My old retired neighbor’s house used to be so quiet. It was he and his wife, and another woman. All of them are up in age. I see them from time to time and wave. Sometimes we exchange mail accidentally delivered to the wrong mailbox. On occasion, I’ll catch Ralph Macchio (my neighbor’s secret nickname because of the headband and long songs he wears) sitting in the bushes watching us in the pool. For the most part, they’ve been really good quiet neighbors that is until their adult granddaughter, Kay, moved in a little before Christmas. Kay has to be between the ages of 24–27 years old.
I don’t know what Kay did for a living before moving in with her grandparents, but I know she’s a lot of trouble. Kay and her female partner of a few years have awakened us at 4 a.m. having lover’s quarrels several times over the years, slamming doors, screaming in their grandparents’ driveway, disturbing the peace in our relatively quiet, old Florida upper-middle-income community full of retirees. The loudest things in our neighborhood are Fed Ex and UPS delivery trucks. One night, they were arguing over a threesome that had gone bad. Apparently, Kay’s girlfriend was getting it in too much with the third, a male, and Kay found it problematic.
I ain’t got time for that kind of bullshit. I’m 50-years-old.
I was sleeping while they were freaking minding my own business. Kay woke the entire street up with her relationship drama.
Every time she comes to visit, I’m always glad when she leaves even though she’s not visiting me. Ralph Macchio’s granddaughter is loud. She sits outside in the backyard and talks on her phone loudly for hours. Her dogs squeeze through the crack to come into my yard. She keeps her bedroom window open all night. Everything she watches on her television in her bedroom, I can see and hear. Her room is in the back of the house adjacent to mines.
Recently, something in Kay’s life has gone terribly wrong and she’s back. She’s been living in the home with her grandparents for nearly three months and I am so ready for her to leave. I don’t know if her sudden relocation is because of work and Covid or a failed relationship. Whatever it is, I wish it would hurry up and be over already. Kay is rude like many young adults who live any old kind of way and then move back into their parents' home. Kay is also White, and the things White young adults do in their parents’ homes are so drastically different than what Black and Brown young adults do in their homes.
For one, Kay curses. All the time. Loudly. Her grandparents gotta be in their 70s. I’m fifty-years-old and I’ve never cursed in front of my parents. My parents simply wouldn’t have it. I also respect my elders. I was taught to.
Kay is extremely inconsiderate to the rest of her grandparents’ neighbors. Most of the people have grandchildren, no kids in the home. Most of our “mature” are transplants from up North, they move here to get away from the hustle and bustle of youth. We can check-in and out of youth whenever we desire. I know her grandparents love her. After living alone for a long time, it’s hard to share a space with others, especially today’s young folks who believe they don’t have to follow rules or respect others in their space. In the age of Covid, Kay’s behavior is representative of many White Americans.
They don’t care about anyone other than themselves.
I know Kay’s grandparents are happy she’s at home with them. They love her. She’s an only grandchild. But as the neighbor desiring peace and space in the one safe space we have these days, I am not. For me, Kay has already overstayed her welcome. She sees me tending to my little urban garden from time to time and we’ll briefly chat. Briefly.
She’s so rude I already know I don’t care for her much. No need to pretend.
Garden time is my time to get away from the people inside of my own home. The one sacred place I had to go to be alone is now occupied by Kay and her dogs. When I needed to conduct work via Zoom or calls that I couldn’t conduct inside of my home because kids are homeschooling, sometimes Kay is outside laughing at her phone or having loud phone conversations with levels so loud I can hear every word she says. My old trusty go-to, “make a way out of no way,” workspace is gone.
I used to love sitting outside quietly watching the butterflies pollinate my trees and flowers, watching squirrels chasing each other back and forth across the fence, or just view the flowers growing I tend to daily. Now I can hear Kay’s obnoxious laugh, her talking to her two dogs as if they are her babies, or just talking loudly to her grandparents who are inside of the house.
Kay is really getting on my fuckin nerves. I raised my kids. I called myself escaping them to have some peace since I was a young mom/wife. I feel like Kay came back home to my house and I’m the parents forced to live with her.
We’re all trying to live and survive the pandemic. For those of us with backyards trying to be safe by avoiding contact with lots of people, our backyards are our havens of rest. Inconsiderate young people returning home to live with their parents and grandparents for whatever reason during these problematic times make being in our own homes hell.
We literally have nowhere else to go. It doesn’t seem like Kay is getting her life together. Kay’s life now involves my life now and it’s painful. I wished her grandparents would think of us neighbors and make Kay act like a community member instead of a juvenile spoiled young adult who doesn’t respect her grandparents’ home or their neighbors.
When children are not taught to care about anything or anyone but themselves, this is what kind of person they grow up to become. The world gets yet another self-centered rude young person like Kay.
Oh, my God. Calgon, please take me away sometimes.
I’m sitting in my room working on my contract work and listening to the news earlier today and all of a sudden out of the blue, I hear a loud, obnoxious laugh. Sigh!
Kay’s outside at lunchtime mixing up and making a fuss. I was so annoyed. I turn up the television to try and drown her out to no avail. I end up turning off the television and putting on some music and putting on my noise-canceling earbuds annoyed that this is my life now. Kay moved back to her grandparents’ home, but her big ass mouth seems to always be in my home too. I hate this time we’re living in. Families are having to pile in to survive these uncertain times. I understand that. I support that.
