The Hunter had a really funny run-in with one of our neighbors that I haven’t written about. I’ll try to keep it short but this will provide context to to my next post.
About 3 months ago we had a code enforcement officer stop by the house. We weren’t home and he didn’t leave any information on why he was here. My son was home and the officer was asking if the Hunter was running his business out of our house. My son didn’t confirm or deny this and he duly informed the Hunter when he arrived home ahead of me.
I pulled into the driveway to see two cardboard signs attached to the trees out front. “Neighbors, we have a snitch who calls code enforcement” (I don’t remember the exact words, but that’s the gist of it). I laughed and admired the Hunter’s audacity. He thought I would be upset, but in my mind he was merely exercising his First Amendment right. He wanted to add “Snitches get stitches”, but I advised him that this additional language was threatening and could get him into trouble. He changed it to “Snitches are bitches”.
We knew who had turned us in — our batshit crazy next-door neighbor. She is a screaming shrew who has fought viciously with our landlady after a BFF falling out. I won’t go into their drama but let’s say that both sides probably bear responsibility. Couple that with my landlady who has never seen an argument go unargued, and I can only imagine the fireworks when they lived side-by-side.
Anyway back to our drama. We know it was our neighbor because the previous week the Hunter had given his business card to her teenage stepson because he wanted to have him help do some techie work with his GoPro camera. Nobody else in the neighborhood knows the name of his business and the code enforcement officer had the name when he talked to my son, so it was an easy puzzle to solve.
Keep in mind that the Hunter named no names on either signs. Neighbors drove or walked by regularly because it was early evening and folks were arriving home from work. They read the sign and laughed or waved. Within the hour, Crazy lady (CL) pulls into her driveway while we are sitting out back enjoying the early evening breeze. “Motherfucker!!” she screams. The Hunter looked at me and we giggled. “Guess who’s home”, I say.
The Hunter has some big ass balls. He grabbed his GoPro and walked into the front yard. She had gone ballistic and marched over to the neighbors next to her to gain some allies. We had discovered early into our tenancy that they were also jerks (birds of a feather) but we never really had to deal with them, so it had never been a big deal. They start screaming at the Hunter.
“Look out!! He’s got a gun!!!” was Neighbor’s first scream. The Hunter calmly replied, “No, it’s a camera”. The GoPro was on a selfie stick. “Don’t film us!” Neighbor screams.
“We have lived here 20 years and we aren’t going to have that that kind of shit in our yard.” Ummm, it’s in our yard, I think.
“We have called the cops” Excellent because we need some protection from your crazy selves, I think. Keep in mind that I am cowering in our house because I don’t have the Hunter’s confrontational chops. I can hear everything though.
“You are just a tenant!” Um, what does that have to do with anything?
As the police arrived, we decided to sit inside and watch a pre-season football game, so the cops can deal with the crazies first without having to deal with us as well. As we are sitting there, my phone began exploding. My landlady was texting and calling me to ask what is this sign and demand that we remove it. I ignored her because I needed to live thru the chaos in front of me. I was also wondering how the heck she knew when CL basically has a restraining order against my landlady and cannot contact her directly. Apparently CL enlisted the Neighbors to contact landlady who had no idea who was texting her all kinds of crazy messages.
Eventually the police came over and knocked on the door. There are two — both young. One is soft-spoken and polite; the other is a bit tougher. We stepped outside to chat with them. They told us that they explained to the crazy neighbors that we are well within our First Amendment rights to have the sign in the yard. We began discussing the catalyst of the code enforcement officer visit. The neighbor came to the edge of our yard to videotape us. All 4 of us ignored her.
The cops told us that the neighbors were upset with the profanity. Tough cop, with a straight face, said that they were cursing like sailors as they said the profanity offended them, so he told them he couldn’t believe that. The tough cop then asked if we would remove the profanity. “I would hate for the neighborhood kids to see it, ” he explained. I refrained from being a smart ass by saying that if they could read it they had probably already learned that word. The Hunter graciously said that he had made his point and would bring the signs inside and did so. He had made his point, so the signs weren’t necessary. All 4 of us mulled over why CL would have such a strong reaction to signs that didn’t name anyone…..interesting…..
There is more to the story. I dealt with our landlady using the beautiful strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so our relationship has improved significantly. I sent her the GoPro video which she put on her Facebook, shared with friends and family and probably caused CL more drama because they have mutual FB friends. I never intended her to distribute it, but, hey, that’s her choice. In my email to my landlady, I warned her that if CL harassed us in any way, we would find it to be a threat and violation of our quiet enjoyment which could result in us moving out early. I called her and softened it by explaining that I needed to give her formal notice just to protect us both. She understood.
The other neighbors around us loved the dramatic evening. We heard from several, “she got what she deserved”. One sat with his wife in his backyard which ended up being a front row seat for the entire saga. He said it was one of his most enjoyable evenings in the neighborhood in years. CL had sicced code enforcement on him several times apparently.
Although at the beginning I was really nervous about such a huge confrontation with a neighbor, I ended up finding the whole episode ridiculously hilarious. It was a good learning experience for me about difficult confrontations. The stepson saw us the next day and gave us a sly grin and “What’s Up”. He and his dad are no longer allowed to chat with us, but he continues to say hello and wave.
All of this leads up to the past week where the Hunter has shown himself to be a better, more restrained, less vindictive person than me.