Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Short-Distance Dedication

Tonight I'd like to dedicate a song to my rude, bullying neighbor across the alley (hereafter referred to as "Dude," or "Buck").

After we spent a whole weekend out in the cold last fall, trimming the laurels and pulling up blackberry and ivy, you had your gardener plant stupid common shrubs on OUR side of the alley without asking us, without telling us. We cleared out the English ivy that had been cascading into the alley and that you had ignored for 10 years so we could decide what to plant in the back of our yard, then suddenly there's a whole row of arborvitae in its wake.



What the fuck, Buck?

When I went to go talk to you about it, you yelled at me, telling me to pay for a property surveyor. I tried to show you government maps of our property lines, and you dismissed my concerns by waving your hand in my face, saying that "those mean nothing." I tried to leave them there for you to look at when you calmed down, and you yelled at me to pick them up and ordered me off your property. When was the last time someone ordered me off their property, I wondered. Third grade?

Dude, I think you literally scoffed at me -- if "scoffing" is a little bit like coughing, but with an arrogant little "huh" sound at the end. I asked you if you wanted your shrubs back, and you threatened to sue me. Oh, Dude. Oh, Dude, you should not have done that.

I kind of wanted to apologize. I wanted to say, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Have I done something to give you the impression that you can just fuck me the fuck over like that? Because that would be a grievous misrepresentation on my part."

But Dude, you forced my hand. I filed a complaint with the city. The city (rightfully) sided with me. You appealed. I filed a public disclosure request to get a copy of your appeal, then I submitted a two-page rebuttal (with six attachments).

It's been a very long time coming, but today I found out that the original ruling will stand, and you will be forced to remove those scummy arbovitae.

In a way, I'm glad this all happened. I used to care about your feelings, Dude, and I would have consulted you before undertaking any big backyard projects. But now I couldn't care less what you think.

So, Dude, tonight I'd like to dedicate "Friday Night" by Lily Allen to you.

There's a lesson that I want you to learn
That's if you're gonna play with fire, then you're gonna get burned

Don't try to test me 'cause you'll get a reaction
Another drink and I'm ready for action
I don't know who you think you are
But making people scared won't get you very far

Because, as the lady says, you can play this game with me, Dude, but you know you're gonna lose.


lisa said...

I feel your pain...I have horrid, ignorant neighbors like yours. I put up a fence, but now they tresspass when I'm not around and vandalize my gardens, so I need cameras which I cannot afford-YET. The trouble with bullshit is that it seems to just get deeper as you go! My current solution is to dub myself "Dr. Botanstein", and fight back with every thorny shrub and vine known to man...but they vandalize those to keep them short! Good luck with your war...I hope you win more than just the various battles!

JvA said...

Are your neighbors trying to protect a view from their property or something?

I have many suspicions about why my neighbor planted the arborvitae without our permission. And one of which is semi-understandable: that he wants to control the view from his front windows.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think the best way to work things like this out is to get together and discuss them. If he had come to us, told us how our decisions will affect him, asked if he would be willing to give him the courtesy of consulting with him before moving forward with long-term decisions, etc., we would have been happy to discuss how we might arrive at mutually beneficial solutions.

But he and his wife, and his next-door neighbor (who all have properties worth more than ours, and who all have the privilege of bordering greenbelt that will never be touched by anyone) have all been so ridiculously rude to us since the day we moved in. Dude misinforms us that the public alley is a private drive and that we have no right to set foot on it, yells at us, threatens to sue us, freaks out on us because we pulled up the ivy that was strangling everything else, etc.

Then there's also something a little bit galling about the fact that I spent so much time lopping back the jungle that my hands were swollen and I couldn't wear my wedding ring for weeks, and then they go and have their freaking gardener plant the arborvitae for them.

I feel like Dude has forced me into a position where I'm going to feel like a chump if I ever show any consideration for them. I guess that's just as well for us, since it frees us up quite a bit, but it's also kind of sad.

These is my first house, so these are all my first real neighbors. Before we moved in, I sort of envisioned being part of a real community, having a block watch, being invited to people's BBQs, etc. But people really keep to themselves around here.

The day we moved in, our nice next-door neighbor (who's lived there since 1954) came over to say hi, and he said it was the first time he had been in the house since like 1971. And that was pretty much the last time we had a conversation with him that lasted more than one minute.

I found out a guy down the street is also a coworker, so he's come over to a party we had once. And the sweet across-the-street neighbor invited us over to the big reception for his daughter's baptism, which was lovely.

I hope to make my front yard more social. Put some seating out there and hang out and get a chance to talk to the people who walk by in a more comfortable situation than the usual one, where I'm crouched on the ground, pulling up weeds in my grubbiest clothes, with my butt crack on display for all.

chuck b. said...

I felt my blood boiling. I'm so glad you won.