I used to have an afternoon ritual. I would make a pot of tea- Kusmi, loose-leaf Darjeeling- the good stuff. I would light a seasonal scented soy base candle. And I would read a chapter of a book or a magazine.

This was a highlight of my day. I would make sure my dog was walked, and I would time it so that I knew my daughter nor husband would be home. I would not look at my phone or social media.

This was my version of meditation.

Then one day I got a letter from my next door neighbor- she asked me to stop burning the candles because she was sensitive to it. Our building does not have a “no candle” policy/ Technically, my apartment could be totally full of candles of various heights and smells, and there is nothing she can do about it. Technically, I could continue doing as I pleased, with no hint of trouble.

After considering the letter, I decided to stop the candle part of my ritual. Though the scent helped me relax, I thought it would be the neighborly thing to do.

We all know that my cat was sick a few weeks ago. After I had bundled her into the carrier, I was walking down the hall to the elevator to take her to the vet. I saw my anti candle neighbor, who has a cat BTW, and I said that my cat wasn’t feeling well. Actually, I probably cry hiccupped as I was saying this because I was a tad emotional at this moment.

You know what my neighbor said?

 

That wasn’t an extra blank space. That was the answer. She said nothing. She zipped past me as if me and my cat carrier did not exist.

Not. One. Word.

So yesterday, I bought a nice new soy based candle. (Magnolia collection at Target- HGTV should be paying me for the plugs…) and I sat down at my table, picked up my ereader, and lit of sweater weather…..

I know I’m petty. But really, wouldn’t it have been easier to just say “I hope everything is all right.”

Being a good neighbor goes two ways.

70 thoughts on “Petty, Petty, Petty

  1. Oh gosh! I had to smile when I read, “I bought a new soy based candle…” You go girl! Yes, it does go both ways and its not that hard to just say “I’m sorry” , but saying nothing is just not right!

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  2. Wow, that was cold, no response from her at all? I am someone who has figured out that chemical scents and fragrances are one of my migraine triggers and I would never ask someone not living with me to not burn a candle because it bothered me. You could give her a list of air purifying plants she could use, no electricity needed, or maybe a place to get some tapestries to hand on the wall to absorb odors, or better yet maybe a book on how not to be a Bitch.

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  3. How would your neighbor even smell the scent of your candle? You have walls, right? But to your point, if you want someone to respect you [and your wishes] then you have to respect them. What a gem this neighbor is, not.

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  4. Is it possible she didn’t hear you? Or hear all of what you said?

    I don’t understand how burning your candle in your apartment affects someone in another apartment…but then again, you can also smell cooking in hallways.

    I don’t know. I think burning your candle in your apartment is not intrusive like blaring loud music or yelling in the hall at 2am…

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  5. Sounds like a lovely and relaxing ritual, and nice tea choices too. I love candles, and burn beeswax candles. I grew to love these , as they are lit during the Mass. I buy natural beeswax candles for home use for home use. I get them from a health food store here on the island. They have no scent, and help to purify the air as well. 🤗

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  6. So your neighbor wants the world to stop because evidently she is so sensitive to candle scents that she has a superhuman sense of smell.

    But when you share something that matters to YOU? You get blank.

    I’d have done the same thing. 🙂

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  7. My first thought was that expectations of fairness in the world are seldom realized. I think you did the right thing by eliminating candles as allergies can result in horrible reactions. I understand your reaction when she said nothing, but I have hearing aids and I know I miss things sometimes and so I wondered if she heard you. I wrote on my blog recently about holding a grudge is like poisoning yourself and expecting the other person to get sick. It would be easy for me to hold a grudge in a circumstance like this. Lighting a candle probably felt okay temporarily but you are a bigger person than that.

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    1. She’s normally like this. She never makes eye contact and doesn’t speak to anyone and has done it for 20 years. It’s just her way…..so now I have a new way…it’s petty, but there you have it

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      1. It’s like one big dysfunctional family at times I’m sure..but hey..it’s better than living alone on 100 acres..at least I couldn’t live alone by myself like that…(too scared)..I’ll take the drama over solitude any day.

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  8. That is pretty sad! We all have a need to for some basic encouragement – especially from our neighbours! Good for you, getting another candle. I really enjoy giving folks positive comments – even strangers walking by. One of my favourite comments which always brings a smile is “You seem happy!” (unless of course, they don’t seem happy!)

