DEAR ABBY: How does one deal with a nosy neighbor? "Miss Nosy" looks through my mail, and I caught her red-handed with a former neighbor's mail, which she had opened, read and apparently hoarded. I didn't confront her because I had just moved next door and didn't want to start a feud.
Miss Nosy claims she goes into my mailbox to make sure our postman hasn't accidentally put something for her in there. Doesn't she know that if he did, I'd give it to her?
If someone comes to my door, Miss Nosy calls and demands to know who it is and as much about his or her life history as I'm willing to share. She also asks me questions that are far too personal. She is elderly, but I don't think that's a valid excuse for her behavior.
Renting a P.O. box would be inconvenient. I'm considering replacing my mailbox with one that locks so that only I can get my mail out. Miss Nosy may pout about it, but surely she would get the hint. Any suggestions? -- INVADED IN TENNESSEE
DEAR INVADED: What your neighbor is doing is called mail tampering, and it's a felony. A locked mailbox is the surest, safest solution to your problem. You would be doing your neighbors a tremendous favor if you called the local postal inspector's office and reported what the woman is doing. They may not haul Miss Nosy off to the pokey, but she'll be sent a letter saying that what she's doing is a felony, and if a check should go missing, she'll be blamed for it.
P.S. Suggest to the woman that since she doesn't seem to have enough to occupy her, she should start a Neighborhood Watch program. It wouldn't take up much more of her time than she's already devoting, and would be a more constructive use of it.