Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our Mooching Neighbors

In my inner city neighborhood, people grow up and marry and buy a home on the same block they were born in. Their children do the same. Sometimes the children never move out.  When I moved here, one home, two doors down from me housed three generations of adult family members. For simplicity, I'll call the one closest to my age Mom, her mother, Grandma, and her children, the son and daughter. Mom was the first to come calling.  Would I drive her to the welfare office? At that point we still had a car, so I did. Next thing I knew, she was over here, asking me to look up funeral notices on my computer. File her tax stimulous forms on my computer. She never offered to pay for any of this, even though she knows this is what I do for income.  Then she started borrowing money.  $20. The first time she paid it back. The next time she wanted $80. I don't keep that kind of money in the house. I loaned her another $20. She never paid it back. Now she barely talks to me. Hurray!
Next, her son came by to borrow from my husband. He borrowed $30.  I told my husband about his Mom.  My husband is even more trusting than I am.  The son paid my husband back. But a month later -- there he was again. He wanted $30 again.  I told him, "this family is not a bank." But my husband loaned him the $30 again.  I don't expect to see it returned.
I will say that I see far less of mooching mom since she stole the $20.  And I learned by talking to other neighbors that she's done the same with all of them, some for much larger sums. I suppose we'll soon see much less of her son. This is truly an odd way to get rid of moochers. Loan them money that they won't pay back and then they leave us alone while they are off to bother others. 
The really odd thing is that they never give a reason why they want these sums of money.  My best guess is that they need it to pay the pizza delivery service that I often see at their door. And since  our inner city row houses are only 16 feet wide, I overhear their conversations. They refer to my husband and me as "worthless yuppies" (didn't that used to stand for YOUNG upwardly mobile professionals?) And they blame our flower boxes for summer mosquitos. It's really too bad that our mooching neighbors don't share my sense of humor. This is the stuff of comic soap operas.

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