On my street, however, it seems I’m the only one bound by ANYTHING. I go to work every day, pay my taxes, and try not to irritate those around me. Not true of everyone else, apparently.
Here are some of my neighbors’ rules. – bear in mind while reading them that I live in a decent suburban neighborhood:
- The doggie leash law applies only to people who don’t have dogs. I actually had a neighbor tell me that the leash law did not apply to her because she had a SMALL dog. I checked the local statutes, and size of the animal is never once mentioned.
- Mufflers are for other people’s cars. At least two of my neighbors have cars so loud it nearly causes a heart attack when they start up, and then they leave the vehicles running in the driveway for an extended period of time. Again, there are local, and maybe even state, laws regulating how loud a vehicle can be – but, of course, laws of any kind simply don’t apply to my neighbors.
- Kids are to be heard, and heard, and HEARD – for at least 12 hours on any non-school day, no matter the weather, both in daylight and at night time. And, of course, there are to be NO ADULTS anywhere near the shrieking little princes and princesses. The adults are much too busy smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and watching TV, or leaving the kids alone while the adults run to the store for more cigarettes and beer.
- There must be a trampoline in the yard, preferably right next to my fence. That way, I can be treated not only to the additional constant shrieking – and occasional crying when someone gets hurt – I can also experience the very real fear that the already-shaky fence will be knocked over when someone flies off the trampoline. And, of course, adults are not allowed to keep an eye on the kids.
- No local laws concerning supervision of minors applies to the neighbors. I once had a neighbor whose 8-year-old son was a latchkey kid. While that is not allowed under local law, and of course it’s really not a great idea anyway, I tried to mind my own business. Until my husband came home early one day and discovered the little darling building a fire UNDER THE GAS METER at the neighbor’s house. The gas meter is all of about 10 feet from the side of our house. Police were called, and step-mommy had to come home and take charge.
- While open fires may be prohibited by the fire code, that code does not apply to the neighbors. And, of course, said fires must be located in such a way that all the smoke therefrom flows directly into my house, thereby preventing me from opening any windows during spring, summer and fall.
- If the neighbors have a pool, it must leak into my yard every, single year. Now, I have several neighbors with above-ground pools, and not all of them leak since some neighbors are actually considerate of others. However, at least two of my neighbors have consistently flooded my yard. Every year I have words with those neighbors, and every year they promise it will never happen again. Of course, neighbors LIE.
- If pool water flooding my yard isn’t enough of an annoyance, then the neighbors must build an ICE RINK in the winter. Of course, the ice rink must be a slap-up job made with plywood and plastic, so that when filling it, nearly all the water floods into my yard, where it then freezes over, making it impossible for me to let my own dog (when I still had one), myself, or my family into the back yard. And of course, come warmer weather, the ice in the rink must melt and drain directly into my yard.
- Local laws concerning flooding of other people’s property or noxious odors encroaching on other people’s property simply do not apply to the neighbors. See above.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I can’t get along with ANYONE – it’s just that I seem to have had more than my share of bad neighbors. This was brought home to me once when we were renting an apartment, and the obnoxious upstairs neighbor moved out – great relief to us! But several months later, we moved into a larger townhouse down the road – and guess who our new next-door neighbor turned out to be? Yep, the obnoxious former upstairs neighbor! At that point, I just figured God had it in for me somehow.
But there have been some wonderful people living near us.
- There was the lady in the apartment next door who helped keep me calm while awaiting arrival of the police officer who could jimmy my apartment door and let me back in because I HAD LOCKED MYSELF OUTSIDE WITH THE BABY INSIDE when I stepped into the hallway to check the mail.
- Years later, there was the elderly lady across the street that everyone loved, and who had no problem with one of my children running across to use her bathroom when ours was occupied by a family member who was having a “problem” (fortunately, that only happened once).
- During Buffalo’s October Storm, when we were without power for a more than a week, there was a neighbor who willingly drove to the “nearest” functioning gas station to pick up gas for everyone’s generators. And this was a neighbor we weren’t particularly chummy with.
- And of course, there are those neighbors who often help us out with snow removal during bad-ass WNY winters.
How about you, folks? Want to share your good neighbor/bad neighbor stories? Let me know – if they’re especially amusing or enlightening, I’ll be glad to post them.
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