Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Good Fences Probably Do Make Good Neighbors

Today my grumpy Russian neighbor was driving down the condo driveway as I was rushing to the Dumpster in my pajamas, with a large, newspaper-wrapped handful of dog poop that I'd just picked up outside. We never talk, she and I. Well, I take that back. One time when I was headed out for a walk with the dogs and the kiddo, I noticed her hose lying in the driveway as water streamed down to the street. I left it alone, figuring she'd just finished washing her car (against association rules, but whatever) and would shut it off shortly. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, we returned from our walk and the hose was still there, still running. I turned off the water and Mrs. Grump came storming out of her garage, berating me for turning off the water because she was still using it. Um, what? I told her I'd thought someone had forgotten about it because the water was just running down the driveway, and then I left her alone. That was my most significant interaction with her before today.

So she's driving by and I'm in a hurry to toss the poop before it somehow falls out of the newspaper and I have to recollect it, and she rolls down her window to lay into me about the dogs peeing in the plants on condo property. Um, what? There are four other pet owners in the complex besides me. I'd just taken the kiddo to school after a bumpy morning and I had about thirty minutes to shower and get to work, so I shouted, "I'm trying not to [let the dogs pee in the plants]!" even though I and everyone else couldn't care less about it. Then I just walked away while she was still talking. Straw, meet camel's back.

Of course, in the shower I imagined myself handling the situation a little differently, telling her she had a lot of nerve being critical of anyone's behavior, considering she never attends association meetings, put a nonregulation satellite dish on her balcony, refused to have the association's handyman make outside repairs to her unit (insisting on some other guy instead), and tortured her direct neighbor for years with loud fights with her husband (all of which could be heard through the shared wall). Sort Clint-Eastwood-slash-condo-association-president, minus the guns.

There's nothing like waiting until you're alone to say everything you wish you'd said to someone's face. Ah, yes.

In other news, while out with the kiddo this afternoon, I drove through a swarm of bees. The first time I did that, I was on a surface street and it was just A Little Weird, but today we were on the freeway and the bees thwopped rapidly against the windshield, which qualified as Downright Creepy. I almost swerved to avoid them, but realized in a microsecond how futile that would be. The kiddo, who is deathly afraid of bees, was engrossed in playing blackjack on my cell phone (we'll be taking up drinking after he gets the hang of gambling -- don't worry) and didn't even notice. I, however, was a little on edge afterward and jumped each time I heard anything that sounded the least bit buzzy. I've seen one too many specials on killer bees. Plus, I had a bee once in my car and I don't recommend it.

So that's the news from Lake WTF, where the women are apiphobic, the men are oddly distant, and the children are cute as a button and addicted to electronics.