That’s what families are supposed to do.
We’re supposed to support our loved ones when they are going through tough times, but today’s young people are so rude. Parents don’t teach their kids to share spaces or respect the spaces of others. Parents in America have failed to raise children they’ll want others to love as much as they do. Young people today have very little self-awareness, making them unbearable oftentimes. If Kay behaves with a partner the way she acts at her grandparents’ home, it’s not difficult to see why she’s alone. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone with so many annoying traits. I realize I’m getting older which may be the reason for my dissatisfaction with Kay, but she’s also annoying as hell.
I don’t want to have to ride out the rest of Rona with Kay. The world seems so much smaller with Kay in the neighborhood. Being a young adult should mean something to young people. For parents allowing their children to come back into their homes, they too have an obligation to be better neighbors.
Just because you love your children and grandchildren doesn’t mean your neighbors will.
We’re all coping as best we can during this pandemic. We have enough to deal with already. Zoom meetings, children being homeschooled, baptizing groceries in bleach, being alienated from family, etc. No one wants to deal with the neighbors’ kids and grandkids having spats in the driveway at 4 a.m., or awakened by loud country music after midnight (yes, this happened), or being interrupted while you’re outside in your quiet space trying to enjoy your alone time.
Some of us look forward to having empty nests, quiet time, adult time, and a life free from children. When kids come home it can be quite the transition for everyone, including your neighbors.
I find myself mourning the loss of my little personal space, peace, quiet, and opportunity. I’ve already lost a full year of my life I can never get back. I’ve had to cancel overseas trips, stop fishing, alter how I move in the world because of anti-Blackness and White Supremacy, and eliminate going to the beach because people don’t respect social distancing rules here in Florida. To have my backyard invaded by an unruly young adult almost ices the cake.
I’m devastated, to say the least.
Young adult children coming back home to live in times of crisis can be a comfort and a blessing for their families, but for the neighbors of those families, it can feel more like a curse.
Last night I was sitting in a little crack/nook in my back yard tucked closely to the house trying to have a nightcap and a few puffs on a cigar like I do when I want to enjoy the night sky or watch the lights beaming from giant guitar-shaped Seminole HardRock Hotel and Casino. Kay had her window and blinds wide open where I could see and hear her watching America Idol. I’ve never watched the show, but last night I did because my space has been invaded by Miss Inconsiderate Kay.
Freedom isn’t free. None of us can do whatever we want to do, not without consequences, and definitely not without one's freedom impacting the freedom and space with someone or something else. In the event your children need to come home, please don’t forget about the neighbors who are still footloose, fancy-free, and trying to live their best lives.
Helpful Tips For Transitioning Parents
Here are some tips to help keep the peace with your neighbors and make the transition a peaceful one for parents:
- Your neighbors pay rent, mortgages, taxes, and maintain their property for their usage. Make sure when your children move back in, they understand this. This keeps the peace with neighbors and demonstrates you care about their privacy and emotional well-being.
- Lay down ground rules about personal space. Young adults accustomed to doing whatever they felt like in their own places may need a few rules to ensure they aren’t infringing upon the rights of their new/old neighbors. There is no place in this world without rules. Your home should have some too.
- Remind your young adult children we’re all still living through a global pandemic. Older people at high risk are at home for a reason. Ask your young adults to be mindful of this as they invade your spaces.
- Remind your adult(s) about common etiquette, especially cellphone etiquette. Honoring personal space boundaries, and quiet times can go a long way to relationships with neighbors down the road. Failing to do so could result in potential legal battles with neighbors.
Helpful Tips For Young Adults Transitioning Back Home
- Times are hard and everyone is suffering. Consider the needs of others in your new/old community first. You’re the guest. Some folks are happy their children are grown and gone. If you’re disruptive in your new space, you could be seen as a distraction.
- Transition peacefully. When you have your own space you pay for, you can do as you please. Even then you’re not free to do as you please. When you move back home or in with other older adults, it’s respectful to ensure you’re mindful of family and neighbors.
- Your business is yours and yours alone, including your personal phone calls. No one needs to see or hear your cellphone conversations. Be considerate when you’re in public spaces. We’re all looking for free space and stuck in our homes. Your loud conversations and excess cackling are unnecessary.
- Respect gets you everywhere. Older adults don’t have time for your nonsense and they may not have any patience for your shenanigans. Unless you have a special relationship with neighbors, avoid being disrespectful to them. Your relatives must live in that community long after you’re gone, especially if their home is paid for and they are living in their forever home. Show some respect.
- Honor quiet times. Realize young people have different social behavior patterns than older people. We all were young once. Now they’re older and don’t want to hear you up late at night on your phone, arguing with significant others, playing your music loud, or having lots of loud friends over when your family’s neighbors are older and empty nesters. The mature older folks in communities have new sleep patterns and are enjoying a noise-free life. Don’t ruin that for your neighbors because your parents or grandparents are unable to have it. They paid their dues. They love this season of their lives. Allow them to live their best lives.
In closing, when/if your young adult child(ren) must return to the nest, remember neighbors are trying to live their lives too. They most likely don’t want to have anything to do with your family transition. Don’t forget to be kind to them.
Marley K. 2021