Word from the western front arrived early. It was going to be a “heat advisory” kind of a day. We hunkered in our bunkers and prepared for the worst. I put on a pair of clean tighty whities. Because:
To brine thine own self be true.
–Tom B. Taker
I was already looking forward to the salt water sores in my private areas. You know what they say. “Fight ’em over there or in your underwear.” Like always I choose the latter.
Sunday night the neighbor set up a table saw in his front yard. He ran that sucker until 11:36 pm. On a work night. I kid you not. I believe this is the exact storyline of the movie Saw.
Even more table saw. It was all squee … squee … squee … when the hours were wee.
What every happened to politeness? Basic manners? Please and thank you? All as dead as my peace of mind and peace and quiet.
Two nights of noise in a row. The urge to fling poo was becoming unbearable. Somehow, though, I was able to hold on.
But, little did I know it at the time, those two nights were merely flanking feints. The best was still yet to come.
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Audible Ejaculations #graph
Television commercials used to employ this rather snarky trick. (No doubt they still do, but I eschew commercial-based television so I don’t really know. I’d rather chew off my own leg and/or mate with Miley Cyrus.)
The trick worked like this:
You’d turn on the TV and select a show. You’d adjust the volume to a reasonable and comfortable level for watching the show.
Then, a commercial would come on and the windows would get blown out of your house. Shellshocked, with blood leaking from your ears due to the burst eardrums, you’d scrabble in vain for the remote control and fail. But it didn’t matter because it was already too late.
Like always, advertising is a subtle business with a deft touch.
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I’m Starfleet and Starfleet doesn’t lie!
COMPUTER: Working. Private Tom B. Taker. Serial number ABY-7734-Neg. Verified.
So what follows is the truth.
COMPUTER: Subject relaying accurate account. No physiological changes.
Gee, thanks, computer! I appreciate the endorsement!
COMPUTER: Subject in error. No endorsement was implied. Non sequitur. Error. Error. Error.
Dammit, man! I’m a failure, not a negativist! Or is that the other way around?
Anyway, most folks don’t know about Starfleet’s Processed Air Training (PAT). It’s a critical part of Starfleet Academy that must be successfully completed in order to graduate. It’s just like that scene in An Officer And A Gentleman where candidate Sid Worley can’t count cards in the decompression chamber. Yes, he’s got the moves like Jagger! But that doesn’t make him officer material.
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I remain convinced that selling something is an inherently dishonest act…
What was once 20 acres of land containing beautiful, functional and open spaces and a single family home was turned into a housing development by a contractor and home builder. The residential neighborhood that resulted was more compacted than my tooth is impacted.
The land was developed. That almost makes it’s sound like a good thing. “Holy shit, Bob. Your land is completely undeveloped. You got yersef a situation there, padner. Better get on it.”
Development is the process of taking natural land and converting it to hardscape. How many units per acre is the name of the game. Three single family homes on one-third acre lots? Decadent.
Four residences on quarter-acre lots? Better.
How about 8 to 9 small houses with 5,000 square foot plots? No, 5,000 sq. ft. is not the heated living space of the home. That’s the size of the entire lot. And there’s not a lot of it.
You got a weird shaped lot that won’t divide up nicely? Cram a fucking flag lot in that hole and you’ve got yourself yet another unit.
I’ve heard grown men stand in city council meetings and whine like you wouldn’t believe. “If I have to put in city standard streets it’ll cost me some units. The streets in my project should be 12 feet wide. If I have to meet code it’ll mean less units. I need a variance.” They manage to conjure up actual tears. Hollywood has got nothing on a city council meeting. “Why does a fire truck need to turn around in a cul-de-sac, anyway? If the houses burn down I can always build more.”
“Why do I have to put in sidewalks? On both sides of the street? And a planter strip? With trees? Come on!!!”
I have to admit. Some of the houses looked pretty good, like they had been placed by the magical cookie cutter of life. The same floor plan repeated ad infinitum yet with different flourishes so the neighborhood didn’t look too monotonous. At least not at first blush.
The obscenities got built and the people lined up to overpay and have the walls of their home 15 feet from the walls of their neighbor’s home. Since they were just about the only units on the market, they moved pretty much like pancakes and the developers could claim, “We’re only giving the people what they want.” Why then did so many purchasers bitch about the facts of life in their new neighborhoods? I guess they weren’t in on it since they never really had actual choice. It wasn’t like they could buy the one-acre lots on the other side of the street.
If there was one thing a developer knows, it’s curb appeal. It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to look good. At least until the deal clears escrow. Stick in some plants, any old plants, and call it “landscaping.” Most of them would be dead in less than a year. Absolutely no care or thought was put into what types of plants would be viable based on climate, sunlight, etc. But they sure looked good when it was time to sell the home. The same with the fence. The same with the kitchen cabinets. There will always be some settling, they say. You didn’t expect your doors to open and close, did you?
In those planter strips they shoved in some trees. Within two years a lot of those trees would be stone cold dead.
What else can you say about an industry where every corner cut increases your profit and superficial adornments make the money move faster?
At the end of the block was “Phase 3.” It was a big vacant lot. You figured they’d build there some day. Then the bubble popped and that lot just sat. Phase 3 got put on hold. And that lot sat, was forgotten, and became completely overgrown. Was the developer around to make it look nice? Take a little care in his neighborhood? Look out for his customers? Maybe take a brush hog to it once a bloody year? No. Not unless the City finally ordered him to do so.
