My neighbour’s children do not greet!
It is crazy I have to begin a post with that line. But the sooner I find a solution to this, the better I would be because I am used to being friends and at peace with my neighbours whether young or old.
I am almost 2 months old in this compound and I have a particular neighbour with grown children. A boy and three girls. I’m sure there are others from the same flat because I saw a smaller boy sweeping their balcony yesterday. Anyway, my concern is with the big boy and other girls. Initially, the youngest girl would stare at me, but having realised I’m in the compound to stay, and probably realising we are no mates at all, she greets.
Now her sisters. At first, I always saw one frequently because we meet at the gate most times so I’m either asking her if she is going out or coming in so I could lock the gate behind me. I see it as nothing to say hi to anyone, older or younger than me. So when she and her brother passes me, I nod a greeting ‘hi hello’ at them or even good afternoon. But one day, I was spreading my launderings; she came, stared past me and walked away. And her brother does same. Since then, I stopped my ‘hellos’ or any greetings because they expect it from me and I think it is wrong. So now when we see at all, we just walk past ourselves. And I still think, that is wrong.
The other day, I returned from the market to meet the boy washing his dad’s car. He stared at me without a welcome or even offering to help with my obviously heavy bags. Now, I wasn’t expecting the help but it is the polite thing to do. It is what my younger brother would do. And it is left for me to say, no don’t worry, thanks.
It takes nothing out of me to greet or say hi, but I feel if I continue at it, they will see nothing wrong in their behaviours. And these children are no mates of mine! The oldest of them would be at least six years younger than me. Seriously, maybe if I was plump or bigger a little, maybe they would know we are not mates because people find it difficult believing I am an old woman. They think I probably left secondary school 2 or 3 years ago and got married because I wear jeans and Tshirts with them. And seriously, what will I wear, how will I dress that will make me look older or at least my age? I am being harassed constantly and it is neither funny nor complimenting. I guess I will have to learn how to harden my face or something. My only refuge will be going about tying two wrappers and gele. But who can do that anyway? Everyday cannot be a traditional marriage ceremony na.
I thought the next time I saw the girl who loved to stare, I would ask her her name (don’t know any of their names) and whenever I see her, I will mention her name and greet her, since that is what she wants. But I didn’t think that approach was nice. So if you were in my shoes, what would you do?