Thursday, July 10, 2008

Airing Laundry In Public

Disclaimer: This post lacks much tact and borderlines, if not crosses the boundary into pure gossip. In fact, this post is very immature. I believe that every man has an adolescent living in him; perhaps that's why I'm posting this.

Background: My neighborhood is somewhat uppity. Maybe a better word is wannabe uppity. Or even better description would be, others think that we're uppity. Yeah, that's really how it is. We're just regular folk - like the name of this blog. By US standards, my house and the other houses here are kind of regular, somewhat humble. (What we do have better than US houses is that our houses are made of 100% concrete - which rocks!) Our houses are just much smaller than US middle class houses.

The neighborhood behind ours sits somewhere between ours and zero on the "neighborhood class" spectrum; so the folks from there have hinted to me. I've heard people specifically make distinctions between my neighborhood and the one behind ours (and most of those folks happen to be from the neighborhood behind ours). The funny thing is, if you get on my roof, you see that it really looks like one neighborhood - us with them as one. In fact, the back wall of my house touches the back wall of the house in the neighborhood behind mine.

The Story: A new family moved into the neighborhood. Great! New neighbors! So I try to be friendly, maybe too friendly. I'm careful to always say hi and talk with them, engage in small talk - you know the general kind of stuff to make people feel welcomed. Then one day, to everyone's dismay the Mrs of this family started doing this to the vacant lot in front of her house:

WHAT THE HECK !!!!????
This, actually is a more pleasant photo. At times we can see clothes that you really shouldn't just do stuff like this with. So, my wife and I talked about this for 2 or 3 weeks. I told her, that I would politely speak with this lady to get her to stop this practice. But every time, I tried to bring the subject up, I just chickened out. Finally after having enough, my wife politely brought the subject up with her. I was not present, but she assured me that she chose her words carefully and tried to be as polite as possible. The translation of a cut of what transpired is that my wife mentioned to her that it was somewhat ugly and we should do all that we could do to keep the neighborhood looking nice. This lady responded that her daughter also said that it was ugly and that she shouldn't do it. So great, my wife is on the same page with this lady's daughter. (It's also worth mentioning that the word "ugly" in this case might be better translated as "not so nice".)

That evening, I was playing soccer with my kids in the street. This lady left her house probably to get something from the grocery store around the corner. I waved, but she was obviously very bothered and ignored me. When she got back, she called me over. Her story and the story that my wife had of their conversation were very very different. Amazing. In her story, my wife used very strong words and was very belittling of her.

So what to do? I assured her of our genuine aspirations to maintain peace with her and her family and at the same time I firmly sided with my wife's stance of keeping the neighborhood looking nice as well as questioning whether she used "feo" or "HOR-I-BLE!!!" ("ugly" or "HORRIBLE!!!").

Lesson Learned: For me, this was a very eye opening culture experience. This lady would've rather that we gossiped about her behind back, even going as far as posting this on the internet than have us confront her face-to-face to complain about an issue that we had with her. I'm over 35 years old and I never quit learning. This one experience helped shed light on a lot of things for me of which I will not get into here.

So, what happened? Well, she keeps putting her clothes out there on the fence of that vacant lot. Not that much now, but in defiance she still does it.

As for me, the adolescent in me thinks its kind of funny and does not run out of ideas of what to do about this. Unfortunately, I haven't acted out on any of those childish prank ideas that he keeps coming up with, yet. I think its the mature adult in me that's keeping that adolescent in check. But, wait! I didn't tell you, that there's an old man in me who's in his late 60s who agrees with that adolescent; so its hard to say how this is going to play out.

I know everybody hates those neighborhood associations micromanaging people and lording power over folks; but we sure could use one here!


lcloudt said...

Maybe you should take down the fence. Or if you can't stop them, join them.

General Ledger said...

I've got to go with 12:30.

You should put some items out next to hers. Provacative at best...

I'll run this by the lost boys for more ideas.

Anonymous said...

