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WWYD?

Yesterday evening at around 6 I heard a meek little knock at the door followed by the ringing of the doorbell.  I went downstairs and I see the little girl (8 yo) from across the street.  Uh, LG is not coming out to play, so I open the door and prepare to tell her this.

“Hi, Ms. Nerd Girl. My dad wants to talk to you.”  Oh really….

So the dad comes across the street.  “Hey Mrs. Nerd Girl, how are you?”  “Good.  You?”  “Oh, I’m good.  Look, uh, the living situation at the house has changed.” “Okaaaay….” “Well, uh, my girlfriend, her daughter (8 yo), and our daughter (baby) don’t live there anymore.”  “I’m sorry to hear that.”  “Well, uh, yeah. So I was wondering if uh, D, could um, ride the bus with LG in the mornings.”  “Yes, that’s fine.”  “Well, see, uh, I have to leave for work at 6:30, so really I’m asking if she can come over at 6:30 and wait until the bus comes at 6:50?”

Hold up.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but when we moved in 9 years ago we were the only black people on the block.  Still are – except for the occasional renter.  Okay, whatever.  Well at the time this dude’s parents lived in the house across the street.  When the dad saw who was moving in apparently he – who had never spoken to any of the neighbors before – ran around talking about “the blacks are coming, the blacks are coming.”  Thank you Paul Revere…anyhoo, all our other neighbors are cool.  Reserved, but friendly.  Those folks never spoke.  Until they noticed I was pregnant and then the wife would wave or speak, but dude would not.

Fast forward 6.5 years.  The mother and father move out and give their son, his girlfriend, his daughter, and her daughter the house.  The kids spoke.  The girlfriend spoke.  Dude?  Did not.  They went on and had a daughter together.  And Sunday?  She took her two and broke camp.

Which brings us to yesterday afternoon when he sent his kid over to ring the doorbell so he could ask me if I’d watch his kid for 20 minutes every morning so she can get on the bus safely.

Of course, I said yes.  It’s not her fault it took her daddy 108 months to decide to speak.  And then only when he needed something.

What would you have done?

 

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38 thoughts on “WWYD?

  1. I would do it, because it’s for a child and it’s not her fault her daddy is stupid and obviously bigoted. I would get some satisfaction in the fact that it probably killed him softly to have to work up the nerve to ask that question. Maybe that’s why the GF left his ass because he’s dumb. She didn’t seem to have a problem speaking.

    • I did giggle a little on the inside while he was standing halfway across the street trying to ask me something. No sir, come on over and look me in my face while you ask for this favor. I don’t bite.

  2. I would also have agreed to help out. It’s not the little girls fault that her Dad is RUDE. BUT….. I would only do it for a few weeks until he can make other arrangements. And I would have your husband knock on his door and tell him so. I think neighbor dude needs to hear this from your husband so that he has a CLEAR understanding (man to man) that he is not going to take advantage of you because you’re a mom.
    Next time maybe he’ll think about being a more polite neighbor.

    • This too. I already told him next Friday I will not be available. And school’s out on Monday the 8th – he needs to get his other ducks, whoever they may be – in a row.

  3. I would have probably said yes. Pretty sure my husband would have shut it down, though. He would have said, “We can help you out until you figure out another plan. That plan should be what you would have done if we didn’t live here because every day is a lot.” Two weeks tops.

    Me, I’d be okay, though. But I’m with Babs. No inconveniencing me. And K.Rock hit it on the head: I am not responsible for feeding your baby.

    Also:

    6:30, not 6:20. If he is off, he needs to plan to do this himself. And. You are NOT aftercare. You are not his plan B for no-school days. And it might be prudent for him to begin thinking of a long term plan for such things to avoid you getting put on the spot like you did when they came to your door. If the child is sick, don’t drop her on the porch and speed off. And you got ONE time not to answer your cell phone when I call you about your child. Then you’re on your own. For reals.

    Question:

    What did LG think? Ha ha she might be like, HOLD UP, I don’t even know you LIKE THAT!

    • I told Smoochy about it – he’s fine with it as long as I am. LG is thrilled! My only child is always happy to see another child – she’ll probably try to adopt her at some point!

  4. I have a few thoughts on this based on my own experience.

    First – the whole concept of “speaking” is something I learned from hanging out with black people. No lie. In my world (the white background and town I grew up in) none of us ever took any kind of position against anyone in the neighborhood not speaking to us. It wasn’t until I spent a considerable amount of time around black people that I realized that “speaking” … or not… could be viewed as a bad thing if I didn’t do it I’m 100% serious here. I would *never* question why someone spoke to me or didn’t in any form (but, as you know of me, I totally get the other side NOW). Because I often didn’t speak to anyone because I didn’t know that it was disrespectful to not say hello when walking outside of my home and seeing anyone else. After spending a considerable amount of time with black people I now get the concept of speaking. Sounds silly to you, I’m sure, but it wasn’t innate. I didn’t know until I heard many people complain. And I swear to jesiis in that time that I wasn’t speaking I was never judging or hating or being a bigot. I was just shy and keeping to myself. I didn’t know any different. I never had to try to understand how anyone was viewing me because I didn’t grow up knowing that people were judging me. I was innocent, but had I been your neighbor you probably would have thought I was an asshole because I didn’t know any better.

    Now I’m all shacked up and I live in a predominantly Asian community. I’m sure if you had asked my neighbors what they thought of me Pre-CP they would have said I was just another white bitch. Why? Because I’m shy, I keep to myself and I only “speak” when I’m face to face with anyone – even the white people. Not because I’m an ass, but because I’m pretty private.