Where was the developer, anyway? I sure saw him a lot in city council meetings. After building hundreds of homes down a busy street, the city was forced to pay to put in a traffic signal because the intersection had become dangerous and neighbors were dying in traffic accidents. The developer was there to complain about the charges, a mere drop in the bucket he’d been asked to pay, monies that would be set aside to pay some of the costs incurred by the city (aka the neighboring residents) by his development. These fees are known as SDCs (System Development Charges). He was complaining that the fees were too high for him to bear, and the city council, loaded up with bankers, realtors and businessmen, listened hard. You could say they were a very receptive audience.
SDC fees (also known as impact fees) may help to assist in the development of needed parks, schools, roads, sewer, water treatment, utilities, libraries, and public safety buildings to the newly developed area. Without these fees, developers pocket more profits and the city and residents are forced pick up the tab long after the developer is gone.
It sure was rough for Mr. Developer. Even with those damned development fees he owned the most expensive
house mansion in town. I guess that’s why he was groveling to the city council like Oliver asking for more gruel. We saw the pictures of his $15 million home on the internet (complete with private underground cave pool) when he was getting divorced and had to list it on the market. Yes, this was truly a man deserving of government subsidies. Maybe he needed another house just like it?
If I was successful enough to own a $15 million mansion I sure as shit wouldn’t spend my free time in city council meetings asking for even more at the cost of my fellow citizenry. I’d be out enjoying the good life.
The landscaping has since died out. The dead trees still line the streets too narrow for the homebuyers to drive on. And that giant empty Phase 3 lot sure is an eyesore. I think it may be where the next season of Survivor is going to be played.
Why didn’t I ever see any of this shit on the board game of Life when I was growing up?
Park as I say, not as I park
Thankfully the asshole neighbors are long gone. We never give those pieces of a shit a second thought.
Somehow, one of them remained behind. A woman with a red car apparently knew the neighbors across the street and when the house next door vacated, she merely started hanging out there. Her car never really left our neighborhood.
That red car became a fixture on the curb right in front of the house belonging to our neighbors on the left. For once a dump by the Universe missed me! It took of out my neighbor as collateral damage instead.
If that red car was parked in front of my house 24/7 week after week I would have been livid. The car never moved. Maybe once every couple of weeks or so.
Apparently my neighbor was mad, too. He put a note on her car one day and, out of curiosity, I took an innocent little peak at it. Yep, he was mad. Just like I would have been.
Eventually the people across the street moved out, too, and the woman with the red car apparently had to go freeload somewhere else. Awww.
Today my wife was chatting with our neighbor and got filled in on some of the details. He said that after he’d left his note the woman had retaliated with a note of her own. Her note said that she had checked with the city cops and it was legal for her to park in front of his house, so she wasn’t about to stop.
His wife finally had enough so she went across the street to take care of things. She talked to a woman to turned out to be the mother of the woman with the red car. Finally, the story was told.
You see, it turned out that the mother didn’t want her daughter’s red car parked in front of her house so she ordered the daughter to park it elsewhere, like in front of our neighbor’s house. Anywhere was fine as long as it didn’t impact them. Pissing off the neighbors? Fine and dandy. Yes, we don’t want our own car impacting our own view now, do we? Our shit should always be someone else’s problem and never our own.
That house is vacant now and new neighbors are on the way. Anyone want to lay odds on if they are assholes, too? The sports book is now open.
A neighborhood miracle
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! You love me, you really love me. I want to thank the universe for this incredible gift. I never thought this could happen to me. And there are so many others I want to thank. Thank you to the homeowner’s association, my landlord, and of course my wife for standing by me during the dark times. It was a struggle. And, I have to thank the neighbors. Without them none of this would have been possible. Everyone, please remember. Dreams can come true!
I may never win an Oscar, but who cares? I’ve already received a gift much more precious. As far as I can tell my work on this planet is now done.
What can I say about my neighbors that hasn’t already been said? Of course they are dim. They are obnoxious as hell. There were eight people living in that house, most of them not even on the lease, and a dog they never told the landlord about. (The dog was famous for poop in the backyard, which, of course, they never picked up.) They routinely paid their rent 20 days late. The man of the house was on “disability” leave from work (he fell down stairs on the job) but partied his ass off every single night. The place was busier than Grand Central Station with umpteen cars parked out on our narrow street 24/7 and people living in the driveway. That was their hangout where they’d drink, smoke, ignore their kids and eyeball us every time we went in and out of our house.
We knew their days were numbered but my brain never fully accepted that this day might come. Well, it actually happened.
The neighbors have moved out!
However, they didn’t exactly go gently into that good night. I guess they couldn’t help but leave some spore behind as proof that they once existed here.
When I walked out on my driveway this morning, the garage area was naturally the first thing I examined. Miraculously the door was closed! I didn’t even know it could do that. The second thing I noticed was there were no cars! Not in the driveway and not on the curb. Wow. How extremely odd.
I did notice their trash cans were still out on the curb, though. Those poor abused cans had already been through so much, being stuffed overflowing week after week. Garbage pickup was yesterday morning so they should have been put away by now. And the neighbors were in their driveway last night so they could have taken care of that. Apparently they opted to leave them out. After all, why should they have to bother with them when they can be made to be someone else’s problem?
As as expert tracker (and a trapper) I looked for other signs of neighbor spore. I noticed they left the outside lights on. Nice. And for bonus points one of the bulbs was burned out. Double nice. I guess that will be the landlady’s problem.
What was that? Something on the roof caught my eye. I moved in closer to take a look. It was some sort of toy they left behind. Nice. Again, someone else’s problem now.
While there I noticed the front yard. The lawn was left in terrible condition. Big divots of wasteland left behind in a sea of yellowish dying grass. Nice.
I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs of what the house looks like empty. In my old age I’ll never ever need Viagra. I’ll just pull those suckers out to get in the mood…