Matt Perryman

Unhinged motorcycle neighbor

By Matt Perryman

This guy who lives two doors down from me bought a motorcycle awhile back. He decided it was a good idea to ride it down the narrow foot-path that runs from the parking lot in front of my place and down to his.

Even better, why not head to the bar, have a few drinks, before riding your motorcycle where kids play? Splendid idea.

It came as no surprise on one sunny afternoon a few months ago when he laid down that shiny new bike right out my front window.

Dude then has the nerve to knock on my door and try to shake me down to pay for the damage. Apparently one of my girls was guilty of being 8 years old and playing in front of her own house. Imagine the nerve of that kid.

I stress the “try to”. From back in my wannabe-cop days to retail work to a brief stint bouncing, I’ve dealt with aggressive idiots my whole adult life.

Intimidation tactics don’t scare me. All that does is piss me off.

When I told him to get lost, the fireworks really started. Guy’s cussing at full volume at three in the afternoon, running around the place talking about how he’s declaring war on a family with young children.

We get ’em classy in New Zealand. We’re not talking about some hot-head young buck, either. This is a full-grown man, 60 years old.

You know that saying. There are no adults, only older bodies.

The thing that rattled me is that this guy had been a friendly neighbor up to this point.

All it took was me saying, We should talk about this later when you’ve calmed down, and, like Thanos snapping his fingers, four years of good will went “poof”.

You can’t talk to somebody who won’t be talked with.

This is the part where I’m supposed to take the high road. Maybe he’s having a hard time. Maybe he’s mentally ill. Maybe he needs a hug. Maybe I should turn the other cheek.

Forget that.

This guy drove a motorcycle, very likely while drinking, so close to my daughters that he crashed the bike, and he thinks he’s the victim.

Forgiveness is for the repentant. “Mental illness” has turned into a literal Get Out of Jail Free card for any low-down dirty behavior you care to name. I refuse to sing the gospel of victimhood.

He deserves whatever bad karma he brings on himself, frankly.

Although if my loony neighbor and I were on speaking terms, I’d recommend him a healthy daily practice of breathing, focusing exercises, and other techniques to handle his emotional incontinence.

Angry though I am, unlike him, I’m still in control of myself. I can let my reason win over my perturbed emotions. That’s a learnable and teachable skill.

But I suspect that would be chucking pearls before swine. Most don’t want to change, most don’t believe they can change. Most have too much tough-guy ego to even consider it.

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Matt Perryman

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