Here’s the story.
have, make that had a cherry tree at the end edge of my yard. I liked this cherry tree. It blocked the end of our yard from one of the neighbors staring right into it. It had cute little cherries. It was pretty. With a bench under it.
But…this tree seemed to cause one of my neighbors angst. Well many things cause this neighbor angst. Another neighbors dog pooped in her yard and she bagged it and put it on their porch. I had our bathroom light on all night for about a week until she came over to tell me it was shining across the street into her front room window. I smiled and politely pointed to my week old baby in my arms and explained that I had the bathroom light on at night so it would shine into my bedroom, so I could see my baby while I tried to figure out how to nurse her…You get the picture. That kind of neighbor. Anyway back to the current issue, my cherry tree, this poor unassuming tree blocked part of her view of the sound. A small part. She wanted a ‘grand view’. How do I know that? Well, because she emailed me! I’ll get to that in a minute.
This was not the first correspondence we have had about said tree. Every year she would complain to be about its excessive height and every year I would trim it. A couple of months ago she sauntered over to my house sighing about how she would love to see the sound better from her already small peek a boo view and could I please trim my tree. I always comply. I am that person. I do what people ask because I want then to be happy.
I’ll tell you something I’ve learned. Doing this doesn’t cause some people to be happy. It causes them to feel entitled. My neighbor not so subtly asked me to trim the tree every year. Which I have done. Every year. So back to the email I received yesterday.
“I am asking once again for you to please trim down the cherry tree. I know you value your view because you keep the trees cut down that block it. I know that it is your tree and your property so you can do anything you want to with it. I would like to respectfully ask that you cut the cherry tree down to a much lower height as to respect my, your neighbor’s, view. As you know from your neighboring cherry trees, they are like weeds and they just keep growing if you let them.
If you want me to stop asking, please just tell me you don’t want to hear it anymore and I will stop and accept what is. But I would appreciate your consideration as it does make a difference in us being able to see the sound in a grand manner.”
Maybe it’s just me but this email made me upset. Her condescending tone just really got me riled up. So what did I do? I went down to the edge of my yard and I cut my cherry tree down. All the way. I know, crazy. Why…because I do what people ask, to a fault…But then, I had what I call ‘do-gooder’s remorse’. I felt bad. Bad for my tree. Bad for me and bad that now all eyes could see into my yard. Well, only one house because it is a dead end street but I valued my privacy. I wished I hadn’t cut it down. It was rash. I guess I didn’t have to. I could have trimmed it again and every year a few times and had to listen to her come over and ‘remind me’ about my overgrown tree. FOREVER. At the moment having to talk to her about the tree EVER again was more than I could bear. I was sacrificing the tree for my sanity. Or so I thought.
But…this morning I woke up mad. Really pissed off. She had bullied me about this tree and every year I did the same thing. No thank you, no nothing. She’d whine and I’d trim. So this morning I composed an email response to hers. This is the toned down version.
“I have cut down the cherry tree completely so there will be no more issue. I had trimmed it once already this spring, but yes, you are correct they do grow like weeds. As you know I have two young daughters at home, a husband that works 60+ hours a week and I did not have time to be thinking about the height of that tree.
I did not appreciate the condescending tone of your email. It made me very frustrated actually. Yes, we are neighbors and as a good neighbor a friendly chat in person about the tree would have been more appropriate. Maybe you could have offered to just sit with my girls while I trimmed it or offered your son to come do the job. I understand you wanted your grand view…but I’m afraid you weren’t very ‘neighborly ‘ about it. “
And I hit send. Yes, I know it sounds snarky, yes I know…everything you may be thinking is probably true, and I had what I call “bitch remorse’ right after. But here’s the thing. I can’t stand when people are rude masked in the words respectfully when they really do not mean it. It’s like adding ‘in my opinion’ after a dig. Not cool. I know I didn’t take the higher road, or just let it go, or any wonderful saying that would entail me not be childish about my feelings. I get it. I need maturity classes.
I blame it on being tired. I blame it on feeling reprimanded about something so petty. I blame it on her not speaking to me in person. I blame it on me just being me and her just being her. I guess I have some apologizing to do….but secretly I am kind of glad I told her how I feel for once! 😉
Now I just need to decide what to plant or put in it’s place…Any suggestions? 🙂