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The End of Civility as We Know It, and I feel fine.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
The End of Civility as We Know It, and I feel fine....
The past couple of workdays had plenty of unpleasantness. Funeral directors shooing me off their property; a former client calling me a "condescending ASS." All we'd need was a nice peaceful weekend to get over that, huh.

No. It's come to the neighborhood, too. And while there are bright spots over the fences and down the street, this latest incident just emphasized the human condition I ended my pre-Friday-night post with:

Fuckall- everybody's turning into Donald Trump now.

No negotiation. No compromise. Not even owning up to things you said that can be proved you said. You double down, you threaten, you do what got done to us last night.

So, Next Door. We've discussed this before.  Tenants The Third since our dear friend Sally sold. Last month, it was Fire. Last night, it went to Water, as the three of them (D, aka D-Bag; his wife M; and, as they later claimed, M's preteen kid), all chose a late November night to gallivant in their hot tub, eight feet from where Eleanor was trying to sleep after a stressful eight days, the last three of them Mostly Sick.

We couldn't blow them in to the police just for being out and using their hot tub. It was too early, and they weren't loud and drunk enough-yet. So Eleanor took the initiative, and started taking flash pictures of their spite fence shadow wall, flash a-flashin'.  None of them came out beyond stripes of brown.  Eventually, we left them to peter themselves out, but then our doorbell rang:

It was Officer David from our local Police Officer Station.  This is the public servant who drew the short straw and had to investigate us for kiddie porn- for taking pictures of the neighbor's daughter in the hot tub.

Never mind Eleanor didn't know there was a kid in the thing. Never mind the camera couldn't see over the fence. We got a serious eyeroll out of him when we explained that there's been a "neighbor dispute" going on the past few weeks over their putting flammable materials mere feet away from our nearest outer wall.

He took our names. We took his. We shook his hand and asked for the reference number for his report, which presumably will include 27 8x10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

At least it was a clear warm night. And he was wearing a uniform and not a bathing suit in 40-ish weather.


This morning, we offered the sign of peace: we cleared out that bedroom. It is now the guest room for, primarily, the kids and grandkitties.  Eleanor will now sleep in their former quarters, as far from the madding crowd as one can get and still be in a separate room. (Shocking disclosure: I've been sleeping in my own office since George W. Bush days, mainly because of snoring.  Someday, hers might get better;)  We've enjoyed thinking up retaliatory tactics for their quiet nights out on their veranda, mostly so far involving the delivery of large pizzas with anchovies and blasting of Clash albums out that same window. But we don't have to. We've made our own peace, which as long as they choose it to last, it will last.

I said I might say something to D to let him know we'd made this gesture. Eleanor prefers I don't; his bullying attitude would likely just be emboldened by learning that he got "his way."  So we're beginning a new chapter, which should have a happy ending.

It's not us.  Twenty-one-plus years here, eight as homeowners in our last town, seventeen of me living with my folks, and none of this shit. Our neighbors were family at best, friends if not, neutral if not that. No letters, no angry calls, no visits from the po-lice.  But those days are not these days. These days, we have Judge Shows, interspersed with Paternity Shows, all surrounded by partisan News Shows, which divide us and conflict us and tell us that Mean is Good.

It's not.  I will not stoop. And two final moments from the day today support me in that.


Late this afternoon, I was out in our driveway, with a shopvac, clearing out the crap accumulated in Em and Cameron's (formerly my) car in anticipation of possibly selling it. (I've posted one Craigslist ad in Rochester with no response; another will go up on the Buffalo Craigslist page tomorrow.) As I was clearing out their massive collection of small change, fast food receipts and nails from Cameron's contracting gigs, a guy knocked on the car's back window.  He just moved in to the neighborhood, saw our snowplow stakes, and asked for who we used. He's Asian, and was hesitant with the language, but I wanted to help him any way I could. I gave him our guy's number;  I gave him my number in case he couldn't connect with that service.  I didn't see anything other than a good person in need of a small thing I could help with.

After he left, Eleanor came back out to the driveway with a sad but sweet report: D. next door has a black lab. We have a black lab-mix. Because of the strife, the dogs have never "met" in a formal sense, but they use adjoining yards for their, um, needs.  Now that winter's nearing, the wisteria separating the lot line is almost bare, and they can finally see much more of each other.  Just now, as Ebony was out on our side, their puppy came close to her on his side and went into a play-bow.

If only the humans were so simple to deal with.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
bill_sheehan From: bill_sheehan Date: November 22nd, 2015 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
So it's true what Robert Frost said: Good fences make good neighbors.
plantmom From: plantmom Date: November 22nd, 2015 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Or viceversa,darlin'.
glenmarshall From: glenmarshall Date: November 22nd, 2015 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Neighbors can be self-righteous. In our first house we had a hedge on the property line. Just after we moved in, the neighbor informed us that the prior owners had maintained the hedge, cutting both sides. She expected us to continue that practice. I said that was not my plan, but I'd cut my side and trim the top, as their side-lawn was about 2 feet below ours. That wasn't the only thing, but is a good example. For the next 11 years that we lived there she continued telling us what the prior owners (both dead) did. We continued to ignore it.

Our current house sits on a cul-de-sac, with a neat neighbor and a not-so-neat one. While I could harp on the latter, I choose to hold my tongue. Our deck does not have a view of the property, nor does our bedroom.
weebleswobble From: weebleswobble Date: November 25th, 2015 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)
i'm with eleanor, dont let the neighbors know they won and made her move out of the bedroom. they wont see it as a conciliatory gesture. they will see it as a win. they get to keep doing their poor behavior, and you get to shut up and do nothing. they dont need to know that.

sometimes its the *right* decision, to let the other party win. to stop the conflict. to prevent things from escalating. such a decision is NOT an *easy* decision, not a happy decision, still though, sometimes its whats right for the situation.

but dont let them know you threw in the towel. let them still think someone is sleeping RIGHT THERE. it will affect their behavior at least a little to believe you guys still sleep there.
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