Letter to My Neighbor
Thank you, everyone who took the time to make suggestions and give advice about the situation with kooky Neighbor! (And especially Theresa, Lili, Gabe, Jinxy, and mom.)
Between the comments here and on Facebook, I was able to craft a response that I think is pretty good — an appropriate reply to her ferocious late-night texting, that will hopefully neutralize the situation in its infancy. Before it grows legs and tries to swallow me. (And by the way, I searched the pond and found no foreign objects, so I think what Isabella heard was a toad “couple” jumping in cohaerentibus… big splash.) Because I can think of about 3,000 things I’d rather do than invest time and energy into a stressful situation with someone who lives 30 steps (64 hops) to the north, and will probably stay there forever.
I took action quickly, to thwart any chance meetings on the sidewalk with nothing but a lingering discord of sleep-deprived, toad-hating hysteria vs. wildlife affection between us. Awkward.
I decided a gift basket would be most effective. So I found an empty, plastic flower-pot in my yard and collected the following items:
1. A bottle of cheap wine
2. Sleepy Time Extra Herbal Tea
3. Hearos Ear Plugs (Xtreme Protection)
I put the items in the flower-pot (washed) along with this letter and left it on her front porch.
I noticed that the gift pot was gone by evening, but there has been no response so far. Thankfully, the toads were silent last night, so maybe it will seem like I’ve made an extra effort, above and beyond monetary expenditure (less than $15) to restore her sensibilities and serotonin levels.
This morning when I left to take Isabella to school, I found this in my mail box:
So, I guess it’s over, yay! The toad drama has climaxed and been resolved!
Well, for now, anyway, until next Spring when she may or may not remain in good humor during toad mating season.
But one thing I can say for sure: she will never again hear that sound and think of toads in the same way.
The entirely wonderful Orwell essay about toads, Spring, and our relationship to nature (referenced in the letter) can be read here.