle” Hermit? Naturally, the Hermit doesn’t want to be seen. So, what makes you think they’ll come outside to maintain their yard? If scientists ever had the courage to explore the Jungle Hermit’s overgrown yard, they might find a plant that cures cancer or a species of animal previously thought to be exitint.
SU CASA MI CASA
The complete opposite of the Hermit Crab, Su Case Mi Casa knows NO boundaries. I’m talking about physical boundaries recorded by the county surveyors office, emotional boundaries, social boundaries, you name it and they bust right through it like the old Kool-Aid man.
It starts innocently enough with some homemade cookies as you’re unpacking the moving truck. Next thing you know, this person is randomly showing up at your door like Ray Romano’s mother. Good luck politely rebuilding those boundaries once they’ve been torn down like the Berlin Wall.
This man (or woman) is firmly stuck in 1975. He yearns for how things used to be in the “good old days”. The Old-Timer served on an HOA board 31 years ago, when security equipment hadn’t been invented yet and landscaping could be bartered for with a Coke and a handshake.
Heaven forbid the Old-Timer gets involved in a financial discussion. He doesn’t understand inflation and is always surprised by how much things cost. “New mail boxes? In my day mail boxes were 3 for a dollar!” Of course he will never support a raise in HOA dues or any necessary assessments either.
ROBOT WHO DESPISES HUMAN BEINGS
It would be appropriate for this hateful person to live in the woods or on a farm and not bother anybody. Instead, they’ve chosen to live in a dense urban neighborhood and blame everyone for living in THEIR domain. It’s like they conciously think, if their hateful behavior can force you to move away, then nobody will move in after you. They’ll finally be left alone! Somehow they’ve made it through life, held a job, and maybe even gotten married (!!) all while hating everyone around them. I don’t get it. I hope they leave this planet as part of the first moon colony.
Now… This leads nicely into our final personality. If one of your neighbors is a combination of 4 or more of these dreaded neighborhood personalities, congratulations. You’ve been exposed to…
There is no cure. There is no hope. Resistance is futile. The Plague starts with an occasional comment or email, then slowly seeps into your brain, eventually taking over your body and ruining every facet of your life.
If you are forced to live near this person, I truly have pity on your soul, your patience and your mental well-being. This person is not only miserable themselves, but they have an uncanny ability to spread their contagious misery. A mere mortal can handle some of these personalities in isolation, but combine them and Jesus himself would lose His patience. Do you live near a jungle hermit nosy cat lady, who despises human beings, is an expert at everything, and lives in an alternate universe? Oh my God. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you need to sell your house and move as far away as possible.
Not only does the Plague create a proximity force field of misery, they also amplify the personalities of your other neighbors. So, the Old-Timer gets more crotchety, the Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist doubles down on his theories, and the Undercover Sky Marshal becomes more fierce. Unfortunately for you, one of the few sane people on the block, the Plague also silences the good people. The Passive Cheerleader gets exponentially more passive for fear of the Plague’s wrath. There is no way for this story to have a happy ending.
Did we miss a personality from your neighborhood? Sound off in the comments section below.