Monday, October 10, 2005

I hate your way, a little more every day.

Neighbors. You can't live with them, you can't shoot them.

When we lived in Cleveland we had good neighbors who we loved, who moved away and left us with this Indian medical resident and his entire family (extended family too). Residents have a bad reputation (among me) as neighbors because they are too busy to give a crap about their home. In the n = 3 residents I've known in the neighborhoods I've lived in, 100% of them have not taken care of their homes or yards. I know you're busy, but so are we. Give me a break. I felt guilty this year because we didn't plant any flowers in the front yard (very busy what with the whole thesis thing, and besides. Gardening = bugs + dirt, so I hate it). These people don't mow their lawns until the grass is a foot tall. Anyhow, Cleveland resident neighbor backed into the decorative lightpost next to his driveway and left it there (until we moved, so who knows whats going on with it now) seriously cockeyed and with the broken light on top covered with a plastic bag. Nice. Also, the yellow tent-like roof on their playset had blown off and was just left hanging for months (again, until we moved). There were weeds in their grass that would kill you. I actually cut my ankle on the prickers of one of these weeds once when I was getting in the car. However, in that neighborhood there really were no enforcable rules to deal with this kind of thing, so we just griped to ourselves.

When we moved to Durham, we were excited about our new neighborhood because we had restrictive covenants and architectural guidelines. Finally, some control!! Hurrah. We were the 2nd people to move into the neighborhood so we didn't really know how it was going to turn out.

Our next-door neighbors seemed good on paper (he's a realtor, apparently) but in real life? They totally suck. They have 5 or 6 trashy cars parked out in their driveway at all times, plus 1 or 2 (lately its only been the one, thank god) parked in the circle. They have a two car garage, just like the rest of us, but none of these cars have ever been parked in the garage because they use it as a rec room. They have a front porch where they store a bunch of crap. Like, I don't know. Inflatable pool toys. Toolboxes. Other crap. Since their garage is not useful for storage of garage-type things, these are stored in the backyard. When we are sitting on our deck enjoying an evening meal, or entertaining, or whatever, we get to look at their lawnmower, their fertilizer spreader, a random piece of white vinyl lattice, their grill, a broken picnic table. All stored in their wooded area. Which is nice. They have huge parties on what seems like a weekly basis, where they blast the music until the early morning hours, and have their friends (all of whom seem to own HUGE SUVs) park wherever they feel like.

I'm on the architectural review board, which is made up of what sometimes seems to be the only people who give a crap about the neighborhood. We end up being the ones who enforce the covenants (or at least bring violations to the attention of the homeowners association guy who sends out the letters). I've actually been slightly too lazy to do much about this, I generally complain to the other people on the board and find that they've already contacted the guy about these things. With our neighbors, I think we've only complained about the car in the street. We've done it more than once, and the car is still there. I haven't even said anything about all the junk, although that too is a violation. The other weekend they also bought a portable basketball hoop - also a violation (permanent ones are okay, but portable are not because they can be brought into the street). I don't understand these people who move in but seem to have never read the covenants. It seems to be about half of the neighborhood.

So this weekend, my dad was in town and we went out to lunch in the newly renovated American Tobacco Historic District (which by the way is WONDERFUL and I love. And if you come to visit us I'll take you there and you will love it too). When we got back, one of the huge parties were going on, and some classic stupid parking had been done by two of their guests. See, we live in a cul-de-sac. For some reason these MORONS think that when the driveway is full you just keep parking out into the culdesac. Not true. Here's an illustration of what the parking was like when we got home:

We are the green car. The two blue cars are the offending moron cars. The red car is that stupid red car that they ALWAYS park there. It didn't directly impact the situation, but I included it because I hate it.

So obviously, we can't get into our driveway. Brian (who was driving) initially decided that the way to deal with this was to lay on the horn. Which he did. I got annoyed because I thought I could handle it better, so I made him stop and I got out of the car. I should really know myself better, because I... how best to put this... totally lost my shit. I was yelling at them about how they were not the only people who lived on the street, although they obviously think they are, and how they're obviously quite skilled at parking cars on the curb (because of the stupid red car, which I pointed out) and how did this skill seem to fail them all the time? Etc. etc. All the pent up hostility towards them came flying out at these two stupid cars.

The cars got moved and we parked in the garage. Then we went for a walk. My dad said that he was slightly concerned when Brian's approach was to lay on the horn, so he was relived that I had decided to go handle it. However, then kind of thinking that maybe he should have done the handling. Not that this is not precisely what my father expects of me, because I mean, he's known me for 30 years. I didn't just get like this.

Brian says that I have an 'aggressive' personality. I think that word has a negative connotation. I definately have an 'assertive' personality. Aggressive means like, picking fights. I don't do that. But, I do not suffer fools gladly, as my mom says. I think that I just do not take peoples crap. In this case I agree that I did cross the line from 'assertive' into 'aggressive'. Oh well.


Heidi Ellis said...

Yikes! That's pretty nutty. First, I LOVE your illustration. I can totally picture it. Second, I'm not sure I'd be able to handle myself either. I think Matt's approach would have been the same as Brian's although after no response he probably would have parked in such a way to block those people in. Ha! That's what we call "passive agressive".

Either way I'm sorry about that situation. I'm surprised people couldn't figure out how to park along the curb. ?!?

patientgrl said...

You should come to Fayettenam Lisa! We've got the portable basketball hoops, at least 5 cars at every house, groups of people (I like to call them GANGS) walking down the street. The other day I saw a group of neighborhood kids digging through our neighbors' trash and playing with their findings. Yesterday, Justin helped a cop find the owner of a recently pregnant pit bull that had just attacked a lady's dog. Yea, I'm glad I'm moving soon.

Special K said...

OK, picture this: 4 cars, 2 jetskis, 1 45 foot boat, 1 30 foot boat, no garage, no shed. Welcome to MY house! OH! And stray, random cats! Cats wwalking all over my new car! I LOVE living here!

becky said...

Could you come and yell at my upstairs neighbors, Lisa? Apparently, they're raising a herd of nocturnal elephants up there. And one of them (I'm just assuming there's more than one, based on all the noise coming from up there) somehow managed to throw her keys onto my balcony while aiming for her (3rd floor!) balcony. Why you would want to throw your keys onto your balcony, I don't really know.

Karl Broman said...

I especially like the exclamation points on your car.