I’m a recovering nice guy, in a neighborhood of non-apologetic, total blue pill, nice guys. I still have nice guy tendencies, like avoiding confrontation as well as addressing conflicts head on. And like many, I have a long, tolerant, and patient fuse for perceived injustices.
However, once a line has been crossed, that proverbial straw that breaks a camel’s back, I will go all five point palm exploding heart technique on your ass and won’t look back. An example from my past: my girlfriend at the time was slowly pissing me off (and living on borrowed time anyway, after cheating on me earlier in our relationship, but that’s another story). I was on a recreational walk with her, scuffing my sandals like I typically did, and she got on my ass about it. At that point, I severed the frayed cord of our relationship, said it was over, and left in my car as soon as we got back to her house, never looking back. That page of my life wasn’t just turned, but that book was slammed shut and burned. Asshole move to break up over scuffing my sandles? Maybe, but sometimes enough is just enough.
So this story will surely go down as whiny, first world suburban dad problems, but it is what it is. Now I live in one of the smallest houses in our suburban development, and I live next to probably the largest. My next door neighbor is the developer of our neighborhood, and has lived there since it was established. They are nice enough, 60-ish (+/-) couple, but as the developer, carry an entitled attitude to what they can or can’t do regarding home owner association or neighborhood or city rules (that carries down to their grown kids as well). As the developer, they still have a segment of the neighborhood that is undeveloped, and must own large construction equipment for various upcoming or on-going projects. He parks said construction equipment (skid steers, trucks and trailers, dump trucks, and so forth) on our cul de sac residential street. Most times he parks these vehicles/equipment adjacent to, and in front of, my house/property.
Now everyone else on the cul de sac HATES that they park these things on the street. It may not be every day that there’s some piece of stuff on the street, but maybe 15-25% of the time. Way too often. And overnight on occasion. When another neighbor’s teen kids parks on the other side, there is barely enough room to drive past. We have about 215 kids on our street and they are always running, on bikes or scooters, not paying attention, and generally being kids (aged 5-9). These commercial construction equipment/vehicles make visibility and driveability very difficult and subsequently is a hazard considering the neighborhood situation and a major liability to them should an accident or injury occur. Couple that with the fact that this behavior goes against city ordinances and development covenants (that likely this guy helped developed) and it further supports the hypothesis that they think the rules don’t apply to them.
I’m pretty neighborly, and like I said, have a long fuse and appreciate (to at least some degree) neighborhood politics and the need to keep the peace. I don’t say a peep when my other across the street neighbor goes all Cousin Eddie on us and parks this eyesore in front of my house about 4-6 days a year as he is getting it ready to go on camping trips (or cleaning it on his return). But it’s usually gone at the end of the day, and comes in a couple of spurts and in a pattern we’re prepared to deal with at this point.
So there’s your long setup to the being an asshole part. Now, this displeasure on the whole equipment/trucks on the street thing has been slowly simmering for awhile. Last summer was a large, red dump truck that came and went, but when it was here, it stood right in front of my house. It was usually gone most nights, so I accepted the fate, suffering silently – that’s my fault for not saying something right away, and something I regret doing. This summer I don’t remember too many major pieces that showed up thus far, until Wednesday when this fucking thing was parked by my driveway:
Now I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he’d move it the next day. Nope, he had it there to “get it ready for sale.” Apparently that meant not doing anything and letting it sit there. Seeing that it was going to be there yet another night, and realizing they were gone for the evening, I had finally had enough and called the police, siting the ordinance they were violating, and asked that the police address the situation. Now this was probably my only mistake (and even hesitate to call it that, sometimes the only way to wake up a douche is the hard way), in that, instead of letting this frustration at the situation build up and never talk to the causation of the angst like normal people do, I let it get to a boiling point. I should have told them to move it directly. But that’s all water under the bridge and I’m taking that lesson to heart in future interactions with them or others.
Apparently, the morning of the third day the police must have finally made contact, since these individuals were notably perturbed/upset about the situation as they now had to move this fucking snow plow into their own driveway (LOL, where it looks ridiculous – I am guessing here that they would have had I not made my move, the snow plow would have been on the street for a couple more days at least – fuck that). Somehow they found out I was the rat, and Holly was NOT happy. While she agreed with everything I wrote about above (safety, etc.), she thought I acted half-cocked in calling the police, so hence I was the bad guy, the neighborhood asshole. A role I was ready to embrace, since it allowed all the other Nice Guy neighbors to save face and me to be the fall guy. I don’t really care for these people anyway, but appreciate my wife’s desire to keep the peace with the next door neighbors, and my own desire to not have my wife be pissed at me (even if I disagreed completely with her reasoning). Also, she made a good point that without an olive branch, there could potentially be retribution in the form of noise complaints while we’re having our semi-regular summer campfires.
So the day after this all went down, I went over and apologized for the lack of judgement in how I handled the situation… that I should have 100% went to them first and expressed my displeasures instead of being passive-aggressive about it. It was sort of a dick move to call the cops on my neighbors, I see that now. So for that I had my hat in my hand. Then I told them it was my fault for not venting my displeasure with the situation sooner, and handed them a copy of the specific ordinance that explicitly stated that what they were doing wasn’t allowed, and why it was especially not good given our situation of 287 kids on our street and a 90 year old neighbor who sometimes bikes. I told them I wasn’t looking to bust their chops on any of this, would give them the benefit of the doubt, and if I was upset about something in the future (like parking a 20 ton snow plow in front of my house), would let them know first. But also made it known they needed to not push the boundaries on this topic — there is a reason construction equipment isn’t allowed on residential streets.
So we’ll see. Maybe I shouldn’t have to call the cops on my neighbors, but I’m not really that sorry for it. Good neighbors use good judgement, and despite the fact that their shit don’t stink, they need to follow general good practice, which they haven’t. Maybe I overreacted like my wife says, and the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Me, I think it was fine, and am expecting having the Po Po there put it front and center on their radar screen and they subsequently gave it the due attention it deserved. I know everyone else in the neighborhood will be happy if they change their entitled ways (and stop this unsafe behavior) so at the end of the day, I’m ok being an asshole neighbor for the betterment of a larger group.