Bullied His Way Out Of The Neighborhood

, , , , , , , | Legal | February 1, 2020

(Back in the 90s, when I am a little kid, my dad’s house is at the end of a cul-de-sac. This means that most kids end up playing near my dad’s house to avoid traffic. My dad has no problem with this, and he even nicely set up a walking path through some nearby woods behind our house so the kids can safely explore nature. There is one boy, however, who is a complete neighborhood terrorist. He uproots the stepping stones from the nature path, and he steals from other kids. My dad, one of the most patient men in the world, ends up hating this boy because of it all. One day, I am riding my bike in loops down the street and back. The bully is playing with my basketball and my full-size basketball hoop right next to the house. I want to avoid him but I can’t, since he’s standing in my dad’s driveway to play. He sees me coming and tries to throw the basketball at me but fails to make me fall off my bike. In a rage, he runs over and shoves me off the bike and takes off with it. I grab the basketball and, despite my complete lack of sports prowess, manage to throw it right into the front wheel of the bike, which causes the bully to topple over the bars and smack his face on the road. My dad, who saw the whole thing from the backyard, catches up and grabs my bike and basketball.)

Dad: *to the bully, sternly* “Did you learn anything?”

(He had been sitting there dazed, but as soon as he gets an adult’s attention he starts sobbing dramatically without tears.)

Bully: “SHE HURT ME!”

Dad: “She wouldn’t have hurt you if you hadn’t hurt her first and tried to steal the bike. So, did you learn anything?”

(The bully keeps intentionally scream-sobbing for attention, even occasionally stopping to glance around to see if anyone else is coming.)

Dad: *sigh of frustration* “Shut up and go home. Now. You got what you asked for.”

(The bully sprints home. My dad does some yard work and I relax in our swing-bench. A short time later, the bully’s mom, reeking of alcohol and cigarettes, stomps down the street in a thigh-length leopard-print silk bathrobe.) 

Bully’s Mom: *snaps fingers at my dad* “HEY! You need to deal with your f****** b****!”

Dad: *sets down the tools and turns to face her* “What did you call my daughter?”

Bully’s Mom: “I called her a f****** b****. The little whore hurt my kid and I want money to take him to see a doctor.”

Dad: *shrugs* “Only on one condition.”

Bully’s Mom: “And what is it?”

Dad: “You and your son have to replace everything he’s stolen or broken from the other kids around here. I know this includes one electric toy car, two model planes, several sports balls, a baseball bat, some action figures, and a telescope. Additionally, I want payment for the hours I’ve spent fixing the walking path after he’s torn it up. If I can get that, then we can talk about seeing a doctor for the singular scrape I saw on his chin.”

Bully’s Mom: *enraged* “HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE MY SON–”

Dad: *calmly* “It’s not an accusation until I take the security camera footage to the cops. I have, on video, everything that happens on the walking path and in front of my house. I can do that if you’d like.”

(The mom raises her hand like she’s thinking of hitting him, but she stops herself and storms off. To no one’s great surprise, a police car comes and parks outside our house. The officer knocks on our door.) 

Dad: *while opening the door* “Hi, officer. I’d like to see about getting help returning some stolen items currently in the possession of the [Bully]’s household.”

Officer: “We can talk about that, but first I know your daughter hurt a boy today–”

(I am about half of the bully’s height and maybe a quarter of his weight.) 

Officer: *looking at me* “–but there must be some mistake about that. Moving on, then.”

(My dad gave a copy of the security footage of the thefts and destruction of property to the officer. The next day, several cops were at the bully’s house; they took the bully and his mom to the station. I never had to deal with the bully again, because he ended up being sent to live with his aunt in another city. It was discovered that the bully was stealing higher value toys and collectibles at his mother’s demand to fund her drug addiction. I was mad at the time that he never got punished, but today I just hope that the better environment made him learn how to be a good person. I’ve never managed to dunk the basketball or hit any other target intentionally before or after this singular stroke of karma.)

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Mr. Gossip From Across The Street

, , , | Friendly | January 5, 2020

(I’m on maternity leave with my first child. My husband is going away for a week on a work trip. I decide to stay with my mom during that time, so I can get some proper rest in between caring for the baby. My mom lives a 40-minute drive from us. I arrive at my mother’s house with my newborn daughter and a ton of stuff. You know, staying somewhere with a newborn requires a lot of logistics — much because of my inexperience, as well. We unload the car in the driveway. Earlier today, I bought a secondhand baby bed online from someone in my mother’s region. I reasoned that it will be handy for sleepovers, as it can be used until my daughter is about four. So, we drive off to collect it and drag it into my mom’s house, too. Fast forward to later that week. My mom comes back from grocery shopping, looking a bit puzzled.)

Mom: “I ran into [Friend from the other side of the neighborhood] when shopping.”

