Saturday, September 08, 2012

War of the roses

I live around some really busybody neighbors. Most of them are seniors or otherwise unemployed, and are in obvious need of something to do. Every summer it seems a few of these neighbors get fixated on something and passively aggressively compete to do that thing, or take care of that item. For example, last summer everyone passively fought over who was going to fill the bird feeder hanging on the post of the laundry line. Seems like a silly thing to compete over, right? This became such big deal to a few people in particular and right after one woman would go over and fill the feeder, not more than 10 minutes later another woman would come over and put more feed on top of the already full feeder. This occurred a couple of times a day for over a month. As a result, seeds would spill on the ground and all around the laundry line pole were a variety of sprouted seeds. My wonderful landlord, Ron, finally had to ask these ladies to stop. One time Ron was in my kitchen fixing my sink and I made a joke about the bird feeder, he rolled his eyes and literally said "ugh."

So one consistent battle that seems to occur year after year since Ron moved out of the complex 4 years ago is the battle over who is going to take care of the roses. This includes but isn't limited to overwatering, poorly pruning, and somewhat weeding. The main busybody, Linda, likes to act as the in-charge person. She takes initiative to prune the roses near her porch and staircase, but doesn't prune the ones near other staircases. This has caused the roses to grow in a funny line--low in the middle and high on either side, like over 5 feet high (as compared to a 2 foot low). We're talking a 3 foot height discrepancy. Linda also weeds the roses only near her porch.

Linda pruning the roses in front of her apartment.

It's funny to just watch this all play out too because busybody #2, Anna, comes out and right behind Linda and will water everything excessively. Anna is a real pain in the ass because she'll squirt across the divide over to my place and hose off the side of my house, the windows (and sometimes they're open so the inside gets wet) and anything else in her path. Linda will come out while Anna's watering and passively ask her why she is watering, and Anna smiles and just keeps watering. Anna is a large, disproportionate woman and sometimes has a hard time lugging the hose around to water everything. I think she feels obligated to water everything within the hoses reach. If the hose is knotted and she has to let it run for 10 minutes while she untangles it. Inevitably the running water fills a pool somewhere in the rose garden or just runs all over the concrete, into the gutter, onto the street.

Rear view of Anna petting a cat

Anna doesn't even live near the roses so it is beyond us why she feels obligated to come over a minimum of twice a day and water. She lives around the corner and probably has her own garden she could be watering and maintaining. Our rents have been driven up year after year based on the outrageous water bill our landlord Ron receives. I have no idea why these ignoramuses can't make that connection and try to conserve. It will be raining again next month and all the dried out stuff will come back. It's inevitable, it happens year after year without fail. 

The neighbor on the other side of me, Lilly Mae, is the best neighbor I've ever had. She doesn't get too involved in Anna and Linda's drama but Linda is such a pain in the ass that every now and then she engages Lilly Mae. Linda is really passive and makes a lot of back-handed compliments and observations. I don't mind or get involved I think mostly because of the age difference (that and I have a full time job and life). I think because Lilly Mae is near her age, she's a peer and often gets sucked into Linda's passive fishing expeditions. The great thing about Lilly Mae is that she really doesn't take any shit and will tell people like it is. 
Lilly Mae telling Linda how it is.
Notice the roses in the middle are lower and the ones on right and left are taller.
Lilly Mae telling Linda that she isn't pruning the roses correctly. 
Our kitchen windows face this scene so while we're eating dinner we watch the neighborhood busybody show. It's better than TV! We are rarely involved in the other ladies' drama. There are a few other players too involved in this, they are more like background characters and like me keep the involvement minimal. I only step in when Linda or Anna start messing with my shit. Like this morning, Linda thought she'd take it upon herself to weed my garden. I had to come out and say "why are you doing that? don't do that please." Linda's series of explanations included "well the cats need somewhere to lay" you mean shit because it's fresh turned up dirt..."it looks so messy" my response is I planted a natural low maintenance landscape because I didn't want to take care of it or waste water...finally she said that Ron told her she could take care of the garden. Which is a total bullshit lie, Ron can't stand Linda. I called her on the lie and asked her again to stop. "Well I guess I'll stop" she said and walked back over to her side of the rose line.

Linda ready for a new day, and a new way to be a busybody.
Every now and then we have an inconsiderate hipster neighbor or two move in too and take over the backyard as if it was an extension of their apartment, leaving garbage, laundry and personal items scattered all over. Linda should direct her energy into regulating those folks, not messing with shit that isn't hers.

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