Open Letter to Our Much-Beloved Landlords:
Oh, my! Upon returning home late this very afternoon, I was accosted by the self-appointed Neighborhood Conformity Madam y'all used to talk about. Sorry, but I ain't renewing any lease unless she moves first.
P.S. I had TOTALLY FORGOTTEN about the Bad Element.
P.P.S. I COMPLETELY understand why y'all moved.
I wonder just who she thought she was approaching, as I checked my own mailbox and minded my own business.
Did y'all know there's no law that requires regular crazy people to disclose the extent of their mental (ahem) eccentricities, quirks, etc. to their neighbors? I don't think SHE knows that, YET, but I do believe she will soon think twice before slowing down the SUV for a brief "word" with someone who can CLEARLY see that she lives in the house at the end of the dead-end street. I believe it's a safe bet that she's not the brightest speed bump in the county.
When I was informed I was being negligent with my garbage can placement, I immediately turned to look at the curb, assuming it just hadn't been brought back from the street yet today. No, it was in its usual spot, as per the accompanying photo I took after she drove off.
Apparently, SOME people think a city-issued garbage can in FRONT of the garage rather than three feet to the SIDE of the SAME garage (and EQUALLY visible from the street) detracts from the appearance of the entire neighborhood, and justifies a verbal reprimand from one total stranger to another. This is not the kind of neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association, complete with dues, bylaws, block parties, or an official Neighborhood Watch Program. Yet.
There are times when I find myself (I know some will claim this may be the biggest lie I've told today) ... speechless. This was one of those times.
I watched the "Boss of the Street" drive away, to her own plain little cookie-cutter house, four houses down on the other side of the street. Hers is the last house on this dead-end street. I've never seen any traffic TO or FROM her house. Apparently, it is HER PERSONAL mission that all the cans in the neighborhood be placed in a manner that is pleasing to HER when she drives past. (WHY the VERYVERYBADWORD does she even need to LOOK at my garage in the first place?!)
I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she's all about Feng Shui, but is ashamed of it. Don't be so embarrassed about Feng Shui that you act like a #(!@, people!
I watched her park IN her short DRIVEWAY, even though she has an enclosed GARAGE. I'm fairly sure this practice is going to appear quite high up on the list of what all ELSE is prohibited and mandated in the Unofficial Neighborhood Association Guidelines brochure she'll receive a copy of sometime next week.
Johnny, is that all she's won with her busybody-bossiness?
Johnny: Why, no, Skip, not at all.
I'm quite certain I saw a large ad in the bargain hunter's Penny Pincher publication next week:
FOR SELL by Owner. Stop by for FULL TOUR of House at Any Time, Day or Night!
FREE COOKIES and/or FREE KITTENS with every Tour! (Address listed, but phone # inadvertently left off.) The ad ends with the statement: We Must Be Crazy! Once in a lifetime chance! No background checks or credit checks. Free Zero-Interest rate Owner Financing! Leaving for a long tour with the Peace Corps in one month, and must SELL Now! Selling our house for the crazy low price of only $2,000!!
Skip: I bet they come by in DROVES, Johnny, if only to see and cuddle a whole bunch of free kittens while traipsing all over the $2,000 Dream House, late at night, or whenever their shift ends at The Secret Crack House.
Johnny: Don't forget the COOKIES, Skip!
Skip: Cookies, Johnny?
Johnny: FREE Dinner, Skip. Sometimes, Everybody WINS!
I'm sorry, Madam, but you brought this on yourself.
If my garbage can isn't where YOU WANT IT, you need to come move it. I ain't ABOUT to do it for you, and nobody else at this house is willing to obey you as if you were the Queen, the Law, or Me. I already asked them all. They don't like you, and I don't blame them one bit.
To paraphrase what Somebody Famous once said: In the morning WE'LL (probably) BE SOBER, but you're still gonna be RUDE. And OLD. And our garbage CAN is gonna be EXACTLY where it was when you suggested I move it.
I considered draping something over the can whose appearance is offensive, but I don't seem to have a large tarp handy. Wrapping it up like a giant present with wrapping paper and bows would make it more attractive until it gets wet or the wind picks up. We also thought about bringing the Christmas tree out and placing it in front of the offensive can, but we couldn't decide whether to plug in the lights or not. I may just put a gigantic flowery skirt on it, or paint the outside to blend in with the bricks of the house. At any rate, our can will soon be SO attractive that beautifying, and subsequently DISPLAYING prominently, your garbage can will be one of the most strongly "suggested" mandates in our Unofficial Neighborhood Guidelines.
*I'm posting an additional picture taken minutes later, of something less attractive, and much more highly visible (though weeks old, and "healing" now): muddy tire tracks on the lawn, right by the street, where I've backed down the drive and "missed." More than once. This is actually very embarrassingly unattractive, and strongly suggests that someone living here frequently drives while impaired (I don't, I just can't see the edges of the drive well because I'm short).
** I also instructed the other occupants of this house to line the street-facing windows (including the front door panels) with energy efficient aluminum foil! Pretty AND Practical! Just like all the big, ugly (only YOU will know they're fake) I Can't Believe They're Not Solar Panels™ we're gonna go ahead and install while she's at Evil Sunday School tomorrow.