where the sidewalk, apparently, doesn’t end

sidewalk ends
At Least Some of Us Know Where The Sidewalk Begins

Not everyone knows where the sidewalk ends, or where it begins for that matter. Sorry, but I have a neighbor who’s a complete hole, ass and otherwise. Before I even go there, may I just spew?


People in South Florida are rude. There. My sweeping generalization is out—perhaps not entirely accurate, but it feels accurate. No, the rude isn’t isolated to Boca or confined to the private roads of Woodfield Country Club. The rude is here, there, and everywhere. On the airplane she’ll force her way past your row, reaching for her overhead luggage, irritated as shite that your drag-ass won’t make way for her hefty sack of impatient-fcuk. Parking lot? Blinkers are just that: nothing more than blinks. Lines? Yes, excluding laugh lines, they’re everywhere, and if there’s any confusion over who’s next, an extension of a hand with a simple, “Please, after you,” never will you see. Neighbors you say? Not a single baked nibble, not a welcome basket, nor a single knock-knock welcome. Nary a warm hand gesture in sight. Not even a WAVE from a next door neighbor.

I wave to all of them, every person I see on my street, and they look at me as if I’m wearing a tampon up my nose. I walk toward them, offering a smile, ready to introduce myself. Know what I get? He slips into his car, door shuts. She nods, then heads inside. They close their garage door. We are “the renters,” which apparently is the equivalent to a kick me sign. But, in truth, I’m guessing most of the neighbors have no idea if we’re renters or owners, or even, dare I say, new to the community. I’m guessing most of them have never met. They do not wave to one another as their cars pass. Everyone seems closed. Know what I’m going to do? I’m going to fatten ’em all up with sugar and kindness.

Pile of nut-free, gluten-free, brownies on each and every front door, with a note attached. “Thought we’d introduce ourselves since you didn’t fcuking bother. Enjoy!”

Know what? The nit and grit of this sidewalk story will have to wait until tomorrow’s post because now I have too much baking to do.

Boca Raton, Woodfield Country Club


  1. I spent alot of time in the Delray/Boynton area, and never felt comfortable. Everyone is rude….and god help you if you go out with no makeup and your hair in a ponytail. Even the nannys will look at you like you are a leper. To borrow a phrase from a friend….the place makes you feel like a turd in a punchbowl. It’s unfortunate because it is a beautiful area. I’ve mentioned it in a comment before, BUT I hope you have found your way to Total Wine.

  2. I felt that same way about Georgia- that it’s hostess city was only a refined hostess if you were one of them. Or a Have. Or just never at all. That’s why I’m heading back to Texas again (this week!) Wish you were still there.

  3. I think you should move to the Phoenix area. More to the point, east of Phoenix in what is known as the East Valley. Very community oriented. And of course you do have many fans of your writing here.

          1. I didn’t mean to imply that you were self-centered. It’s just that if you aren’t familiar with FARK you might look for your own tag but unlike Twitter, a FARK tag is generally a bad thing.

  4. There are good and bad everywhere, most Floridians have come from somewhere else! I am originally from the 5 Towns on Long Island, Boca people similar. I choose to connect with the smilers and there are plenty to be found. It’s their loss, you are delightful and I would be knocking on your door if I lived closer! PS just got the cutest smile of recognition from Abigail playing tennis. :-)

  5. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I did too. I’m a transplanted “true” southerner (using the word ‘true’ simply because the only thing southern about south FL is geography), and have been totally shocked by the pervasive ME FIRST modus operandi down here. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that. At least I hope not. Luckily I have managed to meet some really great people recently and I’m sure you will too.

  6. You’ve been in Texas for too long. Only in Texas will people cut you off, then wave and mouth “thank you” as they do. (grin)


    1. Oh my god, I just realized – I DO THAT. I’ve only been in Dallas for five years. Wow, I guess I’ve assimilated more than I realize. Thanks for the wake-up call :)

  7. If it makes you feel any better, people wave a lot in our neighborhood. And two older folks brought us baked goods when we moved in. One still warm from the oven. Those are the nice folks. But there are snippy, snipey people here, too, and it doesn’t really matter whether you own or rent. It’s kind of like high school all over again, and sometimes, I want to put on black eyeliner, a Marilyn Manson tshirt, and blast some music from the windows of my minivan just to be that different girl again.

