July 05, 2006

Nosy Neighbor News

Every neighborhood, it seems, comes equipped with its own fully armed and operational busy-body. You know who I'm talking about. In fact, you may BE who I'm talking about.

When I bought my house two years ago, I met the local busy-body within a week of moving in. I was in the midst of sanding my hardwood floors when I saw her loping slowly along the sidewalk. I stepped outside to empty a load of sawdust, at which point she started toddling my way to introduce herself.

Now, I'm not against being neighborly. I'll strike up idle chit-chat if it means ensuring neighborhood tranquility, but there was something about this particular woman that clanged alarm bells in my skull. There was just something about her that said to me "this one's going to be a bit of an irritation in the future."

Her name is not important. What is important is that she's the modern day equivalent of the town crier, an expert on all the mundane things that happen within a four block radius. She's like a living, breathing miniature newspaper, with an opinion/commentary page that's roughly 20 pages long. There's nothing too boring that happens in our neighborhood that she won't comment on.

I've generally grown to grudgingly tolerate the neighborhood busy-body. I mean, I figure she's probably bound to die before I do, and I take comfort in that. No matter how annoying she is, I can always, in the back of mind, think "I'm going to outlive you, so HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Over the long Independence Day weekend, however, my tolerance of the neighborhood busy-body was stretched to its limit, its breaking point, its precipice, if you will.

My girlfriend and I have a firepit in the back yard. It's completely legal and adheres to all city ordinance specifications. We enjoy our back yard fires immensely.

Well, the day after conducting one of our evening combustion rituals, the neighborhood busy-body came toddling on over to the yard.

"If you have a fire as big as the one you had last night ever again, I'm calling the fire department," she scolded, and she was dead serious.

Now, our fire pit is about two feet in diameter. It's not exactly Vulcan's forge. At a maximum, we can maybe produce a flame about four feet in height. The thought of a fire truck showing up to extinguish our tiny flame would have struck me as humorous, if I weren't so pissed off. I mean, my girlfriend and I are both 30 years old, so being scolded like that borders precariously on the insulting side.

There's a part of me that wants to just dismiss the busy-body as just that: a busy-body. But there's another part of me that secretly fears that the busy-body achieved her busy-body status through some sort of neighborhood coercion which I don't know about. Maybe she does have some pull at the local fire department. Maybe she knows the police chief. Maybe she knows voodoo, and has a doll specifically designated "Ryan Rhodes."

For the time being, my girlfriend and I have agreed that we just won't have any back yard fires for awhile, which makes me a little made, because I think it constitutes a victory for the busy-body. I hate to think she won this round.

But, then again, I'll probably outlive her, so HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at July 5, 2006 12:09 AM | TrackBack

You know what? No. Fuck that old whore. If your fire pit's legal, have a fire. If she calls the fire department, let her. They'll take a look at it and tell her to eat shit. If she keeps doing it, file harassment charges.

I'm sick of these "greatest generation" cunts acting like they run the fucking world. Inherit the earth, Ryan. Show that withered old twat what's what.

Posted by: Joshua at July 5, 2006 02:31 PM

How do you REALLY feel, Josh?

Posted by: Ryan at July 5, 2006 03:00 PM

I agree whole-heartedly with both the suggestion and the sentiment in Joshua's first paragraph. You can't be a doormat to people like that... they see it as a weakness, and it WILL NOT help you avoid contact with her. Today it's your fire pit, tomorrow it's a barbecue party that went until 9pm, the next day she won't approve of your mums in the front yard. These people need to be taught the meaning of PRIVATE property.

And dude, could you please allow my U of MN address to be accepted again on your comments form? I keep getting this: "Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: u m n . e d u" [intervening spaces added by myself]. What possible questionable content includes the domain for the University of Minnesota?

Posted by: Sean at July 5, 2006 04:46 PM

Sean, I've gone through all my blog preferences, and I can't find the filters. I'm assuming it's a Mu.Nu thing. I'll look into it further. Apologies.

Posted by: Ryan at July 5, 2006 06:52 PM

Did you see that?

Satan on ice skates; Josh and I agree on something! And not just a "yeah, but..."

I know the type, Ryan....
We call her Gladys Kravitz.

Posted by: Rob@L&R at July 6, 2006 11:29 AM

I too have a firepit, we bought the internal barrel from a metal dryer and converted it, its portable too! But to use it in my town, I have to have a grill on it and pretend like I'm going to cook on it.

In regards to your busy-body. Call the local fire department before you have the fire, let them know, hell, let them inspect your fire pit and then, when she does call, they'll say that its already been dealt with. Or just smear dog poop all over her windows. Either way, you can't allow her to get away with changing what you are legally doing and enjoying.

But I like how Joshua said it above better.

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at July 6, 2006 02:13 PM

The best way to deal with people like that? Those repressed neocryptofascists? Hit on her. Start subtly, with over-long eye contact, and build it up gruadually with flirting and body language. She'll never bother you again, I guarantee it.

Posted by: simon at July 7, 2006 04:03 AM

I hate people like that!

Yet the ironic thing about seeing this post is we have a person somewhere nearby filling our apartment with acrid wood fire smoke for about 3 hours every evening for more than a week now, making us sick and driving us absolutely nuts. It's as if we lived next to the local KOA, not in a thick residential/apartment building area where it's hard to imagine backyard campfires, let along that smoky amd frequent.

It has us verging on wanting to BE that busybody! And talking about moving out of this apartment, it's that bad. And wondering what one does after buying a house and finding out there's something like this making it unlivable that you can't know about until you've been there a while.

Posted by: Jay at July 12, 2006 03:08 AM

Oh My Gosh! This sounds like my neighbor on my music! Granted, we share a wall. (Stupid base housing.) But, if the Military Police (PMO) already came out and said it was fine, I say,"SHUT THE HELL UP!" As noted in my blog on myspace.
But, Ryan, I totally agree with Josh. These people need to take the twigs out of their asses and get a life. It is sad that they don't have enough going on in their own lives that they have to look at others' lives. GRRRRR!

Posted by: Amanda at August 9, 2006 11:58 PM
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