Just Don't Pick Your Neighbor's Nose

My issues about trespassing stem from early childhood. When I was five, the neighbor next door, Mario, walked over to our house and put his fist through our glass front door. All I heard was "BOOM" followed with, "Die dirty Jew."

For some reason, that ignited nightmares which continued for years. Surpassing Mario's life of squalor, ignorance, unhealthy fascination towards my mother and dalliances with the married woman living across the street whose cop husband was found in a bunch of Hefty bags strewn through five city boroughs.

Around this time, at the summer compound, hordes of strangers during peak season parked in our driveway and walked down our property. My father greeted them, "Can I help you?"


My father turned solicitous, a sign that murder was on the horizon. "May I ask why you're on my property?"

They said, "Your property? YOU own this place? We were told we've access any time because we're renting a bungalow across the street."

Several times we had to call the police. No, Dad didn't harm anyone. Au contraire: sometimes the trespassers turned belligerent and threatened my father in front of me, a five-year old! Because they couldn't believe their landlord would lie to them. They demanded access to our land and continued to spread their blankets on our lawn, opening up picnic baskets. Right in front of our kitchen window. You see, that sense of entitlement attitude was always around. I got my first dose fifty years earlier - as usual, way ahead of the curve.

I failed to mention my summer neighbors around the compound back then were a bunch of shitheads. They thought they were entitled to our land, too. As a matter of fact, one neighbor said to me three years ago, "I was just talking to X--- about what we're going to do with your property after you die."

"Die?" I said to this woman who resembles a man in drag. So much so, she frightened my cosmopolitan friends who came up to visit me.

"Is that a man or a woman?" they asked. What made the question even more daunting is that they're in the entertainment industry! Like film production, casting, etc. No strangers to what comes off the streets.

"It's a woman," I responded.

"Are you sure?" they asked.

"She had a bunch of kids."

"Are you sure?" they asked, shaking their heads. "That is one scary looking woman."

Back to my conversation with that one scary-looking woman, I staggered backward incredulous at the impact of her words. "Die?" I repeated while she described how she'll burn down my cottage and make my land a garden. I guess the value of my life was nil to this woman who never worked, but lived off her husband like a drunk parasitic tick, spending his money and possessing airs for never accomplishing a thing in her life. I don't even want to go down the path of her mothering skills. Let's say that the children, now adults, are not exemplary productive members of society.

Her friend, X--- said to me in passing, "She believes her kids are late bloomers." X--- laughed. Her kids, the same age, are productive members of society so she can afford to laugh.

I turned around to this woman known for her love of drink, pills and name dropping, "Who says I'm gonna go before you?" and walked away.

It was hopeful dreaming on her side stemming from jealousy. When they moved near me a decade or more earlier, her husband and I talked ad infinitum about my favorite topics: wells, pipes, insulation, tree removal and wildlife. He enjoyed talking to a woman who looked like a woman about men things.

Since then, I've many problems with this woman. While drunk, two years ago she staggered onto my property and accused me of drunk driving at eight in the morning. "You're gonna run over one of my children!" she wailed, barely standing.

"Which one?" I asked. They're adults now, but I couldn't figure out whether it was the one in rehab or the one in the lowest ranked community college in the nation. 

"You're a drunk driver! I'm going to call the police on you!" she threatened. As usual, I walked away.

Later that day our local constable, Ricky Radar, contacted me. "Keep your drunk neighbors away from me!" he laughed. "Great, you don't drink, you don't do drugs and all the substance abusers are after you. What is it about you?"

"Must be my charismatic charm," I replied.

Last summer she called DMV to get my car license pulled because I went deaf in one ear. I get a lot of strange phone calls from strangers. "Why is this drunk woman calling here all the time complaining about your deafness?"

"What?" I said.

I figured out why she was obsessed with my driving. It wasn't my driving, it was my car. My 15 year old jalopy with the three duct taped band-aids holding the bumper to the auto body offends her sense of the esthete. No porsche, BMW or mercedes here. Unlike her.

Actually, I manage to offend several other neighbors with their sense of esthete. They purchased rundown homes as seasonal get-aways and then burnt them down. Replaced with gorgeous million dollar estates which I like to dub, "McMansions." What I don't understand is why they put up houses and landscaping to resemble the suburban homes from which they escape. My community's transmogrifying to resemble Fairlawn, New Jersey. My 100 year old cottage is an eyesore to them. Just recently, I spoke about insulation with another neighbor. He came up twice the prior winter and each time he saw me, he chuckled, "What? You didn't freeze to death yet?"

