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Autism: ‘Evil’ Neighbours

12 Aug

“Shut up!” she screamed across the road. I couldn’t believe how angry I became. Not that I said anything in return, but the words sure flowed through my head. So, so angry at her that I went inside and cried for a very long time.

I don’t even know her, really, though she has lived across the street from me for a few years. She yelled at Gryff a few times, too – and that left me angry, but not like this. That was some time ago, and then she got a dog of her own. A beagle. I love the bark of her dog, and sometimes he does it a lot. Sometimes he even barked at us… or at Gryff, rather. And she yelled at him, too.

Really, she yells a lot. So I shouldn’t have taken it personally – but I did. Most nights she screams at her own dog. She lets him out into their front yard, and as he goes hunting after a smell (as Beagles will) she screams and swears at him to come back. I laugh. But not at her. He is just doing what is in him to do. If she didn’t want a dog like that, why did she get a Beagle? And why does she let him out into their unfenced front yard, if she is constantly upset at him for wandering?

She is not only loud in her yelling, but even in talking and laughing. How many times have I been kept awake at night by her? Yelling at her dog (just about every night), visiting with friends, laughing… she is a very loud person. And I don’t like loud. But I have never said anything to her.

It was not even 8pm. Clara and I had just gotten back from our walk, and were sitting in the yard. The neighbour drove home, and pulled a big bag out of her trunk, which she slung over her shoulder. For whatever reason, Clara seems to have even more trouble with people carrying things, than even strangers walking by. So she started barking. She is a Chihuahua after all. She will bark.

July 13 008

But it isn’t even like I was leaving her to do that. I was calling her back to myself, and pretty quickly she came – but not before the neighbour screamed at her. And I was so full of anger I cried… and cried… and cried.

“I hate neighbours!” I thought, and once again wanted so bad to move. I am not suited to neighbourhoods. At the same time I feel tied to this house by all of the losses I have suffered here over the past nearly thirteen years. Strange, but true. I can’t leave them, I think. Still I wish all the neighbours would disappear – including the ones I like, but especially ones like this.

I can understand her frustration. Same as my son, really. It isn’t like they want it announced to the neighbourhood that they are there. They are not intruders, walking into their own homes. My son is annoyed by her as well, because despite having her for 5 weeks now, she still barks at him nearly every time he comes up the stairs.

But my response is pain. I am surprised with how much it hurts me that other people are upset with my dog. As the thoughts rapidly flow after such situations, however, I start to get an idea of where all this hurt and anger are coming from.

  • I didn’t ask for my dog to die. It isn’t like I chose this! I would have kept him forever, if that were possible – and I long more than I can say to be where he is. I didn’t want to get another dog. I needed to. I miss Gryff. And when they yell at Clara, I am reminded of why I have her, and that hurts!
  • Clara didn’t ask to come here. She was happy with her life, and had a good family. Suddenly she was taken in a car, and dropped off at a strangers home. She was terrified. She didn’t ask for this – yet all she has given me is love. She barks in fear. She barks to protect me. She didn’t ask for neighbours – but here she is. It isn’t fair that they are angry at her for being who she was born to be. It isn’t like they are perfect! And we are working on it. But it angers me that they are angry with her for being herself.
  • Though we didn’t ask for this, I love my dog. She is loyal, and sweet, and loving, and absolutely what I needed after losing my dog. When they are angry with her, however, I am reminded of all that people like her have taken from me over my life, and all I have lost from what was given to help me cope with those losses. It triggers my PTSD so bad that everything hurts.

In moments like this, I am reminded of how much I don’t like people sometimes. “Evil!” I think. And last night, that was my word for her. Today, the word remains. She screamed at the very perfect gift that was given to me in a world of pain, and all I could think was, “evil!”

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