About six months ago, we got new neighbors. They seem nice enough. I think they’re both doctors, and they have one son that’s a few years younger than my daughter. We nicknamed him “Box Boy.” Okay, in fairness to myself and my husband, we didn’t nickname him Box Boy; our kids did.
It all started one day, shortly after the new neighbors moved in. As with any move, they had a lot of boxes and so it must’ve fallen to the young boy to tear them down to be recycled. One afternoon, the neighbor boy carried a large, refrigerator-sized box out into the middle of his front yard and began to systematically destroy it with his father’s tools. He beat it with a sledgehammer at the top, and then stabbed it several times with a garden fork around the mid-section. It was just a little bit disconcerting, but we assumed he had been charged with the task of demolishing the boxes for the recycle bin.
A few days went by and that large box remained out in their front yard. And, every couple of days, the young man would come out with his sledge hammer or garden tools to further destroy the box. Finally one day my daughter had had enough. From the upstairs window of her bedroom, she yelled down in a deep voice, “Dude! Chill! It’s just a box!”
This apparently frightened our young neighbor and he immediately ceased trying to kill the box. We assumed that was the end of it and we all went on with our lives.
About six months have passed since that day and neighborly relations have been cordial. We see the parents as they come and go for work, but – with Minnesota winters – we really haven’t had much opportunity to spend any real time getting to know them. A couple of days ago, our neighbors received a large delivery in another ginormous box. Within a few hours, “Box Boy” was outside and was once again beating on the box with his mighty sledgehammer. My daughter watched this for a good half hour before she finally took to her bedroom window again as before.
“Dude! Chill!” she hollered. “It’s just a box! It won’t hurt you! Show some mercy.”
The young man looked around for a moment, trying to discover where the disembodied voice was coming from, and then – after about 10 minutes – decided to change course and began beating on the tree in his front yard with the large hammer.
“Dude!” Amber yelled again. “Seriously? That’s a tree! Show some mercy and let it live!”
The young man looked around again, still trying to discover where the voice was coming from. Finally, with his head tipped toward the heavens as though he were talking to God, the young man yelled, “It’s a little weird knowing that your neighbors are creeping on you!”
A moment or two passed and then the disembodied voice of my daughter yelled down, “Yeah? It’s even weirder to know that your neighbor is a serial killer!”
I’m a little nervous about getting to know the neighbors better, now that our kids have “talked.” Do you think they’ll forgive us for having such a bratty daughter, if we forgive them for the rather bizarre behavior of their son? I’ll believe that Box Boy didn’t learn his behavior from his parents, if they’ll believe that my daughter didn’t learn her behavior from Troy and me. In my case, I’d be lying. Let’s hope that the same isn’t true of the neighbors.