Friday, June 22, 2012

I Would Rather Form My Own Opinion, Thank you

It wasn’t long after we moved into this neighbourhood that we heard about ‘the neighbour’. And it wouldn’t be the last either. Any time since then that we’ve gotten together with anyone on our street, someone - sooner or later - will bring up the topic of ‘the neighbour’. Apparently, no one really likes 'the neighbour'. But no one will tell me exactly why this is. They’ll state that ‘she’s done some things’ but what those things are nobody says. Or they’ll mumble that ‘she’s a strange woman’ but no one will explain how. And difficult, too. But in what way? No one expands on this.



Not too long ago, we were invited to a small gathering where I once again heard about ‘the neighbour’. Someone brought up the subject of her and I simply shrugged with indifference. The storyteller’s eyes got big and round at this apathetic response about ‘the neighbour’, and he said to me, almost in astonishment “You don’t know about ‘the neighbour’?”

“I’ve heard about ‘the neighbour’", I said.

He waited.

And I waited.

I waited for him – or anyone else there - to finally give me something concrete about ‘the neighbour’. Something that had warranted her being labeled as that kind of neighbour; you know the type: difficult, troublesome, standoffish. Something that would explain why no one seems particularly fond of her. Something that would justify her being brought up, sooner or later, time and time again, in some discussion in every single gathering. Something. Give me something. Anything. Explain to me why so many people have jumped on ‘the neighbour’ bandwagon, always eager to bring her up and take a shot but unable - or unwilling - to offer me a good reason why this is.

Nothing.

So I shrugged. Again. And said, again: “I don’t know her personally, and she’s never done anything to me, so I have no reason to dislike her.”

He just stared at me. What can you answer to that, after all? That I should jump on this bandwagon simply because everyone else is doing it? This screams of mob mentality to me. Have they all had a negative encounter with her personally, or are they parroting what everyone else is saying? Which isn’t very much to begin with.

Is disliking ‘the neighbour’ an honest opinion from a direct, personal experience or is it simply the socially popular thing to do? Maybe she is a pill. Maybe she isn’t. Maybe she’s trouble. Maybe she isn’t. Maybe she’s unfriendly. Maybe she isn’t. I wouldn’t know. Because I’ve never had any personal contact with her, never mind a profound experience, and no one offers anything concrete. And even if they did, I would still hesitate to jump on this bandwagon. Any bandwagon. Because I would rather form my own opinion, thank you.

15 comments:

  1. Maybe she has a mind of her own too, Martha. Maybe she didn't just jump on the same bandwagon as everyone else. Good for you for standing your ground. I shall strive to do likewise when conronted with a similar situation. Do blog about it if you ever hear what made her "the neighbour"!

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    1. I will write about it if I hear more. I don't know this women personally, so it seems completely unfair to make a judgment based on gossip. I refuse to do that.

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  2. This is what I like about you, Martha! You think for yourself, observe and reserve judgements until you have concrete information and then you form your opinion. If more people were like this, we would have a better world. Thank you for your post today. Your blog always helps make a great start to my day.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Cathy. But is there really any other way? I don't know this woman and I really hate gossip. I'd rather determine for myself, based on personal experience, how I feel. Or don't feel.

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  3. I love how you think Martha! Rumour and innuendo is no basis for forming an opinion of someone you've personally never had an issue with. We all tend to judge way too quickly and harshly. I think I might be 'the neighbour' - I'm that (seemingly) unfriendly woman in bizarre gardening 'get-ups' who skulks around the edges of her house when she's sure no one else is around and pretends to be intently examining the soil if someone happens to walk by, lol!! I'm probably seen as anti-social or odd.

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    1. Ha ha ha... Jane, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your comments. We are so similar that it's uncanny. I often wonder if you really exist, and question whethere I created an alter ego in the name of Jane...ha ha... And I laughed so hard at what you wrote. Why? Because you are describing me personally to a tee! I am exactly like that and I do all the things you state, and for all I know, my neighbours have labeled me 'the neighbour' as well. Not that I really care one way or another. I keep to myself and don't bother anyone. So if they look at me oddly, let them. And if they think I'm odd or anti-social, so what? I'm happy and comfortable with myself. At the very least, I add a little gossipy spice to their lives. LOL...

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    2. Lol, Martha, that's too funny. I feel the same way - I truly don't care what people think anymore - it must be a late 40's thing - we are finally free to be ourselves. Take us or leave us!

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  4. She actually sounds just like the Perfect Neighbour to me Martha, because she has never bothered you! Maybe she just likes to keep to herself and I see nothing wrong with that. Isn't it ridiculous the way these stupid stories are passed on without anyone questioning their veracity (except for you:))

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    1. It could be pretty much anything. I have no idea what this woman is like. I've never said a word to her, and she's never bugged me. I refuse to join in on gossip; I can't stand that. If I ever meet her or speak to hear, perhaps, over time, I can form a personal opinion.

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  5. You are right not to follow the herd. Base your judgments on the evidence of your own eyes and ears. And right now, as you've noted, there is no evidence.

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    1. I truly believe that most of them have never had a personal experience with her. But the gossip is there, so everyone joins in.

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  6. I know exactly what you mean... I think you are mature and sound to make sure you don't drink the cool-aid. They are probably now talking about you " You know, the new neighbor who would not dislike "the neighbor"." hehehehehe

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    1. Ha ha...yes, I have no doubt that I'm on some gossip list. Together with my hubby. We're too private and introverted not to be. Bah...who cares... :)

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  7. I think I am "the neighbor". And to be honest I kind of like it that way.

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    1. Ha ha ha...yes, they leave you alone when you're 'the neighbour'. What more can you ask for?

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