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People People We-re All The Same No We-re Not The Same Cuz We Don’t Know the Game

Came home today, after a lovely day of strolling, errands, then strolling some more, to an oddly open door (yes, yikes, I thought I locked it but got spacey and locked it not, I guess), and more worrisome, a yellow piece of copy paper in my mailbox.  The yellow piece of copy paper in my mailbox was the remnant of a visit from the Health Department (duh-duh-dun-dun!).  From their cryptic scrawlings I gathered that they were responding to a complaint of a dog off a leash.  (What?? Whose dog?  Better not be near my dog!  Oh, wait a minute, they’re talking about my dog!  Wait!  What?  When was my dog off the leash?  Who snuck into my house and let my dog off the leash?  Oh, no one.  Hey!  What?).  Yes, they reported on the official yellow copy sheet that they were responding to a complaint of a dog off a leash in a public place (duh-duh-dun-dun!), that no one was home – good thing they didn’t push the door or lean on it for that matter – and  … that … they … heard .. a “LARGE” dog barking (now, how do you know a dog is big from its bark?), but that there was no dog observed in a public space off leash “AT THIS TIME.”  They, apparently, will be back for more of nothing to report.

So what this means is that one of my neighborly neighbors complained, I presume, because I had my 50 lb. 8-year old mutt (not a “Large” dog, or threatening or scary or in any way intimidating, no matter what kind of grunt-growl she could try to muster these days) with me while I was gardening.  She was on my private property, my front yard, and was barely even visible from the sidewalk.  So I don’t see how any passerby might complain of a “dog off leash in a public place.”  Might not have been my dog.  Could’ve been someone walking by with a dog off leash.  But, honestly, I know better than that.  I know that I have a particularly nasty neighbor who’s been giving me the hairy eyeball since I started making my presence in my little plot of native plant land.  And I know this neighbor who’s got a black heart and ain’t got a good thing to think about the world or to do with the day the Lord gave them than to call 311 about an innocent pet who lazes, nearly hidden, in the back grass while I uproot same from the front part of the yard.  Sorry we’re so offending, lady.  Sheesh.  Some people can’t stand for anyone to have any fun.

Thankfully, I’ve got other cool and kind folk around me to remind me that every block, like every family, has one of these.  A Miss Spikey.  These are the people who slash gashes in their perfectly good furniture before setting out so no one else can have it, who have a motion-detection sprinkler system that sprays anyone passing too close to their yard (it’s Brooklyn for Pete’s sake!  Not Jersey!), who rhetorically asked my sweet little neighbor friend just who she would sue when her little son, who innocently had climbed up to look at her yard, would get his chin impaled on her fence?  This is Miss Spiky, the same one who made my life a miserable hell when I moved to this neighborhood by calling the authorities to complain about anything and everything: my dog would bark.  He pooped in the backyard (my backyard, mind you!).  My trash was set one inch over the dividing line.  You name it.  All this, and other nonsense.

So here I am just beginning to feel good about climbing out of my lonersome shell on this block, and was feeling mighty nice about my little contribution to the nabe’s aesthetics, and really liking how my little garden was swaying just so, and really standing up tall and proud, until suddenly my good mood’s impaled on the thorn of Miss Spikey.

QUESTION: Do I turn the other (ass) cheek or call 311 to complain that I’ve got a bitch on my block who’s on my last nerve?

3 responses to “People People We-re All The Same No We-re Not The Same Cuz We Don’t Know the Game

  1. Ralph ⋅

    I had a couple similar incidents on my block right after the ‘anonymously call 311 with complaints’ started. Sad to say I believe things like this will be getting much worse. There are always people with nothing better to do than snoop on their neighbors and make problems. Now the government is pushing the ‘if you see something report it’ campaign. Sounds like a good idea, until someone with a grudge against you reports anonymously that you are manufacturing drugs or explosives in your house and big bro knocks down your door, rips apart your house, and carts you off to jail as a terrorist in the name of national security.

    As for your problem, I would just wait a while and do nothing. Your snitch may just get bored, move on, and make someone else miserable. If you are sure you know who it is just try to be friendly and say hi when you see them. If they persist and you see them peeking through their window at you or something like that loudly say hello and wave at them. Maybe they’ll get the message that way.

    When a friend of mine moved into a new apartment I saw the ‘older’ people sitting outside. First thing I told her was to occasionally talk to them and always be nice. Sorry to generalize, but people like that watch everything and talk about everyone. They are the rumor mill on steroids. I know- I had some aunts, uncles, and grandparents who did just that. Yes, I know not everyone who sits outside gossips (some sit at their windows).

  2. Good advice, fellow revelers. Now here’s a little follow-up anecdote, hopefully to karmically balance my lil rant. When I very first moved into the neighborhood, an old man was living next door (a nonagenarian, I believe). I was still then in my twenties-ish, and crestfallen when I discovered who I’d be sharing walls with (it’s a row house, though I’m sure the real estate agents have come up with a better word for it). Anyway, I had a party shortly after I moved in and, though I tried to keep the noise down, my friends were happily boisterous and we sang songs and played guitar on my upper deck till the wee hours of the morning. The next day, I saw Wes, my old-man neighbor and quickly began my apology for all the raucous revelry. He shushed me and said he was laying in bed, listening to us and thinking about when he was young, and it was wonderful. I was shocked, and pleased I’d been so wrong and too quick to judge him. My Miss Spiky down the block’s at least a generation his junior. Too bad she didn’t bother to learn a little from him about human kindness before he left. He once told me the woman who lived in my house way back when (he grew up in the neighborhood, btw), had a peach tree growing in the backyard. Thanks to him, I put one back there myself about four years ago, and it’s been giving me beautiful peaches ever since. As for Miss Spiky and in the meantime (pun intended), I’m gonna sit back and let karma make the call.

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