"Good fences.." And All That other Neighborly Stuff

Have I told you about our crazy neighbors? No, well let me fill you in.

Our first face to face encounter was a few months after we moved into our house. Neighbor lady (who originally bought our house in crack-den condition and sold it to jerkface who rehabbed it and sold it to us) came over to both greet us and convince us that we had bought in a great spot. Did I mention she's a real estate agent? I have a special distaste for real estate agents, and since I knew she fell into that category, poor neighbor lady had a strike against her before she opened her mouth. Anyway, she was in the process of gutting and redoing her house and wasn't living there yet. Back to the story, so one afternoon while checking on progress she came over to introduce herself and proceeded to point out all the houses which were full of people that we "just need to get rid of" to make the street perfect. It turned my stomach a bit when I realized that all but one of those people were black. Needless to say, my first impression was not so great.

I tried to remain hopeful as neighbor lady and her beau finished the work and moved into the house. I was excited because it all happened much more quickly than we anticipated. And truth be told, the less bark inducing hammering going on next door the better. But then they started work outside. Between the heavy handed landscaping out front and the array of fences that surround the compound, I can't say their house is pleasing to the eye. Seriously, there is not an inch of land left uncovered. It's like a nursery threw up in their front yard. It's filled with either shrubbery, trees, mulch or bizarre sculpture. And they have not one big ugly fence, but two. But, my mom reminded me, "Good fences make good neighbors." so, I tried to grin and bear it.

Apparently though they've drawn some attention since they've moved into the neighborhood. Their burglar alarm goes off pretty regularly. And it doesn't appear to be false alarms. I'm not quite sure if it started out as a personal vendetta or it's the house itself that is attracting the attention. But something is going on. Initially they didn't have any blinds or window coverings and their house is undoubtedly one of the largest on the street. Perhaps that is what is drawing crooks in like flies to honey? Or perhaps neighbor lady shared her hopes for the future of our street (you remember the racial purification?) with the wrong people... Whatever the reason, the attacks have become increasing more personal.

A few weeks ago, a pair of young men broke into their house and were caught by the police. Neighbor lady's beau testified against them in court and one ended up back in jail. A few weeks later the electric box was stolen from the side of their house in the middle of the night - I guess to cut the alarm. But somehow neighbor lady and her beau awoke during the robbery and noticed that the criminal had moved on to pouring oil all over their enormous, wooden, front porch. Seems the intention was to set it ablaze. (See what I mean? Not your average run of the mill burglar) I guess the arsonist was scared away initially, but waited a few minutes to return and try to finish the job. Upon his return, neighbor lady's beau got out his shot gun. He began firing "warning" shots into the night. I'm not quite sure what part of this story scares me the most.

1. We apparently now run the risk of getting hit by a stray bullet shot from a yuppie gun
2. We run the risk of being associated as friends of our neighbors and inviting this crap into our lives
3. That I slept through the whole gun slinging incident.

The days to follow included armed guards patrolling their teeny tiny lot and the installation of a video monitoring system. In the end, 2 awful things came out of that situation for us as neighbors. First, I had to hear about the whole drama from neighbor lady. She screamed the story at the top of her lungs from her front porch - probably more for the benefit of the rest of the neighborhood than for me - and essentially kept me from getting to work on time. But that wasn't the bad part. The bad part was that she was in a mini robe and decided to bend over to pick something up during the discussion. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I’m telling the truth. It really happened. And let's just say I know neighbor lady way more intimately than I had ever hoped to. And the second awful outcome is that we now get to enjoy looking at that sign from our dining room window. It's just a few feet away and I guess it's the perfect incentive to get some curtains hung in there ASAP.


Anonymous said...

might i suggest posting a sign of your own: "i am not friends nor ever will be friends with this woman!"
but, do not judge my people (meaning southerners) based on the x number of bad experiences you've had down here!

Amie said...

Holy Cow! That is absolutely crazy! now you would think that maybe all of this stuff happening to them would cause them to seek housing somewhere else (when i had a peeping tom in georgetown apts it was my cue to start the house-hunting process:not running from your problems is always the answer)but in the case of safety for your well being.....at least you have the almighty spike for your watch dog!

Paula said...

Wow. Kinda makes me appreciate the neighbors we have. Crazy grouchy old Polish lady (and I'm of Polish decent, so I'm not dissin' her 'cause she's Polish) has got NOTHING on your neighbor. I am truly sorry you have to deal with this woman on a regular basis. :(