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  9. I think your neighbor could have acknowledged you, but that is probably not all to the story. I used to get really upset when I worked in the hospital as an RN. If you said hi to a doctor in the hallway that your worked with frequently they would only acknowledge you if they were alone. If they were with another group of doctors, it was apparently beneath them to say hi to a nurse. I used to take this as a personal insult, a lack of common decency, and a sign of disrespect. And to a certain degree it is, but that’s their problem, not mine, and I found that I didn’t need to react. A negative reaction only hurts me. Now I encounter all types of people when I hike the trails or when I’m in public. Most are friendly and return hellos, but others give me blank stares. But I understand now, that this has nothing to do with me and it has no impact on me at all. It has to do with them. There is no way of knowing what is going on in their minds, or if they are having a bad day, or if they are grieving the loss of a loved one, or maybe just lost their job so they simply do not hear and cannot focus on what you said. It could also be that they have a personality disorder or simply do not know to socialize. And occasionally, I run into someone that simply scares me – something violent or evil emanating from that person. Bad energy for sure. What ever it is, it is unfortunate. I can understand chemical sensitivities now that I have them. Once triggered, it can take hours to recover and the symptoms include headaches, dizziness, loss of concentration, loss of memory, increased heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Those symptoms can be set off by the smell of something (inhaling the chemicals being given off) and immobilize me in just a few minutes. It makes life challenging but I try to adapt. Recently, I was visiting one of my brothers and the next door neighbor was drying their clothes in a clothes dryer. They apparently used a scented dryer sheet and the houses are very close together where he lives and the smell was naturally vented to the outside. The smell gassed out my brother’s house completely and set off allergic reactions in both he and his wife, and set off a neurotoxic reaction in me. We didn’t complain or ask them not use dryer sheets, but their actions, unknowingly, hurt our physical health. And it could have sent us to the hospital. I carry my asthma meds and anti-seizure meds with me now 24/7. It’s a complex world and I recently read that 12.5 million Americans suffer from these types of sensitivities and diagnoses have shot up 300% in the past 10 years. Because we’ve poisoned the environment. I agree your neighbor should have responded, especially after having asked a favor of you. In fact, a face to face would much better than her sending you a letter in the first instance, and she could have reached out better. I try harder now to be compassionate and understand where others might be coming from, even if they don’t know to properly behave 🙂

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    1. You are much more evolved than I am! I try to put myself in others shoes, but sometimes I’m not that nice. She is probably someone who shouldn’t be living in a high rise apartment in a city. She’s always making complaints to management…she got mad at my neighbor with two kids cause they’re loud, she complained because I put a Christmas wreath up (and yes, we have a no door decorating policy so I shouldn’t have, but really….it wasn’t smelly, did it really offend her that much) it’s annoying cause I’ve lived next t9 her for twenty years. She’s the type of woman you read about in the paper….you only know she died cause you smell it because no one misses her….

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      1. I don’t know that I’m evolved any more than you. I have my days of pettiness too. 🙂 I do try to slow down now before making any judgments. I used to be pretty volatile in my 20’s – not very smart. This woman sounds like she is in a real sad state of affairs. If her life centers around her complaining to everyone she really has some problems and like you say, she’ll probably die alone.

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      2. I’m better at benefit of the doubt now, but that doesn’t mean it’s great though. I try to think of how someone else is feeling, but it’s not so easy!

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  10. 20 years a neighbor and she just walks by you with no comment? Heck yes I’d burn that soy candle, read that chapter, chant a bit, and not worry a bit about her. Hard to believe the scent reaches her that much anyway. I have scent sensitivity and get sick/nauseous with perfumed smells. But natural, organic, herbal scents don’t bother me. So perhaps just double check the perfume level of your candle. So sorry about your cat – I hope she’s feeling much better now, and purring while you’re reading.

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  11. I’m with Ally in wondering how on earth she could tell you’re burning a candle. Seriously. It does not compute. Apartment dwelling can be quite the art form, although the only issue I’ve had was my bedroom being right by the front door – where people smoked … and being a fresh air fiend, I like to leave my windows open. It was an easy decision on my part not to complain, as the building’s rules designated that as the smoking place, so I just kept my windows shut. People can be odd – good manners & pleasantries cost nothing.

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