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You Know The Neighbors I’m Talking About, Volume Three: The Holier Than Thou

ho·li·er-thanthou (h l – r- n- ou ). adj. Exhibiting an attitude of superior virtue; self-righteously pious. Thank you

I was actually afraid to bring up this neighbor-type. Although the Holier Than Thou neighbor has nothing to do with religion, I was afraid of being blasphemous. How dare I speak against the ways of those who think they are perfect? Once I realized I was only displaying the typical behavior of a non-perfect person, I knew it was okay to proceed with my writing.

We all know the self-righteous neighbors are out there in the neighborhood. Quiet as they may be, the goodness they radiate can be felt through a heat shield. Perhaps they snip their shrubbery with some extra-knowing vigor. Or perhaps they paint their garage with the most divine color of paint from the most virtuous of paint manufacturers. They might even be able to talk to animals. Or, at least this is what they would have you believe.

The Holier Than Thou neighbor can be an inherently good person. Sometimes that doesn’t seem to be the case. However, this self-appointed neighborhood role model prides themself on being a living example of all that you, and the rest of the mortals you share a mail route with, are not.

The Holier Than Thou neighbor lives a life as perfect as their landscaping. Their cars are spotless. They will use a leaf blower to remove debris from their driveway that is invisible to the human eye. They spend their Saturdays vacuuming their front sidewalks, dusting their mailboxes and installing nets over their gutters. There seems to be no end to the many things they will accomplish before your bleary, weary eyes. And to think YOU believe you’ve accomplished a great deal by collecting the mail from your mailbox every few days. In that time span they’ve added a new room on to the back of their house, bought and sold several ride-on lawn mowers and have created a sanctuary for the rare Yum Yum Tree in their backyard – which was also featured on the local news.

The Holier Than Thou neighbor also happens to know everything that goes on well-ahead of everyone else. “The tornado should be tearing up the next block over by mid-afternoon.” They know of every event going on at anyone else’s home in the county, “Today is Uncle Bob and Aunt Sally from Clowterville’s 65th wedding anniversary! I hope everyone remembered to call them with congratulations.”

You are uncomfortable by all this fact-knowing. You are instead worried because your kids left the upstairs windows open and your cats might walk out onto your roof because there are no screens in them since they popped out a year ago. The Holier Than Thou neighbor senses your distraction and quietly reminds himself that you are not perfect like he is.

Warning: Do not try to one up them on anything. You’re going to the dentist? They’ve never had a cavity. You’ve recently been on a road trip? They just drove back from Scotland. You like ice cream? Their great, great, great-grandfather invented it. A fan of country music? Willie Nelson lives next door to their uncle. You think your minivan is hot? Theirs is the special NASA edition in which they Skype astronauts up in the space station every night after dinner. Little wonder indeed why it is so much easier for you to stay inside in your comfy pajamas watching your mail pile up, instead of risking a winless battle of the comparisons.

In the rare instance anything should not go perfectly for the Holier Than Thou neighbor, they have (drumroll, please….) PERFECT excuses that make you ashamed for even asking about them. Of course their car leaks oil, they are collecting samples for research at a local university. The twig in their yard was purposely left for the young bluebird family to use to build their first nest of the season. “The bluebirds are also newlyweds, but I’m sure you knew that and sent a card,” they will tell you with a great deal of sincerity.

You look down and see that you are still in your pajamas and wonder why you are outdoors before noon. Perhaps you are on your way to Hallmark. It is more likely you are on your way to the lumber yard to buy a twelve-foot tall privacy fence so you can sit on your front porch in your pajamas drinking day old coffee in peace. But you’ll probably have company.  It is more than likely the bluebird newlyweds would rather live in the privacy of your well-fenced yard than cope one more second with the relentless pressure they felt at your neighbor’s to use only the most virtuous twigs for their nest.


About Fortyteen Candles

oh, let's see...distinguished Gen-X'er, frustrated writer, suffocating in the confines of a small town that thinks it's a big deal. A few years ago we were home to the second largest Walmart in our state, don-cha-know. Oh, and I was voted "Most New Wave" in my senior high school year book. Actually, that last sentence alone is really everything you need to know about me.

20 responses »

  1. Is it so awful that I know *exactlyu who you are referring to?

  2. Er… *exactly*

  3. Wow. This is actually completely spot on.

  4. Hi I clicked over form here: just so you know, and what do I find a bloody awesome blog………we have a Holier Than Thou neighbour we call her Mrs G…………..and yes that is her name ok so we call her Mrs G to her face when talking about her amongest ourselves we call the “the cow”…………..if you ever met her you would get why…………neighbours if only we could pack them up and move them while they are out so when they get home they no longer live near us…………….lol I think there is a law against it though………

  5. Well I’m so glad you found my blog! I’m even more glad that you think it’s bloody awesome 😉
    I agree neighbors would be easier to deal with if they could be packed up like you mentioned. Maybe it’s best to live on a mountain top somewhere. Until then, I have my blog as a coping mechanism! Thanks for the follow 🙂 🙂

  6. I love this post (I found your blog from the “Are You There God, It’s me Generation X blog), especially the part about the cats getting on the roof. My husband and I don’t have kids, but we have two cats that are, well, our kids, and we took the screens off the windows, leaving me paranoid as all get out that they will take a midnight stroll on the roof!

  7. Hilarious! I just discovered your blog via bellybuttonblues as well, and I love your sense of humour.

  8. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    So far, no holier than thous on our street. We’re all laid-back folks who stay in our jammies all day drinking day-old coffee warmed up in the microwave.

  9. “They will use a leaf blower to remove debris from their driveway that is invisible to the human eye.”

    If they were good neighbors, they would never use a leaf blower.

  10. We are fortunate enough not to have this neighbor, but it’s my brother-in-law (who, fortunately, lives in another state) to a T.


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