    But, to paraphrase the Looney Toons, “They don’t know you very well, do they?” and “of course you know, this means war.” Go get ’em.

  8. When your 4 year old daughter asks you why the swim instructor yells and doesn’t say “please”, when the HOA contact doesn’t return your calls asking for rules so you can play by them, when the Occupational Therapist who makes you wait 30 minutes passed the appointment time to evaluate your son doesn’t get back to you with an evaluation for going on 4 weeks you know this place needs to get TP’ed prior to Halloween.

    1. Ha. I just moved to the Bay Area, and people are ridiculously friendly here. We felt like we had entered the Twilight Zone the first time we hit the In-n-Out drive-thru. Smiling (not surly) teenagers! Welcoming neighbors! I’ve spent so much time around negative people that I don’t know how to react.

  9. We moved a couple of years ago and it was just like that. No one said hello, nice to meet you, kiss my ass. Nothing.

    And this is Mississippi – people are supposed to be fucking friendly.

  10. Wow, you actually made it. Yes, you’re right. People here are rude. You’re far too friendly for that crowd. I’d love to know what made you decide to 1)move and 2) move to South Florida.

  11. This makes me sad. I’m a born and raised S. Floridian (Miami to be exact) and the street I grew up on and my parents still live on is full of wavers and smilers. The majority of the residents have been on this street for the past 20+ years. Whenever there’s a hurricane, we check up on each other. Neighbors let us know when they are having a party so we can join them or as a heads up for the noise. The neighbors share their abundance of mangos and avocados from their trees.

    Unfortunately, I agree that for the most part people are rude. Just yesterday, as I was walking into Homegoods, I recognized the woman walking out from the gym. I tried to smile at her and all I got back was a blank stare. Whenever I travel out of Miami, I’m amazed at how kind people are. Thank goodness I went to college in a small town and it really made an impression on me how important it is just to be kind and nice to people.

    1. Author

      I agree. I have to say, the rudeness is noticeable. Austin had like 1 rude person. And I made sure to tell him so. Okay, 2 if you count the facebook tattletale who picked her way through everyone’s updates, then reported them to the school director for writing an update including the initials of another child in their own child’s classroom. And no, it wasn’t her job. Seriously? Do people have their own lives?

      In Austin, in my neighborhood and others, we always waved hi to drivers passing, most of whom we did not know. On walks, the person in the passing car always waved hi, always. And it was contagious. Soon I was in the car waving at walkers, bicyclists, and gardeners. It’s just a friendly atmosphere. It’s such a wake-up call that people do NOT operate this way here (not that I’ve seen, but I’m sure isolated communities like your parents’ exist).

  12. Actually, had a similar experience looking at a house in (what I found out to be) a completely snobby neighborhood! I totally understand how you feel!

  13. There are all kinds of people everywhere. I have a neighbor who rang my doorbell shortly after I moved in. I thought she was offering friendship, but she wanted to let me know that she would be watching through her window at night and if my kids (3 teenagers at the time) leaned on her car (an old Jaguar) or smoked next to her car, she would call the police. That same woman had the nerve to appear at my door immediately after a hurricane when we had no power because she saw me brewing coffee on my gas grill…she came with cup in hand……… plus she managed to guilt me into some very valuable ice. She has since joined the ‘condo=commando’ board here…….and I was billed for leaving my garbage cans out a little too long. After a meeting with grievance committee, the charge was dropped.
    I have always baked for new neighbors……. even now, I don’t cook anything without making extra for my next door neighbor……and she doesn’t go for sushi without bringing me home a J/B roll.
    As far as the Facebook thing, I’m not privy to who the sensitive parent was/is – but I will say that there are some reasons that names/faces are not used without permission. Personally, my life is an open book and I share everything…….my kids think way too much……
    One more story…. my husband was a very hands on father…..when my kids were little and had weekend parties, I would send him…..I had my own personal Moose issues…… There was this one woman who would not even look at him…… He finally went over to her and said “Did I do something to offend you?” She said no……. and got away quickly from the conversation. A few years later, her husband ran and was elected to the Senate (and/or congress)………was a popular senator in this district for awhile.
    Your face lights up a room, your kids are the most adorable, polite and delightful children I have seen. When your son said to the music teacher “thank you for the music” I almost melted. And….your husband smells good!

