Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Neighborhood Bully

The house next door to us has had three and a half different families in it over the course of the four years that we've lived here. It was initially rented, then the people who owned it moved back in. They sold it to a family who renovated it, never moved in, and put it back up on the market (hence the half). It finally sold about two months ago to a bachelor with two young teenage boys who visit on various weekends.

I baked some cookies to welcome them to the neighborhood and it seemed like they were going to be nice enough neighbors.

But then. . .

On morning when we were hanging clothes out on the clothes line, I heard something hit the side of my house. It was an arrow. The kids next door were playing with their bows and the arrow misfired - into the side of my house.

I was pretty pissed. I picked up the arrow and went over - Dad was asleep. I insisted they wake him up. Dad just looked at the boys and told them they were being irresponsible with the WAY they were using the bow. That may be, but my kid plays outside and there is a horse trail behind us. I basically told him that I wasn't happy and I trusted him to fix this.

Not bad, right? (C.O, my super cool neighbor said she would have called the cops)

The other problem I have been having with him is that he has been watering the hell out of his lawn. He can water his lawn, he's just been doing it in the heat of the day. We're in a drought and the city has an ordinance in place that we're not to water the lawns between 10 am to 6 pm. He doesn't just water his lawn, he drowns it - for hours. Really. He waters the street in front of his home - for hours. Turned on the water and left - I finally just turned it off - he wasn't home. Another time when he left the sprinkler on all day, I went over to ask him to turn it off and he wasn't home - his oldest son was. I politely asked him to the water off because it had been going all day long. He was nice and turned them off.

Then there's the blaring music. He plays it so loud. I'm just glad we're sunk into the ground. It's really loud - every night. (C.O. also tells me I need to call the cops)

New Neighbor turned the sprinkler on today around 10 am. As I write this at 8 pm, the sprinkler is still going. It's his "fuck you" to me. I went over and asked him to turn off his sprinkler - That was at 1 pm - the sprinkler had been going for three hours.

Why should I care, right? Well, I care because the neighborhood is on a communal well. We all pay the same rate for the water - it's not metered. We've run out of water the first two summers we lived here (last summer was unseasonably cool). It sucks when we run out of water. No showers until late in the afternoon. It's always on days when the temp goes over 100 degrees.

Well, New Neighbor must have been waiting for me. He came out and told me that he was tired of me coming over and telling him to stop watering his lawn. (mind you, I've never talked to him about this - we've just been dancing) I told him that even though we're on a well, we're still bound by city ordinance. He basically told me that he was going to water his lawn and I wasn't going to stop him. I told him that he had never been in the house when we ran out of water and that he really needed to consider that the well was communal. He told me that he thought we were going to be "cool" neighbors. He's never over at our house bugging us. I asked him what have we done to bug him. No answer. He then proceeded to tell me to not come to his house ever again. I said fine and left.

I was really upset about this. I don't know why, but he made me cry. I really was trying to be a good neighbor asking him to be considerate of his neighbors.

The ironic part in all this was J told me just before I went over there that the likely outcome was going to be New Neighbor telling me that I couldn't tell him what to do.

I don't like conflict, and this episode really has upset me. I don't like that my neighbor is mad at me - but I've been mad at him for quite some time. I've been obsessing about how I could get back into my New Neighbor's good graces. Should I bake a bread and send a note apologizing?

Apologize for what? I did nothing wrong. What really bugs me about these types of guys is that they feel the rules don't apply to them. Everyone else in the neighborhood complies with these rules because it keeps water cheap and everyone generally are good neighbors to each other.

So, I guess the next time he does something ass-holy, I'll have to call the cops. I hate that, but bottom line, the guy is just a big bully. There was no reason for him to treat me the way he did today. None whatsoever. I just hate not being able to solve my own problems.

The nice thing I've learned is how nice it is to have great friends. C.O. found out from J what happened. She's a member of the water board. She's going to start step one in the "don't use water irresponsibly" rules. As J said, C is going to drink his milkshake.


Jen da Purse Ho said...

i'm really sorry your neighbor is such an ass. don't apologize for your actions. you have nothing to be sorry for. he needs to be sorry for being a water waster. The city really should fine him if possible. maybe when someone hits him in the wallet, he will pay attention. don't cry. :) he's not worth the tears. :)

fillyjonk said...

Wow, that's awful. Especially his attitude about the well...I hate it when people think they're above the rules.

I have to be honest - I would have called the cops over the arrow. That would have scared the crap out of me.

I don't really see any good solution here; it sounds like the guy has an attitude problem. Maybe he needs more of the neighbors (other than just you) to "visit" with him so that he knows what he's doing is uncool, and so he can't remain convinced in his mind that what he's doing is perfectly OK and you're just being the snotty neighbor. Because you aren't.

Can the city issue him some kind of citation for water overuse? Or do you know someone on the water board or something who could come and talk with him? Possibly his learning from a person in authority that if he continues to be a greed-head, then everyone will suffer later this summer and will blame it on him, might help.

Knitting Rose said...

Document everything. take pictures, write down times, even of conversations with him and/or his kids. The arrow thing is super dangerous. YOU MUST CALL THE COPS if that happens again - or if you see them outside with it. it would be great if other neighbors would go over there and complain. Because the problem isn't that you are a snotty neighbor - it is that you are willing to take a stand. The next time he over waters or starts watering at the wrong time - call your neighbor on the water board and take a picture.
Don't cry over him - don't try to be friends. Trust me, it won't happen. He will just get some wonderful bread and won't be nice to you and will probably call you names behind your back. He may even toss the bread - seriously don't waste your time on this schmuck.
Don't let him get away with anything. Don't confront him at all. The next time you two talk - let it be on YOUR turf. Let him come to YOU! I bet he doesn't have the balls.
Wave to him if you see him and act like you guys never had that conversation.
That will make him completely crazy.