Sunday, September 13, 2009


My neighbor has decided that fencing her back yard will prevent people from stealing their things.

This is after her son left his bike out in the side yard for three days and three nights and it got stolen. Part of the time, it was laying in the ditch out by the road. Let's face it--you might as well have put a sign on it that said, "Take me."

Of course my kids were questioned by the police, as they are black, and my neighbor knows about black people. Yes, I didn't see them with a strange bike, as I pointed out, but maybe they hid it in the woods; besides, we all want to believe our children, so maybe they said their friend gave it to them. First, no one knows better than I do that kids lie (for some of mine, it is when their mouths are moving), and second, I would question immediately why there was a strange bike here, and third, my kids don't go in the woods without supervision; besides, ever since the marijuana got planted back there, their father the ex-miltary guerilla travels through regularly to make sure everything is on the up and up, and although he, too, is a minority, he did not secrete the bike back there either. Not to mention that not even my impulse challenged kids would take a bike from the neighbor's yard fifty feet away and think the original owners wouldn't notice. DUH.

Hey, instead of spending your hard earned cash and time to install a fence so you don't get robbed by one of those minorities who are encroaching on your safe little life, I have a revolutionary and money-saving idea: put your stuff away at night.

Anyway, she, or rather her husband and his father and brother, ignored my sage advice and put up a six foot tall stockade fence, down the east side of their property about ten feet, with a little picket fence across the front (that should keep out any miscreants if they are under two feet tall and/or very dense) and down our side about fifty feet. Of course, she faced the ugly side toward us, and there is nothing we can do about it, as the township doesn't have zoning about ugly sides of fences. However, the township clerk did say, "Common courtesy would tell them to put the nice side toward you." Uh--whatever. I just pretend that it is OUR fence, which is why we are looking at the inside, although I would have installed it a whole lot better. I am, however, thinking about asking if we can paint the thing and then, instead of doing a nice, sedate white, putting up a huge, tasteful mural, a la East L. A., with the Virgin of Guadalupe and Che Guevara and lots of militant Latino stuff. Or maybe some Black Panther propaganda.

Anyway, back to the fence. For those of you who are NOT math challenged and think I AM, yes, the one side is ten feet and our side is fifty feet, which means that the two sides do not connect across the back. Geometry is not my strong suit, and even I got that this fence will do little to deter even the dumbest crook, including those who can't get over that picket part. I think the whole purpose (excuse) for the fence was to screen their house and lives from us, a fact which does not offend me at all, as the previous person who lived here was an eighty-something lady who rarely went outside, and never went into the back. We are noisy, messy, and obviously there even if there isn't a low rider with dingle balls parked in the driveway and rap music blaring from inside. Actually, we are not bad neighbors, but I guess by comparison we are a bit of a culture shock and hard to ignore. Anyway, since the deck on the back of the neighbor's house is raised, they can still see directly into our yard as they exit their house or have a barbecue or enjoy the evening light.

Which makes me wonder: Did this occur to them at all before they got started? Are they now thinking, "Oh, no. Why did we even bother" or is it more like "Now for phase two"? Are they going to put an auxiliary fence of corrugated fiberglass panels across the top like at some of those junkyards you see along the highway? And is their kid still leaving his bike in the front yard at night because it is even more difficult to put it away now that he has to go around the fence to get to the back? Maybe he could just sling it over that picket section.


debinca said...

"putting up a huge, tasteful mural, a la East L. A., with the Virgin of Guadalupe and Che Guevara and lots of militant Latino stuff. Or maybe some Black Panther propaganda."

LOL, hey I'm from LA and know the exact art form you are talking about! Its very 'in' in CA. go for it! I could send some photos for templates! cheers, owl

Anita said...

Maybe they'll move - have a job transfer or something. Hope you can enjoy your HOME and that you can avoid contact with them as much as possible.