Maybe You Should Have Moved Directly To Nirvana

, , , , , | Friendly | October 6, 2019

One winter, my friend was clearing away snow from her driveway and, due to the nice temperature and suitable texture of snow, she had a whim to make a snowman. Despite being a middle-aged recent widow, she was out there for a couple hours playing, like a child. Good for her right? Very sweet.  

Well, after she got the basic snowman made, she wasn’t done having fun, so she decided to test her artistic skills by making the sculpture a bit more advanced. Being Buddhist, she chose to make it into the shape of a classic Buddha statue. It turned out pretty nice.  

Finally done, she went inside and was sipping hot chocolate and enjoying her great mood when there was a knock at the door. It was the police!  

They apologised for bothering her, but explained that their policies force them to intervene in all complaints, regardless of whether any laws were broken. She was terribly anxious and confused, wondering what she may have done.  

Her neighbors had called the police because they didn’t think the snow Buddha should be allowed. After all, it was on the front lawn, “where children might see it”! How terrible that would be, for Bible Belt kids to find out that non-Christians exist. They might grow up to think that cultural diversity is okay, and that people different from their families are interesting equals rather than “others” to be shunned. Yes, let’s protect those kids.  

My poor friend was a lot less likely to enjoy time in her yard after that. 

Imagine thinking it’s a police matter that someone’s failing to hide their minority status.

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Welcome To Entitlement Street

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 26, 2019

My husband and I were moving from a distant suburb into the city centre, almost 60 km away. Our new neighbourhood is known for being full of well-to-do, entitled people. On moving day, there was no parking available in front of the new house, so the movers parked the truck in the lane which separated our back yard from the back yard of the neighbour on the next street over. 

Our new neighbour promptly came out and complained to us that the movers would damage the roses along her back fence and they needed to park elsewhere. We politely explained that there was no parking available in front of the house. She replied that we should have blocked off space in front of the house ahead of time. I replied, “We just arrived here from another city. How were we supposed to be here to block off the road?” 

She stared at us blankly and then went back to her yard. We never spoke to her again.

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The Mouse And The Mid-Sized Family Vehicle

, , , , | Friendly | July 30, 2019

Bit of backstory: I’ve always been very quiet and shy, so my parents affectionately refer to me as “a little mouse.”

I had just gotten old enough to learn to drive. Before my parents took me out in their car to practice, my dad first wanted to make sure I was tall enough to reach the pedals — I am rather short. 

When we were out in the driveway, we ran into one of our neighbors. He saw that I was getting in the driver’s seat and questioned if I was old enough. My dad rather proudly stated that yes, I was going to learn how to drive. 

Then, my neighbor said, in a tone of condescension, “Oh, no, not another woman driver on the road that we’ll have to watch out for.”

My dad just stared at him. 

I replied, in the most cheerful and innocent tone I could manage, “Well, I think I can do a better job than some of the men.”

He didn’t say anything else. I put the seat and mirrors back to the position they’d been in before and headed back into the house. My dad came back in a minute later, laughing. He said to my mum, “Well, she’s not a little mouse anymore, that’s for sure.”

It was only afterward that my mum informed me that my middle-aged neighbor had to go to a driving lecture because the police had caught him driving recklessly.

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Driving Them Away Via The Driveway

, , , , , | Legal | July 5, 2019

(Our house is on the corner of the street, so it is very common for people visiting our neighbors to park in front of our house. I don’t mind when they park in front of our yard, but recently, I’ve been having problems with one particular car getting parked forward enough to be in front of our driveway. They are just an inch or two in front of the drive, and one of my friends who is a cop says that it is unlikely to get towed or even ticketed for just that, so I just deal with it. I do keep a lookout to see if I can catch the person who owns the car and try and talk to them about it. Then, one day, I come out to find the car a full two feet in front of our driveway, blocking me off from getting to work. Thanks to some brick walls along the edge of the drive, there is no way for me to cut around, so I call the police. They arrive about twenty minutes later, after I’ve already called into work to explain the situation. They look at it and then head around to knock on a few doors to see if they can get the driver to move the car before getting a tow truck called out. None of the people who answer claim the car, so a tow truck is called out. By the time it actually arrives, I am an hour late for work and rather steamed. The tow truck gets hooked up and they are loading up the car, when a man suddenly comes charging out of one of the houses across the street — which happens to have a completely empty driveway — screaming about them moving his car.)

Man: “That’s my car! What do you f*****s think you’re doing to my car?!”

Officer: “Sir, your car is blocking this man’s driveway. If you will move it, we can let you off with a ticket rather than impounding it.”

Man: “F*** you!”

(He tries to shove the cop, and ends up being wrestled to the ground, swearing the entire way. He ends up being arrested, and his car is towed off. However, that isn’t the end of it. About a week later, I get a knock on my door, and I answer to see a woman I vaguely recognize from around the neighborhood.)

Woman: “Hey! A**hole! You got my boyfriend arrested, you dumb c***!”

(She then hauled back and tried to spit at me, but she didn’t get enough force, leaving her standing there with spit dripping from her mouth and onto her shirt. She spun around and scurried away at that, but then, a couple of days later, we found our front garden torn up and insults written in lipstick on the side of our car. We contacted the police, mentioning the prior incidents, and they eventually sent out a unit to investigate. I watched as they went and knocked on the door of the house across the street, and I got to see this lady try and take a swing at the officers and end up getting hauled off. Like boyfriend, like girlfriend, I guess.)

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Anxiety Is Your Neighbor

, , , | Friendly | July 1, 2019

(One of my neighbors is an older woman whose husband died suddenly a few years ago. She fell and was injured shortly afterward, so I volunteered to take care of her dog and do some other tasks around her house while she recovered. Since then, she usually invites me over for tea and a chat every so often. Last year, my father’s girlfriend brought us to the Big E — a fair with lots of different forms of entertainment, vendors, and really good food — and my neighbor called me over a few days after.)

Neighbor: “So, how was the fair?”

Me: “Oh, it was so fun! They had a huge petting zoo, and acrobats…” *talks about the various things we saw for a bit* “I had some really good clam chowder and frozen cheesecake there, and I also got this nice little pack of aromatherapy bottles for my aunt.”

Neighbor: “And what did you get me?”

(I think she’s joking at first, so I give a half-smile and a bit of a chuckle, but her face remains stony.)

Neighbor: “You didn’t even think of me, did you? You know, I treat you like a daughter and you don’t spare me a second thought.”

(She launched into a small diatribe about how selfish I was, while I sat there feeling very flustered, guilty, and uncomfortable. But part of me also felt like this wasn’t fair at all, because she knew I didn’t have much money of my own and that the aunt in question had been a big help when my mother passed away. Her death had also been very sudden, and since I was young at the time, it left me with a few issues, primarily low self-esteem and trouble standing up for myself. I bought my neighbor some tea around Christmastime to try and mend things, but she continued to throw in passive-aggressive comments every time I saw her, even as she asked me for help with things like setting up her new cell phone, and guilt-tripped me if I hesitated to agree. Eventually, I started seeing a therapist, who told me I shouldn’t have to put up with that, and has steadily been helping me become more assertive. I still see the neighbor occasionally — I can’t completely avoid her, since I live at the end of a dead-end street and have to walk by her house just about every day — but I’m at least getting better at turning down her requests without feeling like a terrible person. I also found out that the apparent cause of her change in mood was that my dad’s girlfriend is the niece of a friend she had a falling-out with; I guess she decided to take it out on me?)

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