Steal the close and give them to a nearby homeless man.

Anonymous said...

Steal the clothes and give them to a nearby homeless man.

kevinc said...

Anon 1:39,
We have thought of stealing the clothes. But the idea of donating them to homeless has not occurred to us. That is a brilliant idea. In fact, we had an urban outdoorsman type show up in the neighborhood last week. Apparently he was in another dimension at the same time as he was throwing rocks and yelling at people that I could not see.

At any rate, perhaps we'll follow up with your suggestion and donate the clothes to him - should he show up again.

Anonymous said...

How attractive is your neighbor?

kevinc said...

LOL, oh man, I'm tempted to sneak a picture of her and post it up here, but that'd be going to far. Lets say that she's akin to somebody's Aunt Bessy.

T2H said...

I, having dealt with many annoying neighbors, have become somewhat of an expert on suburban warfare and terrorism. The majority of my experience has been acquired while living in my current place of abode, a lean-to in the ghetto west of Calumet.

During my habitation here, I have deployed and been witness to methods and tactics that have a proven track record of getting ones point across in the most explicit of manners.

The following list is a few of skirmishes that have taken place in the Ghetto of Calumet.
• The Forked Yard
• Musical Tables
• The Desecration of UGA
• Scaredy Cat
• Psycho Ficus
• Where’s the Poop Sign
And of course my favorite
• Pin the Bra on the Mailbox

If you would like any specific information on any of the aforementioned missions please go to the pay phone booth located at your local Wal-mart and call the phone number hidden in this post. Let the phone ring 13 times and hang up. Immediately go into the store and buy a copy The Fair Tax by Boortz & Lender. I will be in touch with you within 3 days with further instructions.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble, you could take her golfing and simply kick her as on one of the T boxes on the back 9. I understand you are well versed in that.


General Ledger said...

Below the belt! brings back bad memories...

Thanks 2H

lcloudt said...

I know a couple of kids in your neighborhood who would probably like to play "dress-up" with the clothes. Or maybe your wife can sell them to her clients?

T2H said...

Well General Ledger after reading the disclaimer:

"This post lacks much tact and borderlines, if not crosses the boundary into pure gossip. In fact, this post is very immature."

I figured anything was fair game.

Five-O said...

Check with the governing authority of your area and see if they have any codes or local odinances that prevent this.

You may attempt to contact the owner of the vacant lot and let them know of the seedy behavior occuring on their property.

Place a bag of dope in one of her pants pockets and then call the local malitia that you have a doper next door.

Place a note in the cloths that her husband will find that implicates her in a trashy affair.

Put pepper in her panties...

Five-O said...

Throw bird seed underneath her cloths and the birds will take care of the rest;)

Joel Odom said...

I second Five-Os idea. Plenty of bird seed around where she hangs here clothes would solve the problem.

kevinc said...

I like the Birdseed idea! This is a great brainstorming session. Thanks

Anonymous said...

My own adolescent inner voice wants to see the pics of Aunt Bessie's "unmentionables".

Unless my eyes decieve me, this womans fence / clothes line is right up against the sidewalk, looks like about 3 feet to the curb. If you really wanted to get to the root of the matter without butting heads with the neighbor, attend a city council meeting and tell them that you need a road sign installed in the yard at that exact spot. It can be anything that might apply to the surrounding traffic conditions (Tractor Crossing, Caution Imbreeders Ahead, Neighborhood Sheep Watch, e.g.).

When they come out to install the sign, the state will kindly inform your neighbor that she is not allowed to have any permanent structure within 6 feet of the curb, since this is technically considered City Right of Way property for just that reason. You might also be able to make an argument with the city council that she is in violation of a city easements that requires a clear line of site around the immediate vicinity of an itersection (if she happens to be on a corner). If she has filed for the appropriate permits to build the fence in known violation of the City Right of Way property, you're scewed. Otherwise, this action may only result in her moving the fence back 3 feet, but at least it's a start.