  14. I have lived in a handful of major cities (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and DC) in the US and a couple more abroad. I had to be in NYC again for a few months for work earlier this year and I still love LOVE New York. But for the first time I understood why people might think New Yorkers are rude. I witnessed a sense of entitlement I just haven’t encountered elsewhere. I’d be glad to live there again for the city, but I’m glad to live now in another big city where for the most part I see people assuming the best of each other, smiling, making some small talk with people who work in stores and service positions, and letting others go ahead in line or on the road from time to time. Hope things get better there!

  15. Dear Dear Dear Stephanie.


    Remember that there are a million (if not more) people who love you. Some of us loved you without even knowing you. And once we got to know you we loved you even more.

    The people who will eventually find you –and the pot of gold you possess within you–will be the ones who have found a treasure beyond compare. And the ones who don’t find you, even when you are standing right next to them, will never know the riches they missed out on.

    You are on a new journey. It will get better.

    Til then, know that we are all out here and rooting for you!

  16. At least you’re renting! I’d start scoping out nicer parts of the city, asap. And yes, Texas misses you. Texans ARE a friendly bunch. I wish I’d had the chance to meet you and your family when you were here!!
    As for the snobby new neighbors, their loss. Sometimes you find perfect neighborhoods and can’t believe your good fortune. When you find them, cling tightly, next thing you know you realize you’ve been in that home for years. Our best neighborhood was when our children were 5 to 12 yrs old…lifelong friends that bunch!! If the economy hadn’t taken a turn we’d probably all still be there.
    So, you’ll find the right fit again…just maybe not in Florida :)

    1. And when you are out there scoping new places drop in on a neighbor or two to get a feeling for the area.. Have done that a few times and was both pleasantly surprised and in another area absolutely horrified!

      Good to hear you are renting :)

  17. That’s one of the EXACT reasons why we left Florida less than a year ago (now in D.C.)….there’s no sense of community. Sad but true. Florida is a transient state where people (on average) will live in one location for less than 5 years, then move. It’s focused on retirees and tourism and it’s everywhere. And it’s true; people ARE rude. I say all this as someone who was born and raised in Fla, as well as my husband.

    When we moved up here, one of our next door neighbors brought us apple cider and pumpkin bread; you could have knocked me over with a feather! Another brought us wine! They wave, they say hello, they have BBQs and invite people over…what a concept!

  18. Hey Steph-don’t do pearls before swine-if they are not being nice to wonderfulyou just dump the critters and move-on. You are fabulous and they need to drop off your irridescent planet and go phut!!

  19. too many comments to read so this might have been said: Why bake for every single neighbor? What is driving you to be so liked by everyone? I admire the effort to meet new people but so many factors could be driving these people. Times are stressful, you could catch them on a bad day, or preoccupied. People are more wary of everything now it seems. Times are nuts, lol. Point is I learned you can only control how you react to things. I assume ‘it’s their problem’ and it has nothing to do with me. It might be deluding myself but often this is the case with people who are strangers. How could they be shunning you (for you and not some other reason?). Anyway. Go with the flow, no need to get all worked up. Some people are not friendly, period. My husband is a serial waver/hi person. It is nice. I am more shy and this avoid initiating contact. Now, if someone does it first i always respond. But I am shy, and have some social anxiety with strangers. Some people might all into this category too. Just relax. I am sure baking in that heat is not the most fun thing. Take the kids and go do something fun instead!

  20. Well, when they see this post (and they will), then NO ONE there will talk to you. For real.

    1. As much as I’m loath to agree with “anon,” this time the nail hit the head. Since even “Kind Sir” asked, “What’s her story” when you were going to someone’s, don’t you think people have asked what your story is? If even one knows you blog, they all know. And now they know what you think of them. Way to ingratiate yourself.

      1. Author

        I totally hear you, but in this case, the people in my immediate neighborhood can’t bother to say hello, so who cares if their next words are goodbye?

    2. Author

      I doubt it. The people of which I’m speaking are my immediate neighbors, the ones whose homes touch mine. I’m not speaking about the people at the kids’ school, all of whom have been very warm and welcoming, and that’s said in a non- cover-your-ass way.

  21. Oh, Stephanie! If I were your neighbor, I would march over with my boys, a bottle of crisp white wine, and a bunch of munchies. They don’t know what they’re missing.

