Barking Mad

My neighbors are arseholes. There, I said it.

My landlord used to be my roommate and owns the house we live in. She moved out last November. Since I don’t have a car and my neighbors frequently have guests and not enough parking space, I thought it would be a nice gesture to allow their guests to use my driveway when they need to. There’s enough room for two large vehicles or three compact cars. They immediately started taking me up on the offer.

At first they were just parking there, but staying in the neighbors’ yard. But there’s no fence: our yards are divided by a flower garden and some shrubs. After a while, they started migrating in this direction, hanging out by the cars in my driveway, eating, drinking and being merry. I thought it was a bit presumptuous, but I shrugged it off.

Then they started allowing all their kids to play soccer/football and other games in my front yard. They never asked me if this was OK, and did not invite my son to play with them. It seemed they had started thinking of my yard as an extension of theirs. I thought this was rude, especially given that they never even acknowledged my presence when I was coming or going from the house.

One morning, following one of their parties, I woke up to find empty beer bottles, paper plates, napkins, and even food all over my front yard. What jerks! I gathered it all up in a trash bag and left it on their doorstep. I would have said something then, but later found out that they were all there for a funeral. My neighbor’s sister had just died. Naturally, I let it go.

Right before Mike arrived this past March, I moved into the larger bedroom. The window in that room directly faces the driveway. When the neighbors’ guests were coming or going at night, their headlights shone right into my bedroom, even with the drapes closed. I already have problems sleeping, and I don’t need my bedroom lighting up like Shea Stadium at all hours of the night.

One night, one of the guests was just sitting in his vehicle with the headlights on, chatting with someone in my driveway. He was so close to my window that I could have leaned out and banged on the hood of his car. It was about 2:00 a.m. and I had had enough. I went out and explained that his headlights were shining directly into my bedroom window, and he turned them off.

The same thing happened again on several occasions. I told them half a dozen times to stop shining their headlights into my bedroom window. Finally, I had to start telling people not to park there at all anymore, day or night. I needed to get them out of the habit, because it just wasn’t working out anymore.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but immediately after I started asking people to move their cars out of my driveway, the neighbors started letting their dog bark outside my window all night long. The dog would stand inside their back fence, ten feet away from my bedroom window and bark, for hours on end.

Since I had just made a fuss about the cars, I thought I would wait and see if the problem would resolve itself. It didn’t, and I eventually went to talk to the neighbors about it. They weren’t there, but a relative was. She asked if there was anything she could do, so I explained about the dog. She was pleasant and sympathetic and said that she would let her brother know.

The barking continued.

A week later, I wrote them a polite but firm letter, explaining that the barking was becoming a serious problem, and asked them to please do something about it. The very next day, I received an email from my landlord (their friend) telling me that they had had that dog for years, it’s not a house dog and asking what I expected them to do about it because, after all, it’s a dog, and dogs bark. Oh and, by the way, I shouldn’t be talking to their guests about the problem. I should have gone straight to them.

1. Healthy, well trained dogs do not stand around barking at nothing for hours on end.
2. The amount of time they’ve had the dog is irrelevant.
3. It’s not my responsibility to figure out how to make it stop barking. But it is theirs, and they need to take care of it.
4. I did not confront their guest. We had a pleasant chat. We are both grown women who willingly entered into a conversation, and we don’t need permission from her brother or my landlord to talk to each other.
5. This matter has nothing to do with a landlord/tenant agreement, and my landlord had no business confronting me about it.
6. The irony of them going to my landlord, without even attempting to speak to me, and saying that I should come to them if I have a problem, was just too fucking juicy to leave off this list.

I told my landlord all that. Not in so many words, of course. I also mentioned that I could have just called the police (they can be fined up to $1000 for each offense) but that I was trying to be good neighbor and work it out between us. That pretty much ended the discussion. That was about two weeks ago. I haven’t heard the dog bark a single time in the middle of the night since then. I guess they figured out a way to stop it after all!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

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