Me: “Oh, that’s nice.”

Mom: “Yeah, he asked about you.”

Me: “Really?”

Mom: “Yeah, he asked if you were ‘staying with me again.’ I told him, ‘Well, yes, she is,’ but found his phrasing a bit funny. Then, he continued, ‘Yeah, things don’t always work out so well.’”

Me: “Oh, my God!*facepalm*

Mom: “Yes, our neighbor apparently saw us unloading everything and made up a story about how you two broke up. He’s telling everybody who wants to hear.”

(I made sure to make out at length with my husband in the middle of the driveway when he “came back to me.” My mom had a firm talk with the neighbor about jumping to conclusions. We’re still happily married. It is now a running joke in our family that I broke up AGAIN when sleeping over at my mom’s.)

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It’s A Sick Ice Slick

, , , , , | Friendly | January 3, 2020

I live in a condo community with shared entryways — front and back doors — and the front door is at the top of a porch. My poor senior dog has been sick all week, and after her morning walk, she decides to drop a bit of vomit on the front porch — not a lot, smaller than a child’s hand. After unlocking the front door, going upstairs to my unit, and getting her settled, I came back down with a paper towel and cleaned up the mess as best I could. As it was currently 17 degrees F, I decided against washing the residue away with water, as the spot was so small — and not even three-dimensional — that most folks could avoid it easily if they even noticed it. 

However, one of my neighbors obviously thought differently. I went back inside to finish getting ready for work. When I exited the front door again, not even ten minutes later, I found that the front porch was covered in a thick sheet of ice — not just the spot where my dog was sick, the whole blessed porch. Someone else had the smarts to cover the ice with building-supplied ice-melt. 

Now, had the weather been above freezing, I most certainly would have followed up the paper towel with a bucket of warm, soapy water, but I didn’t want to turn our community front porch into an ice skating rink. I’m still waiting for one of my neighbors to berate me for not cleaning up after my dog’s puke. Did I screw up?

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Should Have Kept The Cat

, , , , , | Friendly | December 13, 2019

Back when I was a uni student, I went home to my parents each summer and worked in my hometown. 

On the morning of Midsummer Eve, one of the biggest holidays here in Sweden, our neighbour rang the doorbell and asked me if I could look after her cat over the weekend as she was going away. 

As soon as I had agreed, she dropped her key in my hand and ran off to her car. This was before cell phones and I had no way of contacting her. Oh, well, it was just over the weekend.

When I went over to feed the cat, I found one can of cat food on the counter. I checked the fridge and cupboards for more food but that was it. Well, it should last over the weekend, at least.

Monday came and no neighbour. 

Nor Tuesday and Wednesday. 

She came back three weeks later and we ended up in a huge argument as she refused to reimburse me for the cat food I had bought. She had left food, she insisted. Somehow one can should have lasted three weeks.

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The Only Thing Blaring Is The Neighbor

, , , , , | Learning | December 8, 2019

(It is my first semester of freshman year. I live in a first-year dorm, but it is apartment-style, meaning the door from the hallway opens to a living room and kitchen and there is another door leading to my bedroom. During finals week, “24-hour quiet hours” are enforced, basically meaning that you’re not allowed to blast music or TV loud enough to be heard in the hallway or other rooms. I don’t have any finals, so I am laying in my bedroom with both doors shut watching TV when someone starts pounding on my door.)

Neighbor: “Open up!”

(I look through the peephole and recognize her as my neighbor from across the hall, so I open the door.)

Me: “What’s up?”

Neighbor: “I can’t focus with your music blaring like that!”

Me: “Um, I’m not playing music.”

Neighbor: “Don’t lie! I hear it right now!”

(Standing at the hallway door with my bedroom door open, I can just barely hear my TV playing.)

Me: “Oh, my TV? Sorry, I didn’t think it was that loud. I can turn it down some.” 

Neighbor: “You’d better!”

(She stomps off and I think that is the end of it. Fifteen minutes later:)

Resident Authority: “Campus housing!”

(I open the door, and my neighbor has brought our RA to my apartment.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Resident Authority: “Do you know about the 24-hour quiet hours going on right now?”

Me: “Yes, that’s why I’m watching TV with my bedroom door shut. Could you hear it from the hall?”

Resident Authority: “Was it playing?”

Me: “Um, yes. It’s still playing right now.”

(He pauses and listens.)

Resident Authority: “I can barely hear that.” *turns to neighbor* “Is this really what you bothered me about?”

Neighbor: “I’m trying to study for finals! I can’t focus with her TV blaring!”

Resident Authority: “I have finals, too! And I can’t focus with people knocking on my door making fake complaints! If it really bothers you that bad, campus housing gave you earplugs at the beginning of the year. Dig those out.”

Me: “So, am I good?”

Resident Authority: “Yep, have a good week, and watch TV all you want.”

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