We are fast approaching Christmas and I’d like to say I’ve been busy like Santa in his workshop but lately I’ve been frantic with Mac’s baptism plans. I’m still not convinced a good bath wouldn’t be sufficient to save his little soul but why take chances right?
Anyway, here’s a little story about an encounter I had with a neighbor when Mac and I ventured out for a walk the other day.
We live on a great block. People on this block genuinely care about their neighbors. They all do an excellent job maintaining their property. . .except for (apparently) me, and the two young couples that live on either side of me.
Our block boasts approximately 6 large, mature maple trees. I’m conflicted about the trees. Don’t get me wrong, I love trees. It’s just that they are messy, attract huge flocks of starlings, and their roots make a mess of the sidewalk. The messy part is the subject of this little tale. . .
When I exited our front door this particular afternoon, I noticed a neighbor two houses down sweeping a few leaves off his mother’s normally pristine sidewalk. This particular neighbor is maybe 45 and resides with his mother. He’s of average everything – height, weight, probably intelligence. He does however seem to excel at random ranting and anger. . .So he makes me a little nervous.
I asked him how he was? He replied with a sulky, growly, stabby “Not good.” His mother is just a peach of a lady so I was immediately concerned perhaps something had happened to her. Which is exactly how I became engaged in an insane conversation with this man who bears more than a slight resemblance to that hitchhiking psychopath in the movie “There’s Something About Mary.”
Turns out he was angry because the neighbor residing between the two of us, brought home a live Christmas tree the previous weekend and failed to sweep up his pine needles which were now blowing onto Crazy Neighbor’s Mother’s typically spotless sidewalk. Additionally, neither Christmas Tree Guy, nor me, nor Young Fun Couple on the other side of me had bothered to sweep up our leaves yet. However, I was absolved because “I had a baby.”
My sheepish response that I would certainly address the leaves (as I did have every intention of doing so before the Baptism guests arrived), was met with escalating disenchantment that went a little something like this:
An extended discourse regarding the cigarette butts left on Christmas Tree Guy’s sidewalk during the block party and why couldn’t they just “put them in a beer can like people have done since the dawn of time.”
This was followed by an accounting of the man who let his dog pee on the light post and Crazy Neighbor made him wait on his front steps for 15 minutes while he called 911. That’s correct in a city that has in excess of 300 murders most years, this nut called 911 because he thinks it’s illegal for a dog to piss on a light post.
Some guy across the street allowed his dog to pee on the our side of the street and why didn’t he have his dog pee on his side of the street?
The leaves oh for the love of God and all that is Holy the leaves! They stain the concrete. Don’t people realize this? They are a nuisance and must be dealt with immediately.
“Not to talk bad about people” but the block is in serious decline. People don’t care. The whole world is going to hell. It’s not like it used to be.
The block party will not continue next summer because someone stole a sign that was hanging on a tree down the block. The sign? It was a wood cut out of a dog pooping that said “No Dumping.” He was accusing Christmas Tree guy of ripping down the sign. Right. Two young, hip 20-somethings both of whom are gainfully employed would absolutely want a poorly painted wood cut out of a dog taking a shit.
I politely listened to this for at least 15 minutes. And here’s what I was thinking the entire time: Listen you ham-crazy fuck stick, my understanding is you collect disability and live with your mother. If you are so concerned about some leaves and pine needles and the resulting collapse of our society, then perhaps you should get your broom and do the neighborly thing and sweep them up. After all, these hard-working, busy, kind folks pay taxes. Those taxes likely cover your disability payments. So shut up and sweep already.
But I didn’t say any of that. In fact I didn’t say much of anything because once he was done with his insane rant, he turned his back on me and continued sweeping. No good-bye, no have a nice day, zip. . .
And the following day? I very quietly ventured outside and swept everyone’s sidewalk. Because if this idiot is correct and messy maple leaves do indeed equate to the collapse of society, I’m not taking any chances.