There is a long sordid history of why I
hate the subdivision I find myself living. Yes, it was a mistake to
purchase a home among the collection of arrogant and stuck up
individuals my family and I do our best to ignore but you know the
deal with hindsight.
Now the issues with the neighbors are
all my fault. And they revolve around my attitude and practices
dealing with lawn care and maintenance on the house. I do not obsess
over the greenness of my grass, nor really the composition of the
chlorophyll-using plant species that live within my territory. In
other words my yard has a multitude of weeds and I am fine with that.
Making matters worse, it was only at the beginning of last spring
that I had my irrigation pump replaced after it burned up two-years
The first year it was down we had a
decent level of rain that kept it within bounds. But the following
year I know my neighbors were cussing me up a storm. Because while
all their yards were a heavily chemically-induced emerald green, mine
had that post-apocalyptic brown, black, and gray color from lack of
water. See, in 2019 I was coming off my near death experiences with
my heart and lawn care for me and my family just wasn't on the radar.
And honestly another reason my
neighbors don't like me is because I simply do not fit into their
expectations of being a proper southern suburban gentlemen. My first
and most radical thought crime is my politics, since I'm an
Obama-loving, Hillary voting, tree-hugging liberal. From that
standpoint alone, it's a wonder my kids had any friends at all during
their school years. From my observations, the natives here get so
extreme Ronald Reagan wouldn't pass the current Republican acceptance
The vehicle I drive is also and issue
because all manly men here are required own a truck along the Ford
F-150-class are larger. Smaller trucks like a Ford Ranger are
passable but are snickered at by the big boys. My only transportation
is a mid-sized sedan so I'm already suspect even if the natives don't
see my “Riding with Biden” bumper sticker.
Understand, my wife does believe I
generally overreact and regularly tells me I'm the problem but a
couple of nights ago she had to side with me. Strangely enough, on
this particular incident, I wasn't the asshole, it was my cat. But
first a little background on suburban geopolitical situation.
While good fences make good neighbors,
having a row of Leyland cypress trees lining the entirety of the
section between my backyard and that of my neighbors was pretty much
heaven. With the those trees, the neighbors could have their pools
parties and I could sit out on my deck and read without either of us
knowing of the others existence.
But the Leyland got old and started
dying and a couple of tropical storms later several had fallen over
while others were leaning threatening to smash the fence or either of
the storage houses in the backyards. So I'm forced to have the trees
removed and now both that neighboring family and mine do our best not
look like we're gawking at the other when outside.
Here's the general scenario from my
point of view; say I have a fantastic book that I can't put down and
decide to go outside and read so I can enjoy the sunlight and fresh
air. As I open up my book to delve back into a universe with
starships, ancient alien civilizations, and rogue AI's, I discover
the neighbors are having a pool party. Something one of the previous
owners installed a few years ago.
Since my deck is about two feet above
ground level those neighbors can easily see me. Given the locals
suspicious nature, they assume I'm outside trying to catch a glimpse
of the moms sunbathing while their kids play in the water. Sound
easily echos off the houses so I catch more than half of their
conversation with one mom asking about the tall, weird looking guy
sitting on his deck.
I stay outside on the deck just long
enough to act like I didn't hear that. Not long later, I excuse
myself by acting like my cell phone vibrated and go back inside to
take the call.
Since that awkward spring afternoon
right after we had the Leylands removed, I am quite circumspect about
when I go sit on my deck. I harbor no hard feelings to the neighbors,
I did go outside while they were hanging out in the pool and
honestly, my sudden appearance was probably unsettling. See, over the
years many people have commented that my natural, neutral resting
expression looks a lot like a pissed off Clint Eastwood about to ask
some street punk if he feels lucky. This mainly comes from the fact
that I find most people ridiculous idiots but that statement expands
the scope of this essay far beyond what I intend.
So now that were brought up to the
present a couple of night ago my furry buddy, Knox the Cat, was
throwing a fit to get outside. It was a work night for me, I was
tired, and didn't want to spend the last thirty minutes or so before
I went to bed dealing with feline whining. I open the door leading to
the deck and let him slip outside. During that brief moment, I catch
a glimpse of the neighbors sitting on their own deck. I really
couldn't tell what they were doing, and as you might be able to
surmise I didn't really care.
I return to my nightly routine of
making lunch for the next day as well as loading the dishwasher and
sweeping the kitchen floor. Several minutes later I hear Knox making
strange sounds at the same door I let him out. Without thinking I let
him back inside only to see he had something large in his mouth.
Now it is quite common for Knox to
bring home a live bird or the occasional baby rabbit. Almost always
this will then mean I have to make a twenty-minute drive to the
nearest wild animal rescue center to drop off the hapless animal.
With Knox running around with something
in his mouth the usual household panic erupts. My wife runs off to
the bedroom, slamming the door to avoid the predatory horror. I in
turn chase the cat in a desperate attempt to save his prey. When I
finally catch the damn cat, I find his prize is not a live bird but
one that had been deep fried, probably twelve herds and spices.
Knox somehow has a fried chicken
drumstick, and after I take it away I discover its still warm and
fresh. Naturally, I have no idea where Knox obtained a piece of
Colonel Sander's finest, and he sure as Hell wouldn't tell me even if
he could. At that moment, I had one pissed off cat who didn't
understand why I was taking away his prize. The answer to that
question came to the front door about ten minutes later.
Before the knock at the door, I toss
the drumstick and return to prepping for the next work day. My wife
emerges from the bedroom and takes a seat in front of the television.
I'm in the bedroom when I hear the knock from the front door. I let
my wife deal with the person and whatever their business might be.
Being on the other end of the house, I
didn't catch the conversation between my wife and the visitor. But
since there wasn't any yelling or screams for my help , I didn't
think much of it. That is until my wife comes into the bedroom to
tell me the visitor was the backyard neighbor come to complain that
Knox the Cat had crashed their dinner.
From what my wife told me that group's
attention was diverted just enough for Knox to jump onto the picnic
table and grab the drumstick he brought home. In the process of
Knox's escape, he apparently made a mess of the table items and, if I
understood correctly, knocked over a pitcher of tea and the gravy for
the mashed potatoes.
I asked my wife if the neighbors wanted
some sort of apology or payment for the feline damages. She said no,
and made like the neighbor weren't “too upset.” Of course, given
my biases, the neighbor was being diplomatic and was probably highly
So now Knox the Cat is essentially
permanently grounded, or at least until the sore butts have a chance
to cool down. Since the weather is getting colder in a week or so
I'll let my smooth criminal slip back outside. There will be far less
of a chance that he could crash any outside dinner parties.