Neighbor’s no speeding signs threaten peace
Dear Annie: I live in a neighborhood with two non-state-maintained roads. One is a long, straight, steep hill with about 20 residences. My neighbor “Sally” lives in the middle of the hill. She lets her pets roam free in her yard and has toddler grandchildren. People driving up her hill need to maintain speed to get up. It is hard to go 25 mph where it is steep. Her cat was hit and killed by an unaware driver. Sally will go into the road to challenge anyone she thinks is going too fast. I have told her the law says her pets should not be loose. My road has three residences, with no kids and no pets running free. We have no trouble with speeders.
Sally bought big road signs for about $80 each that say, “Children and pets. Slow down.” She gave me one of these signs and wants me to put it up on our quiet street. My three neighbors see no reason for us to post a sign. We did not ask for this sign. How do I diplomatically tell Sally that we’re not interested and that she should have talked to us before she bought expensive road signs? — Wants to Keep the Peace on Our Peaceful Road
Dear Wants to Keep the Peace: First, yes, the onus is entirely on your neighbor here. She shouldn’t be letting her pets roam loose beside a country road that many people zoom down, and it doesn’t sound like a great place for her toddler grandchildren to be playing, either. You’re within your rights to simply tell her you have had no trouble with speeders and don’t want to put up the sign.
But I have to ask, why not just do it? I don’t see any downside to urging drivers to be a little more careful. Even if you’re taking every possible safety precaution at home, sometimes pets get out the front door. You might end up being glad for the sign.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Mind Your Manners, Please,” who wrote about dealing with a screaming child in a public place. She gave some suggestions, and I would like to offer up another suggestion. How about instead of judging and shaming parents presumably trying to do their best, she and others like her offer compassion, kindness and love? Let’s give the parents with the screaming children in the public store the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume the parents are doing the best they can. Though those parents’ best may not be what the writer would do in a similar situation, it is nonetheless how they are dealing with the child in the moment. Instead of giving them the side eye and shaming them, let’s offer to help, give encouragement or simply be thankful that we are not the ones with the screaming child. — Sticking Up for Parents Everywhere
Dear Sticking Up: I’m printing your letter because I agree: There’s always room for more sympathy in the world, and we should always err on the side of giving one another too much of the benefit of the doubt rather than too little.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.