I laughed. "Sorry to disappoint you. Actually it's 72 at all times inside," I let him know. That's because it was a mild winter. I didn't have the heart to tell him that that occurred only in the living room. The bedroom was a freezer. It was brutal.

"This winter I'm putting 4" thick sheets of foam board around the perimeter of the cottage, a gift from friends. And supplemented with hay around the entire house."

"Hay?" he screeched. "Mice live in hay." No doubt he was thinking of his market value. He invested millions of dollars in his hamlet. For some reason he hardly has any windows facing my side.

"Not in winter," I let him know. He should be thankful I don't put the frig out on the porch for the entire effect.

This past summer, my interactions with the scary woman ended on a dime. THANKFULLY. Her conversations were so fucked up, I gnashed my teeth. Did I happen to mention I'm extremely polite? BTW - I've no fear they'll read this blog posting. Or anything I write. Similar to other people who cross my path, they'll never purchase any of my books or show a scintilla of interest. But they'll brag to their friends that they know an author! Sigh.

Getting back to the story - I was on the phone in my kitchen shouting to a friend while washing dishes. I've no volume control, another symptom from my neurological deafness. You can hear my voice for miles. Yes, I can use the phone for limited periods of time with one ear until either the caller or I end up in frustration and then resort to online chat. That window overlooks a small patch of trees. Behind that, hundreds of feet away, is her sundeck. And, that morning, filled with some of her successful adult children. No, it wasn't empty. Ha ha. Some were sitting in there.

I was upset that a long-term acquaintance ended our 'friendship' because I didn't believe in something political. I don't know why I have to share identical thoughts with people, but at any rate, the woman defriended me on FB. I screeched on the phone, "She's a fucking New Jersey housewife who doesn't work!" Just as the words left my mouth, I realized, "OMG, those idiots will think I'm talking about their drunk and pill popping mother!" Especially when the noise from that area abruptly stopped.

Evidently, they did. She never spoke a word to me since. I should've said that YEARS ago!!

Growing up with Mario in winter and shithead summer neighbors, well, yes, I got issues with trespassing which took the form of horrible nightmares where tons of cars parked in my driveway and people ran down my lawn and pitched tents. I had one last night. Geesh.

Incidentally, I still have trespassers. 99% of them are wildlife although intermittently I have to shoo away people. I tell them, "You know, my neighbors have finely landscaped property that you'd enjoy far better than this." 

My sense of injustice came to a head in 1999 when I lived in San Francisco. I purchased a duplex loft one-bedroom house with two baths, part of a 12 apartment deluxe building. Difficult to describe without venn diagrams. Basically, the developer bought a lot facing an avenue that narrowed as it extended onto the other side to one building which faced an alley. He incorporated the little building into the bigger development. And I purchased that apartment/house. A parking spot came with it. A plush parking spot. The only problem was that I didn't own a car.

Well, once my 11 neighbors realized I didn't own a car, that was their parking spot. I fought with them because I did rent cars quite frequently and had no where to park. They felt entitled to my spot and had their friends and family use it. I had to park my car in the center of the garage, go to their apartments, fight with them for a few hours until they would move it. Sometimes in the middle of the night when I returned from a business trip. 

That drove me crazy. It drove me even crazier that they saw no problem with using my space. And, once when I dropped garbage off in the garage, I caught them in a heated dispute amongst each other about using my spot. It turns out my coveted spot in the garage was a hotly contested argument for each one wanted it for their family and friends. 

A year and a half later I sold the place, got the hell out and returned to New York. I heard through the grapevine the new owner has tons of problems about his parking space. 

And he owns a car. 

# # #

This blog and its posts are a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Anonymous said...

A few years ago I stayed in lake 'cabin' in central Vermont. The actual cabin had been torn down a few years ago and was replaced by a four bedroom bungalow with a oversized fireplace in an oversized living room and a dining/kitchen area with sweeping views of the lake. Beautiful. And all the folks who remembered the old place spoke continuously about just how much better the old run down place was.

maura stone said...

Evidently they never had to contend with mice, frozen pipes, wind gusts through cracks and toilet seats that move up and down with the shift of ice. I love it & embrace it. The joys of country living. Also fodder for future blog postings.