It was eleven o’clock in the morning when the doorbell rang. My wife opened the door to see a delivery man standing there with a parcel. It was for our neighbours and he asked if we’d take it in. Of course, my wife agreed and put the parcel by the door.
Now is probably a good time to mention that we are not sociable. At all. We have prided ourselves in never knowing our neighbours. Except Crazy Pam. Crazy Pam is a whole other story. But, on the whole, over seven houses, we have never gotten to know our neighbours. It’s actually rather fun because then you can theorise about them and that’s often much more fun than knowing the truth.
That’s not to say we didn’t do little things for our neighbours in the past. We would often take in parcels for our neighbours, of course, it’s the neighbourly thing to do. But that is where our participation in being neighbourly, thankfully, ends.
We popped out for dinner and upon our return, I noticed that the neighbors were home. I refer to them as the neighbours as I know nothing about them. Other than my suspicion that they own a herd of buffalo that likes to rush up and down the stairs of an evening. Buffalo aside, I don’t know how many of them there are. Who they are. What they look like. Nothing. And I’ve, quite frankly, enjoyed that immensely.
I said to my wife, “Maybe you should take that parcel into them now, rather than them knocking for it at an inconvenient time.” You see, we’re unsociable. If we must have contact with other people then it is better to be on our terms. Knocking at their door is infinitely better than them knocking on ours.
Early today, In a moment of madness, I wondered who it was I was living next to. I thought reading the name off of the parcel in my hallway would be a excellent way to find out with zero human interaction. My plan was foiled when I realised it was all Greek. Literally. It was from Cyprus. When I saw the name had a triangle in it, I gave up.
My wife took in the parcel and the woman, of clearly Greek descent, was profusely grateful. Like, unbelievably grateful. As if we had done something amazing for her. That was of course once she had gathered the courage to open the door. My wife could see her hiding in the hallway for a few moments before she eventually decided to open the door. When my wife returned and relayed the story we both thanked our lucky stars that our neighbour appeared to be terrified of human interaction. Great. Another non-friend. We could continue as we were.
Or so we thought.
Two hours later, the doorbell rang. Our Greek triangular friend stood there with a foil-wrapped dish and told my wife that she had made feta quiche. She told her that the plate was hot and it was her own Greek recipe. My wife hesitantly took the dish and thanked her profusely, if thoroughly confused at the gesture. We had after all, only taken in a parcel and not fed her herd of buffalo for a month. My wife said she’d return the plate to which Triangle replied, “No, don’t worry, it’s just a piece of plastic.”
What do we do? This is unchartered territory for us. We don’t want a friend. This isn’t how it was supposed to happen. What happens if she takes in a parcel for us? Do I have to make shortbread? Does Emma have to make meatballs? And the dish IS a plastic disc. Do we return that? Is a thank you card required? How do we nip this in the bud and ensures it goes no further?