Priorities, Priorities

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 28, 2021

My friend and I, both in our early twenties and from the rural countryside, have decided to visit London. We’re walking down a residential road past a community centre around 1:00 pm, thinking about food, when a tall man who is at least twice our age appears and speaks with an accent I don’t recognize.

Man: “We’re having a barbecue! Do you want to have some?”

My friend and I look at each other and exchange some non-verbal communication.

Me: *To the man* “Yeah, all right!”

Man: “Fantastic! Follow me!”

We follow the man down an overgrown side road, round some twisty corners, and through a tunnel.

Friend: *Casually to me* “This would be a really good place to murder someone.”

Me: *Giving her a side-eye* “Why do you say that? Now I’m wondering whether there is food at the end of this.”

We round one last corner and there’s a large group having a barbecue. The man ushers us in and gets us sorted with food. This woman about our age comes over and speaks with a London accent.

Woman: “You two have no self-preservation!”

Friend: “But we do have free food!”

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It’s A Neighbor-Eat-Neighbor World Out There

, , , , | Friendly | April 25, 2021

Every day, I walk my dog for at least a mile around our neighborhood. We take a different route every day. One day, we are walking down a short street that we rarely take, a few blocks from home. I hear a sharp barking and look up to see a small dog come flying out of a house, through the open gate, and up to my dog. The smaller dog keeps barking, while my dog is quiet, but both do try to bump noses as dogs do when they meet each other. Since I don’t know this dog, I pull my dog away, shouting, “Please get your dog!”

There is a sign, provided by our local government, on their lawn, stating that it is the law that dogs must be on a leash and picked up after.

Eventually, two teenage girls appear, and after a little chasing, they finally catch their dog. I am expecting to have a laugh with them about how silly our dogs are, but instead, they begin scolding me!

Girl: “Why can’t you control your dog?”

Me: “The law requires dogs to be on a leash.”

I point to the sign on their lawn.

Me: “My dog is on a leash.”

I point to my dog’s leash.

Me: “Your dog is off your property without a leash.”

Girl: “But this is our house!”

Me: “Yes. That is your house. But this is the sidewalk. You do not live on the sidewalk. It is public property.”

In the meantime, their parents come out to yell at me, too, and I yell back because I do not allow others to speak to me disrespectfully, especially when they’re the ones in the wrong and I am not. Then, I go home, calm myself, and go on with my day.

My neighborhood is quite the community, and I learn from other neighbors that this particular family is very hostile, believes that they are superior, and tends to act like they own the whole block. They get angry when other animals get anywhere near their property, but they allow their dog to do whatever it likes.

However, one neighbor has this to say.

Neighbor: “I saw the whole thing and your dog was the aggressor! Daily you get dragged down the street by your dog, and you went through their gate into their yard. Your dog was barking the whole time and attacked their dog, and they had to take it to the vet because it was bitten on the leg.”

Me: “My goodness! It sounds like you saw me commit at least three crimes! Why didn’t you call the police?”

Neighbor: *Pauses* “You’re spending too much time on this!”

Since then, I’ve refused to set foot on that block, with or without my dog. Too many crazy people live there.

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We Didn’t Start The Fire (Send Us Money)

, , , , , | Friendly | March 25, 2021

I don’t mind fireworks; when done properly they can be good to watch.

Once a year, we will pick out a small selection of the quieter ones and set them off in the garden. We live in a built-up, family-friendly area, so we give the neighbours a heads-up and it tends to be a short display.

A new neighbour recently moved in across the way, instantly upsetting many; they drive over common grass and tear it up, play loud music, and have suspicious numbers of visitors. We luckily live far enough away not to be bothered by them, until bonfire night.

They start letting off fireworks when it is still light and carry on for hours. Eventually, the police arrive — more to deal with the rowdy behaviour than the fireworks — and we get some quiet. But it’s not for long, and soon they are back to the same as before, if not much worse.

A few days later, a plea goes out on our local Facebook group. A local resident is asking for help after a “freak accident” set their shed on fire. They go on and on with a sob story and saying how nice everyone is who offered help

That is, until one eagle-eyed person recognises that this was posted by the same unruly neighbour from bonfire night, and the fire was only started because they were drunk and throwing the fireworks at the joining fence.

All the offers of help and free tools and toys are withdrawn as the poster devolves into a shouting match before being kicked from the group completely.

I can still see the remnants of the shed from the road. It looks like no one wanted to help them after all.

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Wild Times With Wiggles

, , , | Friendly | March 21, 2021

I’m walking down a lane I take home that has houses on one side and a grassy park with a lot of trees on the other side. I travel down there every day with zero issues, but today I encounter an unattended boxer dog. I’ve never encountered this dog, so have no idea where it lives and even if it lives down this lane. It’s also an unknown dog to me and I’m a stranger to it, so it may be aggressive. I stop a little distance away from it.

For some reason, I adopt that cutesy voice people use when they talk to dogs.

Me: “Well, hello there.”

The dog wags its entire body in happiness.

Me: “I don’t think you should be out here all by yourself, should you?”

The dog keeps on wagging.

Me: “Where’s your mummy or daddy, then?”

I hear a disembodied woman’s voice coming from a house.

Woman: “OH, S***! WHERE IS HE?!”

Me: *To the dog* “There’s your mummy!” *Calling out* “Excuse me, you missing a boxer?”

The woman appears, having just left her back garden.

Woman:Yes! I’m so sorry! I know he’s big but he’s a sweetie. People make him waggle with joy!”

It turned out that they’d just moved to the area and that Wiggles — the dog — was able to jump the fence. They quickly had a new, higher fence in place.

This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of March 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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We Have Got To Get A Playground

, , , , , , | Legal | November 21, 2020

I have been noticing a lot of minor and odd occurrences in the car park that my garden backs up to. It’s little things, like my valve cap covers going missing, toys left in the road, my bin disappearing, drinks and rubbish left all over and on the cars, etc.

It’s annoying but nothing major, so I chalk it up to the new family that just moved in and hope it will sort itself out.

Eventually, I set up a couple of cameras and unsurprisingly see the new family’s kids messing with cars, throwing rubbish around, etc.

One day, I find a football in my garden. I check the cameras and see that the kids have been kicking the ball against my fence and actually other people’s cars! The ball goes over my fence, and then they actually try to come into my garden — thankfully it’s locked — and give up. I’m pretty annoyed, so a few days later when their father arrives at my door, I am ready for him.

Father: “I’m very sorry, but my kids kicked their ball into your garden. Could I have it back?”

Me: “No.”

Father: “Please, I am asking as they did it only by accident. It was their present.”

Me: “No. You see, I put up cameras. And what do I see? Your children damaging cars, throwing rubbish around, and then trying to get into my garden. You can have your ball back when you promise to actually supervise your children and they apologise.”

He disappeared without saying a word.

On reflection, it occurred to me that I had no right to keep the ball, and I felt pretty bad. I figured I would throw it back over the fence after a day or two.

It was a surprise to see the police at my door the next day. I let them in and confirmed that I would return the ball, but I also showed them the camera footage. They took particular interest in the cars the kids were interfering with and they visited each of the houses.

It turned out that no one wanted to take the issue further, but they did speak with the father to inform him of what could have happened, and how he would be responsible for any damage his children caused.

In the end, he stopped letting the kids play unsupervised in the car park. Hopefully, he didn’t just set them loose on another neighbourhood.

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