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Daze of My Life: State Farm Has Nothing On Me

Daze of My Life
State Farm Has Nothing On Me

I'm not a great neighbor. I'm not too helpful, I don't have any tools to lend and I don't have any expertise to offer; I can only provide manual labor. But I am a good neighbor, meaning I'm usually available (hopefully that counts for something). When asked, I will step up, though, however haltingly that maybe, especially when a neighbor's health - and/or safety - is at risk, potentially. The only problem, in this instance, was the cost; money was needed, not manpower; $2895 to be specific; to cut down/trim half a dozen trees/limbs that stood on my property but hung precariously over my neighbor's and endangered his house and effected his peace of mind.
And given the fact that many of the trees on my property are hundreds of years old - and probably not in the best of health - the potential for their timbering onto his house are extremely reasonable (heck, they've already fallen on my house, as well as multiple other locations on my property). So it wasn't the circumstances that I questioned, nor was it my neighbor's motivation that I doubted; quite simply it was the cost of me paying the piper.
I had already agreed in principle to pay when my neighbor had first raised his concern months earlier and I had encouraged him to get a quote which he had recently done, getting an estimate from a local business/ friend of the neighborhood so whatever the price was, I wasn't questioning its legitimacy, I had just hoped that this day would never come, but ultimately knew that it would, and when J.T. (my neighbor) called to ask if he could come by and discuss the estimate, I accepted the fact that that time was now. Unfortunately for me, money doesn't grow on trees, otherwise I'd have lots of money.
So the sound of chain saws that I waxed so rhapsodically about a last week expressing my love for their grinding, whirring and buzzing sounds heard in the late morning and early afternoon was followed up by this polar opposite; this was not pleasurable, this was painful; this was my money being cut out of my wallet, figuratively speaking.
I suppose I felt a modicum of pleasure knowing that my neighbor could now sleep at night and not worry any longer that he might be woken up by a tree limb -or a tree - crashing through his roof. Furthermore, I suppose I took some comfort knowing that any potential lawsuits brought against me for behavior unbecoming a neighbor were likely eliminated as well, at least in the short term.
Still, it didn't compare to the trading of services that William and his cousin had fulfilled the week before. One had to do with me being a good neighbor (not a great neighbor), and the other had to do with me being a responsible homeowner. Granted, the two are semi-related; each had to do with trees on my property, and I guess you could add, both were for my benefit, ultimately, but that's where the similarities end (I wish that's where the payment ended).
At least J.T. can relax now, and thanks to the payment plan he so graciously proposed (and I accepted), so can I.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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