Jewish Journal

Mr. Rogers Never Lived In My Neighborhood

by Mihal Levy

December 16, 2009 | 2:00 pm

Helping is overrated, at least that is what Mr. Nice Neighbor thinks.

I am all for women’s liberation and believe that women can hold open their own doors and carry their own shopping bags, but just because we can, doesn’t mean help wouldn’t be nice.  (And holding the door for anyone is just plain polite.)  So, after my trip to Old Navy followed by grocery shopping to feed a small army (I still don’t quite get the concept of buying for my son and I only), I had enough for the day and headed home.

I parked in front of my place and decide to grab all the bags at once, as well as my son.  Why?  I haven’t figured out the logic quite yet, but I believe if I had more than one trip home, I would have to leave my son alone for a few minutes and don’t know what kind of mischief he could get into during those thirty seconds I was gone.  So I hauled eight or so heavy bags including a winter wardrobe for my son, a gallon of milk, bottles of water and all the other essentials.

As I headed out of the car and took two steps, I had to place the bags down to take a break.  I looked ahead of me and it seemed as though home was miles away, but it was just a few yards.  Just as I picked up my groceries to begin the trek again, my son chimed in, “Uh Oh!”

“Uh Oh, what?” I asked, as I waddled and grimaced all of another three steps.

“I need peepee.  Hold on peepee, hold on peepee…don’t come out.”  He repeated.  (I knew I should not have kept asking if he needed to go when we were out and just taken him to the restroom.)

As if on queue,  my neighbor appeared.  I dropped my bags in relief.  Great, a little help, that would be nice.  But instead of stopping to help, he waved and muttered, “Have a nice day,” as he strolled by.

I am flattered that he thought I had it all under control while panting a measly two steps from my car, but I assumed he would ask if I needed help anyway.  As I have grown accustomed to say, “No thanks, I’m good,” I would’ve thrown the groceries at him and replied, “Uh…Yeah!”

This was not the first time Mr. Nice Neighbor ignored me or my situation.  When my son was about a year younger, he fell and scraped his knee on the curb and again I had groceries strewn all over the sidewalk as I ran to pick up my son.  Mr. Nice Neighbor literally stepped over my groceries and walked home.  But, of course when Mr. Nice Neighbor’s son was playing out front and almost ran into the street to get his ball, I stopped him.  Looking back, maybe I should’ve let him run into the street after all. 

So, I did what any good mother would do and carefully picked an egg out of the carton to throw at Mr. Nice Neighbor’s door.  Well, no, not really, but I really wanted to.  I picked up the important things first; Old Navy shopping bags, my purse…and my son and rushed towards my front door, with the rest of my grocery items hanging out, and on the curb.

Luckily we made it in the nick of time.  My son headed straight to the restroom.  I ran out and grabbed the remaining bags, two in one hand and six in the other.  I waddled quickly this time.

I don’t know what day Mr. Rogers was talking about when he sang, “it’s a beautiful day for a neighbor,” but today wasn’t that day.  I am just glad we made it home in the nick of time with all grocery items in tact…and ourselves.

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Mihal Levy used to collect degrees as a hobby.  After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, she worked as a psychotherapist and research scientist before continuing her hobby of...

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