    All that to say I would probably say yes if my neighbor asked me to watch her kid from the time she/he left for work until the time the bus comes…even as a single person with no kids. Why? Because I think community is lost these days. And even if I thought that Eastern European family next to me was odd because they *never* speak to me when they see me outside, I don’t ever feel like it’s because of who *I* am, but I see it as because of who they are.

    And even as I comment I fully understand that what other people have experienced is way different from what I have, I can only hope to shed some light on what “we” – the ignorant, silly white people – don’t get. We don’t always see it the same way and that doesn’t equal hate or bigotry all the time. Sometimes it’s just not knowing or knowing differently.

    • We discussed on Twitter last night, so I’ll try to be brief here. When I say he doesn’t speak I mean we have thrown up a hand to wave and he’ll just look at us or turn his head. I find that incredibly rude. I don’t care where you’re from or what your experiences are, it’s usually a good idea to try and adopt the common courtesies of your present surroundings. Total assimilation? Maybe not, but it never hurts to acknowledge someone’s presence. We’re not talking about people from a different country – this dude is from Iowa and has lived in MS for at least 10 years.

      And I totally get what you’re saying about personality. I am pretty reserved and I realize that can come across as snooty, aloof, weird – whatever. And I don’t jump through hoops to be someone that I am not. But I do speak.

      I never really thought of speaking as a black/white thing – more a regional one. Hmmm….

      • Completely turning your head when someone waves is totally rude. No question there. That’s definitely a different level than just not speaking – that’s rude no matter where you come from.

        Enjoyed the discussion last night, as always.

      • I agree with you here, I don’t think the concept of “speaking” is a black/white thing but I do think it’s a Southern thing most definitely. I know plenty of white folks who “speak” as a matter of common courtesy. I experience that all the time.

      • Hmmm, I don’t think it’s black/white either. My previous neighborhood was mostly white and my house was the only one on the street with black people living in it. I prefer to come and go without too much holding be up, but my neighbors were a different story! We couldn’t come or go without someone at least saying, “Hi, Brannon!” or, “Hi, Will!” Full conversations were preferred. I remember one morning while trying to dig out of the snow and go to work, I was greeted by a big akita and his owners cross-county skiing down the middle of the street! So, of course they decide to stop at my car, remove their goggles, introduce themselves, and begin talking. My neighbors were such characters…oh, how I miss them. Really.

  5. I would definitely do it. I try to think of things like this, what would I want someone to do if I were in the same situation. I can’t see me asking a stranger to keep my child, but sometimes you can’t control situations. It’s not going to hurt you one bit to help him out and the little girl will be somewhere safe. It also wouldn’t matter to me if he didn’t feed her. I have enough, so if she were over here and Tyler was eating, she could eat too if she wants too. Seems like the world is turning into a place where we want to keep to ourselves and we can’t help anybody out ever… That makes me sad.

    • Honestly? That is why I’m doing it. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke chapter 6 through and through!

      As a “single married mom” I know the childcare struggle is real. I couldn’t not help him.

      Breakfast is still out though. I don’t want to start something I’m not willing to continue. If he couldn’t feed her that’d be one thing. Him not feeding her just because I can? No.

  6. As long as it wasn’t an inconvenience, I would have said yes. He probably is at a loss for what to do with the child for that time when he has to leave and the bus is coming. As a parent, I know how hard it is to find help in these types of situations. You done good. LOL

  7. I would do it as long as I was not inconvenienced. And I would make it a point to speak whenever I saw him…to help him realize as my mom used to say “Cow needs his tail more than once” That is truly ignorant not speakng and now he realizes the very people he shunned are now the very ones he needs…imagine that. And the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

  8. When I was in 2nd grade my mother, dropped my siblings off at school one morning, and saw a little girl sitting alone in the school yard alone, and brought her home. The girl was my classmate and our class started at 10. The girl had been walking to school with her older brother and his class began at 9 am, she ate breakfast and sat outside for the next hour.

    After that day, the girl walked home with my mother everyday. She would come in my room and watch cartoons, while I slept. I loved it. We became best friends. I don’t know if our mothers ever met, because her mother worked. Once we were both 9’o’clockers she would still come to my house every morning. That was fun for me!

    So I’d do it too.

  9. The same thing you did. It’s important to get along with the neighbors, even if you don’t like them. I’d also expect him to act funny again when he gets a new girlfriend and no longer needs my help.

  10. I’m from Chicago. I don’t think we ever feel obligated to sepak to each other, so him coming over to speak when he wanted something doesn’t seem all that bad to me. We DO speak, but it’s just not a requirement.

    • Maybe I’m from the Midwestern side rather than the white side, then. It was just never brought up to me the obligation to speak, until I was down south and surrounded by black people. I equated the two, but maybe it’s regional? I don’t know. I just know that I never had to feel bad about not speaking to anyone until recently. Before that it was not innate.

  11. You did the right thing and I would probably have obliged too. I think the society we live in has made us un socialble individuals by CHOICE for some people. I can count on one hand hoe often I see my next door neigbour, however when we bump into each other we can chat for hours on end.
    Each to their own, point is we can’t always punish others for one person’s lack of spatial awarness.

    Btw…commenting on this post reminds me, there are several compilations of a programme called wwyd. Lots of scenarios which forces us to think about how we react in different situations. Check it out very addictive viewing

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