Fence Talking

When the weather is nice here in Seattle, I kind of feel obligated to take advantage of it. I spend a lot more time in my back yard here than I ever did in Florida. What people don’t tell you about the Sunshine State is that the sunshine also comes with 100 percent humidity that presses down on you even at 3 am, as well as 3 inch long cockroaches, fire ants, snakes, and mosquitoes. Here in Seattle the climate, when it’s feeling cooperative, is like paradise.

Times like these, it’s excellent to have nice neighbors. It’s good to be able to fence talk with someone, but it’s a fine art. You have to remember that one’s home is one’s castle, and people do want a certain level of privacy. You don’t want to get all up in each other’s business, but it can be comforting to be able to exchange pleasantries, and feel as though there’s someone you can go to for jumper cables if your car battery dies.

It takes a bit of effort not to cross the line when fence talking. You want to know each other’s names, of course, and the names of each other’s pets. Pets, in fact, are a nice safe topic. You can talk about your dog’s antics and stay comfortably within the fence talk realm. The weather is a good subject, too. And perhaps what you plan to plant in your back yard. Cordial, but not intrusive, is what you’re aiming for. And when both parties know those rules, it can be a wonderful place to be indeed.

I can tell that there won’t be much fence talking with my neighbor on the other side. He always looks like he’s sucking on crab apples, and the few times I’ve attempted to say hello, he has responded with a grunt. This leaves me wondering if I’ve done something to irritate him, and it makes me quite uncomfortable. When I sit outside I tend to turn my back on his yard. I suppose stand-offish indifference beats outright hostility, but it does seem a bit of a shame, because some day it might be his turn to come asking for jumper cables. You just never know.

Neighbors greeting each other over fence

[Image credit: galleryhip.com]


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