An (un)neighborly gesture

I left my apartment for about two hours this morning to have brunch with a friend.  When I returned, I found a tray of bright yellow marigolds on my doorstep.  Attached was a note written in hastily scribbled cursive that read, “Do me a favor.  PLEASE plant these.  I’m getting tired of looking at these two empty boxes!”  There was no signature.

This is not a marigold. It is a buttercup.

The two empty boxes to which this anonymous notester referred are the two flower boxes that sit on the side of the steps leading to my apartment door.  Under normal circumstances, they are filled with a colorful array of flora, usually impatiens. However, this spring they have remained empty and barren, devoid of anything except the leftover dirt from last season and an array of sprouting weeds.

Why haven’t I planted yet, you ask?  The answer is simple: Mother Nature has been a bit manic depressive this season.

My neck of the woods has been plagued with the most erratic weather I have seen in years.  One day it will be sunny and warm, the next it will be cold and dreary, and it will rain with abandon without warning.  I still haven’t packed away my winter clothes because I find myself still needing a sweater every other day.

I don’t know about you, gentle readers, but I don’t particularly enjoy playing in the dirt after a long rain.  At that point it isn’t playing in the dirt so much as it is playing in the mud.  Being the girly girl I am, I try to avoid covering myself in muck and mud.  So, I have been waiting for a rare nice day to fill those flower boxes with something a little more refined and sophisticated than weeds.  The problem is that the only nice days I have seen this spring are those days when I have had day-long commitments that have not allowed me the hour or so I need to plant.

I can only assume that this desperate gesture to brighten up my doorstep was made by one of my neighbors.  I have a pretty good idea who it is, but as there was no name affixed to the note, I can’t be certain.  To be fair, I can understand the frustration of having to look at a neighbor’s unsightly yard.  Believe me, there are a couple rather tackily decorated doorsteps and yards in my complex. But never once have I approached those neighbors, even anonymously, to tell them that their decorations border on white trash.

My flower boxes, while barren, are not so much of an eyesore as they could be.  It’s not as if the weeds are crawling over the side and invading my neighbor’s yard; they are quite well contained, and actually look a bit like grass.  In any case, surely the nameless neighbor must be aware of the schizophrenic weather patterns as of late and the rarity with which I occupy this apartment during the day, and therefore my subsequent inability to follow through with my desired planting. Nonetheless, I probably should have done something about the state of the flower boxes before now. For that I do take responsibility.

Of course, I plan to plant the yellow darlings that sit beside the forlorn looking containers, but not until Sunday, assuming that the weather holds.  You see, today and tomorrow present the same problems I have faced all season: the air is moist with a constant drizzle and looming thunderstorms in the distance.  Not idea planting weather.  Tomorrow, while nicer weather-wise, I must spend all day at recitals and rehearsals, meaning I must be dressed up and away from home until the late hours of the night.  So, if this neighbor wants these flowers planted so badly, he’ll just have to hold his horses until I get an unhurried, rain-free minute.

Amidst all this, I can’t help but feel ever so slightly insulted.  I am grateful for the gesture of free flowers, but slightly embarrassed that someone thinks I have let my doorstep’s appearance deteriorate to such a deplorable state, and even more so I am offended at the notion that I should plant them solely to appease anyone except myself.  Maybe I’m being a bit too sensitive about it all, but I feel that a note that read something like, “I thought these would look beautiful in your flower boxes” might have been more appropriate, and less aggressive than the note that was actually left. It would still get the message across, but in such a manner so as to not offend the intended recipient. These neighbors obviously have never before had to manipulate someone with the utmost subtlety. Of course, fearing confrontation as I do, I would never approach the suspected neighbor to tell him this.

Am I right in thinking this was slightly rude?  How would you react if this happened to you?  Would you submit to your neighbor’s will and plant the flowers, or would you chuck them into the trash? Would you try to find out who left them?  Even more importantly, would you ever do this to one of your own neighbors?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. In10Words aka "Galileo"
    May 29, 2009 @ 14:44:11

    Take a pic of the note and send it to passive-aggressive notes!