    When I moved to Chicago, the neighborhood women didn’t take much notice of me. Long story short, I wore them down and we spend many a night watching our kids run around while we drink wine from the porch.

    It took a while–I hope the ice breaks soon. Best to you.

  22. Firstly Get your ass back in texas!!
    Secondly, it was like that when i lived in the burbs of austin. depressing.
    hope it gets better. love you!

  23. My sister is in SW Florida. She says everyone once in awhile she snaps and just starts smiling at everyone, waving, and saying, “HOW ARE YOU TODAY? YES,YOU!” at the people who try to dodge friendly tactics.

  24. I know as a rule South Florida is pretty rude but I find it’s the worse in Boca. I lived there for 22 years and I can understand what you’re saying about the “unneighborly” neighbors. You rarely see people in their front yards and when you do see them outside the scurry into their garages. I went to the SAME Publix for 8 years in East Boca and the girl at the Lotto counter never spoke to me – the week I was moving to Boynton she starts up a conversation like we were old friends. I really didn’t know what to do – I almost said to her “Really? Now you’re talking to me and I’m leaving?”. I love it in Boynton – my neighborhood is great and I have to tell you the first time I went shopping at the Publix up there I went to put a frozen food item back on the shelf and the girl behind me said “Try it – it’s really good.” I just about fell over!! People make conversation here???? I was so not used to it. And my neighbors wave too!

    I hate to say it but you’ll get used to it and you will find there are alot of really nice people here – even in Boca.

  25. I’m from San Antonio. My husband and I have been working in Florida for 4 years. Our project ended recently, and we are now back in SA for a few months. I have NEVER felt like an outsider ANYWHERE as much as I did in the sunshine state! Great to be back amongst friendly people :)

  26. Living in Austin, it is shocking at the general rudeness of people in other places. It is also shocking when encountering that occasional rude a**hole in Austin. Though I will say there is no shortage of rude drivers around here!

  27. I agree there’s no excuse for overt rudeness (like the woman on the airplane) but in terms of neighborly love, I’d like to offer my own perspective.

    My husband and I prefer to be friendly, but not friends, with our neighbors. As homeowners, there are always going to be issues like, hey your tree is leaning toward my house, or would you please turn the stereo down it’s mignight, or disputes about fences or parking. The list is long, and we have found out the hard way that it is best to have some emotional distance from people you will likely one day be involved with in some uncomfortable dispute.

    We had neighbors at our last house who were such good friends that they ended up treating our house as their own – walking in without knocking, checking the contents of the fridge, borrowing our stuff without asking. The other neighbors felt free to park in our driveway when they thought we didn’t need it, in a neigborhood where parking is tight. Imagine coming home late at night, then having to double park and wake up your ‘friend’ next door to move his car.

    So, when we moved to our current house, my husband and I agreed, no more neighbor friends! We are civil with our neigbors here, we smile and wave, but that’s the extent of it.

    1. This is a good point and one I try to live with. Do not become BEST buddies with a neighbor as it can sometimes back fire big time BTDT x 2.

      However like you, we are friendly and civil to our neighbors and chat when we are out and about. Does NOT sound like this is happening in Stephanie’s neighborhood at ALL though!

  28. i lived in miami for 5 years and you are correct, people aren’t just not-friendly, but seem to go out of their way to be rude. it’s never made sense why people were so grouchy in such a nice place

  29. I feel for ya…being in a new ‘hood with nary a bit of neighborly kindness extended plain sucks. Being a Texas transplant, I can attest to some not so warm reactions from the locals when we “Yankees” rolled in to town. So it happens everywhere. You just have to bloom where you’re planted. It also may be one of those things that falls into the “you find it when you’re not looking” category. At least those associated with the school were welcoming…that is worth its weight in gold.
    Perhaps it will just take some time for the neighbors to warm up…or not. In the meantime, be glad you don’t live next-door to Mrs. Kravits, or a Polygamist Sect Leader, or a meth lab.

  30. My opinion? ALL of Florida is as you described. My family’s been here since around ’92; I moved away as soon as I graduated high school, and now I’m back again for school. I hate it here.. cannot WAIT to finish up and leave. I’m sure there are nice people here, and blah blah blah generalization, but I don’t care; this place is a hole.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.