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WOULD YOU RATHER: NEIGHBOURS

Kajamba Fitz-Henley YOUTHLINK WRITER

If you’ve watched the movie Neighbors (2014), you know that it’s easy to have a complicated relationship with the people living right next door. Some of us may love our neighbours like family, while others barely know what those people look like. In any case, it’s quite likely that the topic of neighbours will come up at least once in your life, whether because of some interaction with them, or even merely as a result of some rumours you’ve heard. Look at some of these situations and decide whether they bring your neighbours to mind.

Your mother and your next-door neighbour have never liked each other. Your mother claims that the woman is loud, spiteful and inconsiderate. You’ve never really paid attention to the neighbour, so you don’t really care. However, one day she approaches you and says she will be going out of town for a week during the summer and she will pay you $10,500 to stay at her house during the day to watch it and also water her plants for her. You’ve been looking for a source of income so that you’ll be able to enjoy yourself during the summer, as you know that you won’t be getting money from your parents. Thus, the offer is tempting. However, if your mother ever finds out, she will throw a tantrum and find some sort of severe punishment for you. It’s likely that she won’t find out, as she goes to work during the time you would be watching the house; but it is also likely that your neighbour would spitefully mention it to her.

WOULD YOU RATHER:

• Watch the house and risk your mother finding out? (70%)
• Refrain from watching the house and forego the $10,500? (30%)

• “Watch the house and ask the neighbour not to mention it.” (Fabian, 17)
• “I’d rather not risk that with my mother.” (Okeena, 14)

While you and your brother were playing football in the yard, you accidentally cracked the windshield of your neighbour’s BMW. The following morning, you hear the neighbour shouting about the damaged car, claiming that whoever did it will be sued. He’s accusing the people in the house across the street and threatening to sue them immediately. It’s causing a lot of tension in the neighbourhood. You consider telling the neighbour that you and your brother broke the windshield, hoping that he may be lenient, given that he and your father seem to be friends, or at least acquaintances. However, you are still scared he may end up suing you.

WOULD YOU RATHER:

• Keep quiet and allow the people across the street to take the fall? (40%)
• Break the tension in the neighbourhood by being honest and facing the neighbour’s wrath? (60%)

• “That sounds like the type of man who will really make somebody pay, SO I would keep myself quiet.” (Aisha, 18)
• “Oh jeez, I’m really bad at keeping my mouth shut ... I’d have to eventually tell someone. So, tell the truth and hope he understands it was an accident? Hopefully.” (Mikayla, 17)

You’ve always been suspicious that the neighbours across the street practise obeah. That is the assumption that the community has made due to the ‘mysterious’ markings on the otherwise bare exterior of their house. They also have a black cat that people claim is strange. Aside from this, the neighbours have never actually done anything seemingly suspicious – they behave civilly and pleasantly hail your every time they see you. However, one day the neighbours’ daughter, whom you have seen around sometimes, asks you to come inside and help her fix her refrigerator. She says it fell on the cat and she can’t lift it up by herself. She seems to be the only one home. Though they’ve been civil to you, you are reluctant to go inside their house by yourself. You consider making up some elaborate excuse, explaining why you can’t help.

WOULD YOU RATHER:

• Make up the excuse and ignore the girl as well as the possibly injured cat? (70%)
• Go into the house to help, despite the rumours? (30%)

• “Not going into no strange house for no reason. Nope, not at all.” (Navid, 14)
• “My parents taught me not to believe in rumours, so I’d at least ask a little about the situation before I decide what to do.” (Andrea, 18)

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