  2. Adrienne
    May 29, 2009 @ 15:12:33

    I’ve been in residence life so long, I’m just thrilled when my neighbors leave me something other than a flaming bag of poo. (Oh that that had only happened once in my life . . .) Or they don’t steal my white board pen.

    Or, come to think of it, they don’t end up passed out in the bright yellow flowers outside of my window.

    I say plant and be merry! Notes seldom read the way the person intended. They might have had all the jovial and warmth in their heart in mind when they wrote it, but it just didn’t translate well. (Again, residence life, misunderstanding due to non face-to-face communication taking up much of my time.)

    They’ll be pretty. It’s just that someone socially inept sent you flowers. Might as well enjoy them!


  3. raggray
    May 29, 2009 @ 17:39:17

    No, I would never, ever send such a note. If that were the case, I could spin off several along the lines of, “I am tired of looking at your abandoned car. Move it!” or “Your unmown yard is harboring mosquitoes and ticks.” But then I look at my own unkempt yard for which I have a perfectly logical explanation (to me) and realize that I had better keep quiet. Sadly your neighbor allowed his rudeness to overpower his tolerance. Then again, maybe Adrienne is right in that the note is just an inept attempt at expressing his concern. Who knows?
    Plant and enjoy! I bet whoever sent them will comment to you about how nice they look.


  4. nutmegnanny
    May 29, 2009 @ 22:14:53

    I would be offended and then probably do something even more annoying to just piss them off. I don’t like when people try to make me feel bad because of something I cannot control…hello the weather sucks! I would probably draw a flower and put it on a stick and shove it in my planter. Lets see how much they like looking at my flower box now. Damn I’m a bit bitchy sometimes….haha.


  5. curlywurlygurly
    May 30, 2009 @ 09:43:40

    that is classic! that will fix your wagon for having the audacity to bend to the whims of mother nature (and the weather has been hellacious, i agree!!!).

    get out there and plant those flowers…and then run to the store and pick up a bunch of pink flamingo lawn stakes and stick them all over the yard to “brighten the place up a bit”. ahahahhaah


  6. Joy
    May 30, 2009 @ 11:59:49

    I love the idea of putting a picture of a flower on a stick and putting it in there!! LMAO!! I would be really offended and it would really hurt my feelings. If it were me, I’d know already what I wanted in there. In my mind I would have already planned this. My flowers aren’t planted yet either because one day last week we had frost not far from here so I’m very late but it’s not because of laziness, I don’t want the poor things to freeze. IF you like the flowers, I’d go ahead and plant them. If you wanted something else in there I’d give them to someone else and plant what you’d planned. To me, they are mine and I’d want what I wanted in there and if you had the boxes and planned to plant, what were you going to put in there? I’d never kill the flowers though. They are alive and it’s not their fault your neighbor was a douche bag!

    Pics of what you decide please 🙂


  7. mssc54
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 19:58:07

    Someone with more time on their hands than you have meant this as an insult. However, you don’t have to take it as an insult.

    If it were me I would have planted them root side up! Or just buy some plastic flowers and stick them in the dirt!

    But that’s just me. I figure they aren’t going to be my friend anyway.


  8. Matt
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 13:51:43

    I’m not sure if it was entirely meant as an insult, “Do me a favor. PLEASE plant these. I’m getting tired of looking at these two empty boxes!” that can be read as a somewhat jovial request, and could very well have been intended in a lighthearted vein. But, and here’s the but, what I do find insulting is they did it as ‘anonymous’. That to me just seems cowardly and gutless. If it were me, I’d maybe slip a note back, “Do me a favor. PLEASE write your name. I’m getting tired of looking at your empty signature!” Now, looking at the spoof version, it does sort of read more humor than malice, and buying the flowers was somewhat of a kind gesture I suppose, although I think I’d buy some flowers of my own choosing also.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: