Nuisance Neighbors

fire (6171768_blog)I don’t live in the most elegant of neighborhoods.

My husband and I are very old fashioned, in that we love old things – he even likes to go to flea markets and such with me. So we bought a beautiful turn-of-the-century home a few years ago. It’s 1,800 square feet of character and charm… and about 400 square feet of “needs updating.” But I love our home and I love how we’re making it our own.

The neighborhood could use a little work though. Not in the way of crime – our crime rate isn’t much different from even the best neighborhoods in town (and you can bet there aren’t as many break-ins around here) – because, while there is a nice handful of us that are working to better the aesthetic of the oldest part of the city, there are a few that couldn’t care less. Or they’re just plain ignorant.

Case in point: my neighbor. Now, the run down house next door to me used to be occupied by a sweet, but sickly, old man. He was a wonderful neighbor as a person, but failed to take care of his home due to his condition – and he liked to buy things… lots of things. He passed away last fall. His children don’t want to deal with the hoards of items within his home, so they’ve enlisted a distant family member to stay in the house and s-l-o-w-l-y rummage through the piles. Well, he’s not the brightest crayon in the box, and he certainly favors the liquor. I keep a close eye on him as my kitchen window directly overlooks the outdoor space where he spends a lot of time.

He built a fire directly on the small (2×3 foot?) concrete patio. I’ve seen him cooking meals in a can there. Saddens me, really, that he may not even have power in this 30 degree weather. But my empathy for him stops there. Especially when today he was igniting said fire with gasoline and managed to catch the gas can on fire. Then he tossed it on the ground and just stared at it. Seeing as the house of cards he’s staying in would not do well in a fire… and would certainly put my family at risk… I yelled out the window.

“Yeah, I’ll put it out.” So he moseyed inside only to come out several minutes later with a blanket and toss it on the gas can. Effective, no? The second blanket started to resemble a giant wick, and it was heading straight for the house. Then he proceeds to obtain dirt from the garden to bury it, but not before inspecting each shovel full — for adequate pH balance? Surprisingly, the fire department showed up — who ever could have called them? — and wrote him a citation. He didn’t seem phased in the slightest.

Where in the bloody….?? What’s the point here?
I tell my little tale to make this point: don’t let the neighbors diminish your efforts to make your little corner of the world a better place. And that goes far beyond the house you live in. Take online content for example (Are you surprised by that transition? Really?). There is still some stigma placed on content marketing – it’s the old, worn down neighborhood in the city of online presence. Many of the people that live in content marketing still just manage to keep the walls up and fail to put in the work that will make the neighborhood better – make it stand out like the beacon it can be.

But there are a few of us (and thankfully, the number is growing) who are working diligently to beef up the curb appeal. We know the value in content marketing and see the potential for a lucrative investment. There are days when, in all honesty, it doesn’t really feel like it’s worth the fuss – that we’ll never get to the place we envision. But we press on.

And one day, that neighbor will accidentally burn the house to the ground (or something less ominous like move away, or start to actually see the potential, too), and we will still be standing – proud, established, and gloriously much more valuable.

(originally posted on Ink’d Content)

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