Monday, April 03, 2006

Neighbours

We live in a neighbourhood that’s not very neighbourhoody. The area has a mix of rental homes (taken up by students and youngish professionals…I put myself in this category) as well as older people who have lived here for many many years. The houses are very close together which is wonderful in promoting an ‘urban’ feel, but not so wonderful if you value privacy. On one side we have a grumpy neighbour- a seventy something woman who has no family and lives alone. She filed a complaint with the city when we were building a fence to enclose our courtyard because she feared that the fence post might touch her house. On the other side there is a townhouse with three units, each occupied by lovely couples whose children are grown up and have left home. And then there’s Mr. P. He lives around the corner, but our courtyards border one other. He's a retired widower- used to be a youth counselor with a local church. He has sons (two, maybe three) who live in town and drop by often to see him. He is friendly, sometimes too friendly, holding us up with useless chatter about the history of his house, or the growth of his vines while we stand on our front porch, keys in hand, trying to balance heavy groceries or awkward packages. He is a harmless if slightly annoying presence. I haven’t seen Mr. P in a few weeks; not unusual given the miserable weather.

On Saturday I picked up the local newspaper. There on the front page is a picture of a 20 something man recently convicted of first degree murder. He had tortured and killed a co-worker three years ago. The story is gruesome, and the motive doesn’t seem very clear. It was part robbery, part drinking/pot smoking session gone wrong. Turns out this guy was living just 3 blocks away from us AND has the same last name as Mr. P. I looked in the phone book. There are only two Ps in town. Crap. I think this murdering torturer is my neighbour’s son.
But I can't be sure.
It’s not like I can knock on his door and say ‘oh, by the way is so-and-so enjoying his stay at the Big-house?’ Anyhow, I am freaked out. Completely freaked out.
What kind of neighbourhood do I live in?? This is supposed to be the nice part of town. Mr. P is the guy we trust to keep an eye on things while we’re away (because he’s always there and he’s nosey).
So, how do I play this? Keep being friendly to Mr. P or be more guarded? Show sympathy? Pretend I never read that newspaper article?
What exactly is the proper etiquette when you think your neighbour has raised a killer?
What an odd town I live in.

On a more positive note, I was absolutely giddy on the weekend when I found that the local grocery store was mistakenly scanning my favourite tomato sauce as $0.99 per jar instead of the usual $2.99. Amazing that after having spent (wasted?) tens of thousands of dollars on IVF treatments that have gotten me nothing, I can still get excited about having saved $2 (!) on a jar of tomatoes. Actually, I went back and bought 12 more. Think I'll spend the evening fondling the jars and cooking up a big pot of pasta.

6 Comments:

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Millie said...

Wow. You do live in an interesting town.

How hard it must be for your neighbor if it is his son that was convicted of that crime. Especially since he'd been a youth counselor. That's just terrible.

A woman I knew slightly through a job years ago killed her lover in a terrible way (really terrible) and will be in prison the rest of her life. It was really strange to find out that someone I'd eaten lunch with could do that kind of evil.

In better news, hope you're enjoying your tomatoes. What a deal.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Pamplemousse said...

I love a bargain too and I would have done the same thing as you!

It is a shame about your Mr P. Try not to think too much about it. You would be amazed at what goes on relatively nearby, everywhere!

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous InSpring said...

My brother had a friend whose brother killed someone in a horrible way.

Sometimes some people just have something go wrong in the wiring of their brains and it has nothing to do with nurture or genetics.

I understand your feeling uncomfortable, I would too, but I hope you can treat him just the same, he sounds really lonely and must at some level feel responsible for his son - even if there's nothing he did to cause it and couldn't have prevented it. He must be really suffering - if it is his son.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Lut C. said...

That is a bit creepy.

I wouldn't know how to behave towards someone like Mr. P. either.

 
At 5:13 AM, Anonymous thalia said...

I'm with inspring, I'd try not to treat him differently. After all, you don't know for sure that it ws his son.

Hoping that the tomato sauce was delicious.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Chee Chee said...

I definitely agree with inspring. I am sure that P is just a lonely older man, looking for some conversation. He is probably very sad (particularly if it's his son).

Sometimes it's just the simple things in life that make us happy. Enjoy your tomatoes!

 

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