That Time I Had an Obnoxious Neighbor

In The Setup, Rory shares a story about collecting discarded plants to build a plant wall on her deck to block out an annoying neighbor.

This is actually based on something that happened in my real life.

When I moved to Boston in 2006, our apartment had a massive deck, and we loved being outside. We’d get home from work and have a cocktail outside while we chatted about our days. On the weekends, we’d spend a significant amount of time on the deck.

Even our cat and dog loved it.

The only problem was one of our neighbors annoyed the hell out of everyone by complaining about everything. I didn’t smoke, but she always railed at me about those who flicked their cigarettes into the yard. Then, there was the trash problem, as in tenants who placed their trash by the dumpsters and not inside them. Don’t even get me started on the rat problem tied to the trash situation.

Not only did she complain to me every time she saw me, but I wasn’t guilty of any of the transgressions.

So, I built my damn plant wall to enjoy the deck in peace and quiet.

In 2011, while prepping for the move from Boston to London, I couldn’t off-load any of the plants onto friends, coworkers, or neighbors. Not one of them wanted a plant.

I didn’t know what to do. I’d rescued and taken care of the plants for years, and it was impossible to bring them with me.

The only other person in our building who had plants on her deck was the one person I couldn’t stand.

I had to make a decision. Let the plants die, or give them a second or third life since I’d already saved them to construct my wall.

So, the annoying neighbor got all of them.

Part of me wanted to tell her the origin story behind my plant wall, but I’m not actually a mean person. Not to someone’s face. Even if the woman had annoyed me for over five years, lecturing me about things other tenants did.

To make matters worse, she never even bothered to learn my name, even though I knew hers. She’d just say, “Neighbor who’s reading a book” to get my attention. For five, long years.

When I handed over the plants to her the day before the move, she asked me for my email address because she wanted to stay in touch in case she ever visited London, thinking she could stay at my place.

Did I mention this woman didn’t even know my name, but she wanted to sleep on my couch?

Being the idiot that I am, I gave her my real email address. I wasn’t even smart enough to change it just enough so she couldn’t actually contact me. It would have been so easy since my personal email address has a significant historical date no one seems to know, because I’m that type of nerdy history nut.

Anyhoo, I’m getting off track. This isn’t supposed to be a therapy session but show how I insert tidbits from my life into my stories.

Be careful, though. If you piss me off, you just might end up in a story. I’ll never confirm it to your face because I’m not mean, just a petty coward.



Can a weekend change your fate?

As soon as Rory Price’s plane touches down in Britain for her two-year work contract , she has big plans to see and experience everything she can. The one thing that isn’t on the twenty-seven-year old’s agenda is a relationship.

Tell that to her matchmaking British friend who sets Rory up on a coffee date on her first full day in the new country.

Imogen Wright doesn’t want any more complications in her life. The only thing she’s considering committing to is adopting a dog.

Their blind date starts off disastrous, but there might be more than meets the eye.

Will the two headstrong women continue to clash, or will they see what’s so obvious to their matchmaking friend?

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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