• Michael Sauls

Crazy Neighbors


Image from the movie Neighbors 2014 with Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zack Efron

As I write this I just had the cops knock on my door because my neighbor complained that I parked my car on the street ten feet away from their mailbox. I was nice and moved my car over a little even though A. It wasn't blocking their mailbox, B. It isn't against the law to block a mailbox with a parked car anyway. C. The mail already ran today and D. I leave early in the morning so it isn't an issue. Of course less than five minutes after I moved my car someone else parked right in front of their mailbox so Karma. Am I right?

Crazy neighbors have always been a source of inspiration for me. They frustrate me, annoy me and they inspire some interesting conflict. Of course, I've never had a fraternity move in next door like in the movie Neighbors, but I have had some pretty weird neighbors. I'm writing this because I want to point out how important it is to draw inspiration from the most unlikely places, and because telling funny stories about my neighbors is entertaining.

Let me tell you about the crazy cat poop lady. I had this neighbor that started freaking out about a cat pooping in her yard. Now mind you at the time, I did not own a cat. There was this stray cat that came around and my kids started feeding it, but I do not claim it.

Now this woman wanted me to put a litter box outside for it. I explained to her that it wasn't my cat and that it was a stray that lives outside. I doubted that it would use a litter box even if I did provide one. All I had at the time was a little dog, and the only place he went was inside of our fenced in back yard so I do not understand what this crazy woman's damage was.

She starts throwing a fit over this huge pile of dog poop in her yard, blaming it on the cat. She gets her garden hose out and sprays it towards my yard. So I just told her that I thought she was nuts and went inside. Things started escalating after that. She wiped poop on my front door. She wiped poop on my car. She would scoop any poop up from strays that she could find and throw it in my driveway.

So one day I took my son to horseback riding lessons and I get this idea. I ask the people at the stable if I can have some manure from the horses. They brought me out a five-gallon bucket full. I came home with this bucket and I got it out of the car. My wife comes out and sees it. She asked me what I was going to do with it. I said this is the biggest pile of cat poop the world has ever seen.

She wouldn't let me put it in the neighbor's yard. My wife is so good at ruining a good joke. We did get lots of vegetables out of the garden, but I wanted to see the look on the crazy cat poop lady's face when she saw that giant mound of manure on her lawn. *Sigh*

When I write I try to draw on these unique events. Each of us has thousands, maybe even millions of interactions with others throughout our lifetimes. If something will evoke emotion within you then writing about a similar scene will likely evoke the same emotion with your readers. So instead of letting the craziness bring you down, make lemonade out of those lemons. Use it in your writing.






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