Profound Thoughts on Fences

I had a job recently putting up a partition fence between two townhouses (made of 100% cedar, by the way, the most affordable, naturally bug and rot resistant wood), which made me question… why do we have fences, people?

Sure, I understand a chain-linked fence or a short fence if you have a dog and don’t want Killer running into the street and getting nailed by a car or mauling the neighbor’s kids. But… a privacy fence?

Partition Fence

Partition fence I put up. Such quality craftsmanship :-)

I think they’re B.S. They divide us, they make us unsociable and even more “in our own little worlds” than we already are. It’s like everyone’s putting up these big privacy fences these days so we don’t have to socialize and talk with our neighbors anymore or get to know each other. Instead, we get home from work and get wrapped up in our TVs — or —  we get wrapped up in texting/facebooking and telling everyone how social we are, instead of going outside and actually being social.

Heck folks, I even have the neighbor from hell, who I really don’t get along with. But I still had hope that somehow we could work things out. But what did the guy do? Put up a big, ol’ privacy fence and cut off any chance we had of mending our fences (haha).

A different neighbor of mine got mad a few months back that I cut back some of her giant bushes that were draping into my yard. Did I make a stink? Did I put up a privacy fence so I never have to be a grownup and deal with her again? No. I apologized to her.

I was legally allowed to trim those bushes, but I apologized to her and said I didn’t mean to be a dick, I hadn’t thought she’d mind. And guess what happened? We’re friends now! All it took was a little niceness and sociability — being adults and actually talking about it. Not a privacy fence.

We build all sorts of “fences” in our lives with people, but do we have to build real privacy fences too? We need to start breaking them all down.

Except the chain linked one that keeps Killer in your own yard. Keep that one up.


Comments

Profound Thoughts on Fences — 25 Comments

    • It would be a VERY different place without so many fences. I guess I don’t think people NEED to be friendly, you don’t HAVE to interact if you don’ thave a fence, but I think that fences cut off even a friendly wave or the chance of any communication at all.

  1. I love all my neighbors, and have usually always had good ones. We have a large lot right now, so no one is really that close, but when we lived in a small subdivision, neighbors were literally right beside us. When it’s not winter, I like to have windows open and don’t want the neighbors to see in. We did put up a cedar privacy fence once to keep the dogs in and so people won’t see everything you do. It also made the property look nice. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be around the neighbors, I just didn’t want to see them eating cereal in their undies and vice versa.
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  2. I think a lot f it depends where you grow up. I grew up in the southwest where unless you lived in the middle of the desert, you probably had a 6 foot tall cinder block wall around your back yard. That was normal!
    In Florida it’s much more common for yards to be open the way ours is. The neighbors can totally see everything from across the lake if they want to, but in exchange we have a beautiful relaxing view. It took a while to get used to it, but now the cinder block walls creep me out.
    Mrs PoP @ plantingourpennies recently posted..An Open Letter To Susan Cain, Author of QuietMy Profile

    • There is something to be said for what you’re used to. If you’re not used to a fence, it could be very confining, and if you are used to a fence, it could feel too open without it! For sure.

  3. I *wish* my 4-foot wood fence kept my crazy neighbor out of my yard! :p She just opens the gate and comes right in whenever she feels like it. I am a very sociable, outgoing person, but she’s rude! Oh great, here comes the rant. She has literally questioned the paternity of my children! She once pointed out a mole on me! She uses my water without asking! She snips my flowers so she can give them to her relatives! I’m not kidding…I wish I had a bigger fence…but just for her. Sorry I’m totally missing the point of your post, TB….but there are some neighbors that just suck. 😛
    Michelle recently posted..Homemade Halloween Costumes – My Cheap New TraditionMy Profile

    • That neighbor does suck! She cuts your flowers ?? That’s nuts. I don’t understand people sometimes. For her, I’m not sure a bigger fence would even do anything! She’d probably just climb right over, lol. Maybe you could remove the gate so that she can’t get through?

  4. You are 100% right. I lived in California for 15 years where privacy fences are a given. But not the latticed kind you show – 6 foot cedar planks. I lived in one subdivison for five years and there were some neighbors whose faces I never saw. In the morning, the garage door would rise thanks to the garage door opener, a car would back out and door would lower. In the evening, car would return, door would rise, car would be swallowed up, door would lower. Kind of spooky that I never saw a person. And this was the case for four houses on the block. Do you think Stepford Wives lived within?
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  5. Good post, TB. We live in a rural area and little known to us at the time, the house we bought was the very house that our neighbor grew up in. When his parents died, he split it off with two acres and sold it. This house was built by his parents own hands, so it naturally has sentimental value. Well, the new owners trashed it, then sold it. The second set of new owners, fixed it up, moved out and rented it. Then sold it. The third set of new owners, refused to take care of it, and let it stay vacant for several months. All the while, he was watching it fall apart. Then we entered the picture. Quite literally the day I showed up in the moving truck we were greeted with glares from him and his family, and not so much as a hello in return to our greeting. While we had no idea, we were about the 15th family in less than 10 years that was inhabiting his childhood home. In an attempt to keep a VERY long story short (sorry!) through regular maintenance and upkeep, and a long year, they are starting to come around. I actually had a conversation, albeit short, with him the other day. The point of my rambling is this: everyone has a story – regardless of a fence that may be separating you – go out and get it. We, as human beings, have the need to connect with one another. So what if we don’t connect verbally right away….so what. One act of kindness is but a small ripple in a stream that can cause a waves in the ocean (loosely adapted from someone famous O_o)
    Ben @ Bedrock PF recently posted..Automated Finances: An ExperimentMy Profile

    • This is a great story and a great point you make! You definitely don’t need to connect right away, and alittle kindness goes a long way. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Good fences make good neighbors. 😉

    I feel zero desire to have the neighbors peering into my yard and windows. Nor do I crave having to squeeze myself into a Spandex girdle to go swimming. The six-foot block wall is a non-negotiable here.

    Actually, when we lived downtown we had a house with no fence between us and the neighbor. She had conceived the idea that she could control her migraines by eating nothing but raw, organic vegetables — this was long before “organic” food was available at every corner supermarket. She walked four or five miles a day and would scavenge fruit and veggies from the folks as she passed through their neighborhoods.

    It was the hippy-dippy era, and I got into gardening for food (little knowing that if you lived in the middle of a city sandwiched between two large feeder streets, the soil in your yard would be full of lead…). Before long I had a big organic garden full of thriving vegetables. Naturally, she asked if she could have some, and naturally, I said sure.

    I didn’t have in mind her coming over and pulling up WHOLE HEADS of lettuce and chard, and whole rows of carrots and beets!

    Eventually we adopted another neighbor’s German shepherd when they divorced. This gave us a good reason fence in the backyard. I was never so happy to put up a barrier between me and another human being.
    Funny about Money recently posted..The Relativity of TimeMy Profile

    • That’s ridiculous that she was just taking all of your hard work! Having “some” or borrowing a little is one thing, but taking all your carrots like Bugs Bunny is too far. Some people have a lot of balls!

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