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So I’ll go ahead and admit that when “Karen” calls is a post that is slightly “tongue and cheek” mixed with a little bit of venting. While I do think the name Karen is getting a bad rap, for purposes of this post, “Karen” is defined as an entitled, nosy, vocal, middle aged woman who thinks only with her best interest in mind.

My “Karen”

You see, I have a “Karen” in my life. Fortunately, she does not appear often, but when she does, I truly struggle to hold my tongue. My “Karen” owns a cabin just below our “little cabin in the woods”. Along with our cabin, Robby and I also own an undeveloped lot separating the two cabins and protecting our view. “Karen” rents her cabin and personally visits it maybe once a year. We on the other, hand do not rent our cabin and visit it once a month.

Over the past two years I have received calls from “Karen” regarding trash on our undeveloped lot. The trash is the result of bears, racoons, foxes and high winds which blow other neighbors’ trash onto our lot and “Karen’s” property. While this is a common occurrence when you live in the mountains, it isn’t a regular or frequent happening. You see our undeveloped lot and “Karen’s” cabin are at the lower end of the mountain road.

If you follow the science, gravity causes things to move toward the center of the earth or in this case the lowest point on our road. ( So …. **** rolls downhill!) However, science has nothing to do with the wildlife, they just take advantage of easy access to food – aka “garbage”. P.S. Since we are only part-time residents, we never leave our garbage outside and always take it home to Florence or to the garbage service center before we leave.

My Response

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I should not take offense and this is where the struggle gets real! Her calls do offend me. My anger at “Karen’s” unrealistic expectations makes me want to say things that I likely would regret! While the lot is mine, the garbage is not mine and I cannot control the wind or the wildlife. She even admits the same when leaving messages on my answering machine.

I have told her before that we visit every month and Robby always picks up trash that he can reach that has found it’s home on our properties. The problem is that what “Karen” really wants is for us to hire someone to weekly pick up trash so that her renters don’t see it on the slope between our properties. She’s not really concerned about the trash. Her concern is about her rental income and reviews.

I appreciate her perspective, but her expectations are unrealistic! Also, my threshold for manipulation is slim, so don’t go there with me!

The Solution

I have not yet responded to “Karen’s” latest phone call. Robby picked up all the trash he could reach on our latest visit and that’s all that I can offer. Even if we tried to accommodate “Karen”, there is absolutely no guarantee that a bear or a storm won’t instantly blow someone else’s trash onto this lot the very next day after it was cleaned up!

And this is why it gets under my skin! “Karen” wants me to solve her problem without offering any assistance from her end. Her phone calls never offer a solution, they only offer blame. She has weekly yard folks and cleaners whom we would gladly “give permission” to walk over and pick up any trash they see, but she never offers that solution.

But, a solution is not really what “Karen” is after. She wants to hold me responsible for something that I have no control over. She would rather call me and complain than fix it herself. So after much prayer and discussion with Robby, “Karen’s” latest phone call is not going to receive a response. When “Karen” calls again, and she will, I will politely tell her to feel free to be a good neighbor and pick up any trash that is bothersome to her, otherwise it will have to wait until our next visit. (LOL – slightly sassy, I know!)

Final Thoughts

In today’s world it is so easy to become offended. It would seem that there are plenty of “Karen’s” to go around. God tells us to be angry and sin not. Getting angry is easy. Responding with grace and tact is much harder. Clearly I’ve already given “Karen” more energy than she deserves (#thispost) so I will end with this: God tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 “…Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business ….” That’s what I plan to do, hoping “Karen” will do the same.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Leave a comment about any “Karen’s” in your life! LOL

4 thoughts on “WHEN “KAREN” CALLS

  1. I am 100 percent in agreement with your planned response to “Karen” the next time she calls. (I might even throw in a couple newly learned Portuguese words too, but I’m not as gracious as you.) 💜

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