Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bad Neighbors

According to the Sun, Las Vegans can now scope out their neighbors at RottenNeighbor.com. The first time I tried to access the site, I got continuous error messages. I thought it was probably overrun with paranoid Las Vegans checking on the people next door.

One of the most frequent complaints I hear is that no one in Las Vegas knows their neighbors. I happen to know all my neighbors, but that’s because I’ve lived on this street almost ten years. I count neighbors and former neighbors as some of my closest friends. But with that said, I’ve had some pretty annoying neighbors, starting with the screaming toddler who currently lives across the street.

For no discernable reason, this three-foot high human siren goes off at all times. I see him standing outside, screaming at nothing. It looks like all of the adults are ignoring him; I imagine there’s little else they can do. I’ve seen them pick him up and carry him in the house, and he screamed the entire time. I don’t think these people qualify for the rottenfolks website. They’re just noisy. Approximately five to ten Middle Easterners live in that house, and another branch of the family, with just as many members, lives in a house just down the street. They’re constantly walking and driving back and forth between the two houses, several children in tow, in a sort of moving, on-going family get-together. It’s kind of charming, except for the screamer.
I’d have to go back to a particular neighbor from our former home for a truly deserving nominee. Our neighborhood was already on the downhill slide when the owners of Monster Dog moved in. The snarling, snapping, acrobatic beast could leap to the top of the ten foot cinder block wall that separated our homes, hook his front legs over the fence, and bark viciously at my husband as he mowed the lawn. We tried to make friends with the animal, but since his owners didn’t think it was important to let him come in the house – ever – he was a little short on social skills. When we weren’t in the backyard, he climbed on top of the fence and walked along it, like a cat might, jumping down into our back yard to leave piles of crap. Then his stupid owners decided to go out of town overnight, leaving the dog chained to a pole in the backyard. It bayed, howled, and barked all night long. When we looked in the backyard, we saw that the animal had wound itself around and around the pole so that it couldn’t reach its food and water. We threw it ice cubes.

We did out best to talk to these people. My husband was able to talk to the father once, but after that they would never answer the door. We left notes, politely asking them to do something about their dog. Animal control was called so many times that the last time they responded they came to our house to let us know that there was nothing else they could do. “You’ll have to file a complaint with the court,” the officer told us.

The woman was the meanest, rudest person I’ve ever observed. I never saw her speak to anyone. She was always yelling, whether it was at her husband, her kids, or Monster Dog.

If I hadn’t been holding my newborn son the night she went off on my husband, the outcome would have been ugly. Monster Dog had been barking for who knows how long. Our homes were incredibly close together, so my husband went out and looked over the fence. There was the woman. “Can you do something about your dog?” he asked.

She went off like a rocket. I’ll give her points for respectful language; she even called David “sir,” as in “Sir, what else do you expect us to do about our dog?” followed by a litany of all the dog-friendly things they’d installed in their yard. She seemed to be genuinely perplexed as to why it was a problem that her dog barked all night, lunged at people in our backyard, and was a general nuisance. I thought David did an admirable job of staying calm. She ended her tirade with, “Maybe you should just move!”

So we did. We sold our house in less than a month. The people who moved in after us put carpet tacking strips on the fence. I hoped neighbor karma was at work.

How about you? What’s your neighborhood like?


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