(I’m not keeping a prisoner there; I am one.)
My retired neighbor — our back yards are connected — is a genuinely nice person, but he is an extreme introvert, painfully uncomfortable around others. He is well-educated and well-traveled, but was thrilled to retire so he could get away from humanity. He is in his 60s, I am in my 50s.
I am his only friend, and for over 20 years, he has magically appeared in his yard whenever I am doing something in my back yard. My kids noticed this even when they were young: “Does Mr Davis just stand in the house looking out the window and waiting for you to come outside so he has someone to talk to?”
Now I don’t know what to do. Since he retired last year, he has, quite literally, nothing to do all day except obsess about minor imperfections in our environment. Nothing accusatory toward me — I’m his ally — but I can’t get anything done. I need to rake leaves, repair a fence, cut firewood, tend my vegetable garden, cut grass, etc., but he comes over to talk about the branch that might fall. Or the water that seems to be collecting in one spot. Or the city utility box that is too visible. Or any, any, any petty nothing topic about our yards that must be discussed for hours in endless repetition.
I don’t know what to do. I know I am his only friend and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I spend at least 90 minutes a week simply listening to him repeat the same questions and complaints. I am self-employed and my wife travels a lot, so it is important that I manage my time well and stay on top of things.
(Whew.) That is my vent. Anyone have wisdom for me? Because I feel like a prisoner in my back yard.