Self

The Obnoxious Parties Next Door

Why you should resist instant conclusions born of inconvenience.

Sean Kernan
6 min readNov 26, 2023

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Pexels Images via Maurício Mascaro

Nothing struck me as off when I first met Richard. I was walking my usual route through our suburban neighborhood, which was filled with a colorful mix of brick homes, and shaded by a dense canopy of southern live oaks.

“Hey! You live just behind me, right?” Richard said with a Cheshire cat smile as he walked forward. He was clean cut, stocky, and middle aged, a former football player with hands shaped like bricks. He stood square on his perfectly trimmed grass, with blades of green poking up between his bare toes.

“I do indeed — welcome to the neighborhood,” I nodded, and reached out to shake his hand. We chatted for ten minutes and he told me of his two teenage sons, who lived with him and were great athletes. He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, and didn’t mention his wife.

After telling him I worked in finance, he sized me up with a bunch of questions as my peers often do. He worked at a competing firm. Our introduction concluded without any significance, and he gave me his number if I ever needed anything — which I eventually would, unfortunately.

Five months later

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Sean Kernan

Writer and writing instructor. Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.