Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Neighborliness (We're Getting A Cannon)

I love this neighborhood. We're a tool-sharing, egg-borrowing, friendly, considerate, shining example of how to successfully jam a lot of people into a city and still get along. It's worked well for years, but the new renters across the street are starting to raise hackles up and down the block. We'd all be happy to mind our own business and let them mind theirs, in this case 24-hour cash-and-carry drug sales and some small-scale prostitution, if only they'd use their indoor voices. Sadly, they have no indoor voices. My calmest neighbor finally discovered the location of the end of her rope the other day and stormed over there demanding that the car radio, which was rattling pavement, be turned down. It wasn't. "It's not a radio, it's a CD," the gentleman sneered. Things looked tense. I'm as big a liberal as anyone else on the block, but 'long about the third time I was awakened in the middle of the night by elements of our neighbors' customer base, I discovered I was capable of violent thoughts. I much prefer an attitude of forbearance.

That's why I was particularly struck by the reaction of the fellow in Pennsylvania whose neighbor, William Maser, 54, fired a cannonball into his house, where it pierced a wall and rolled into a closet. "I'm sure he didn't mean to," he said. "Apparently, it ricocheted."

Mr. Maser, described as something of a history buff, was interested in recreating ancient weaponry and was working on his Gettysburg reenactment when the mishap occurred. "Oh, that sort of thing happens," the victim insisted. "I'm sure it was an accident, especially after that last episode with the catapult. And that time, honestly, he had no way of knowing a boulder that size would travel that far. I don't know how you can know, until you try it out. So he promised he would aim somewhere else, and I'm sure he did. Unfortunately, the cannonball bounced off my garage and headed right for the house."


"Did I say catapult? My mistake. It was really more of a trebuchet. The catapult incident was earlier. I'm not even sure what kind of disease that animal that came through my roof had; I didn't want to get too close. But you can't blame a guy for wanting to get something that putrid away from himself in a hurry, and after all he did have that catapult all set up and ready to go."

You're remarkably tolerant.

"Well, we like to get along around here. I like to putter in the garden. My neighbor likes to build medieval weaponry. Everyone needs something to do."

Your tomatoes do look fine. What is that they're staked on? Are those feathers?

"Oh, well, those arrows all came down at once when he had some friends over. I was a little miffed at first, until I realized I could use them in the garden. Watch your step--that's oil over there. I haven't had a chance to clean it up."


"It's not hot anymore, but it's still a little slippery."

Your neighbor poured boiling oil into your kitchen? However is that an accident?

The fellow paused a moment, considering. His lip trembled a bit. "Yeah, that's just mean," he mumbled into his shirt, cutting a glance across the street.


  1. You might wanna head down to Costco -- they're having a special on jumbo cans of Whupass.

  2. Get out your birding binocs, and start collecting license tags. When you have a couple of weeks' worth, go to the PD and ask to speak to whomever's in charge of vice. Give him the info, along with a description of the activity. In the meantime, don't do anything to call attention to yourself with the neighbors.

    They'll run the tags, and if they come back to known users or dealers, they'll be all over that dude like stink on a compost pile. Your name need not come up.

  3. Digitalzen rocks. Like he said, keep your head down, don't complain to the morons, and quietly gather information. Let's hope your police department is more responsive than ours. I hope you get them and that they'll have to move out and find a neighborhood where what they do is the norm, because with merde for brains, they're just going to keep doing what they do.
    People who stay up all hours often do their sleeping when the rest of us are working. Late morning might be the time to point the speakers out the window with some Dean Martin hits cued up. Oh, I'm furious on your behalf, Murre.

  4. Poor babies. There's nothing worse. And I agree: don't deal directly with them -- if possible. We once had an upstairs neighbor who, after we politely asked him to tone it down a bit, devoted his life to tormenting us. He wore heavy boots, and on the hour, every hour during the wee hours [he must've been setting his alarm], he would take said boots and pound on the floor for several moments.
    I fear I'm not as kind as the gent in PA. At those moments, something involving violence seems more appropriate to the situation.
    Love your posts, Murr. They're always delightful.

  5. All the neighbors are on it. We do call the police when appropriate, but mostly we're leaning on the landlord, who is receptive. We dealt with this before a lot in the old days but it's been decades. This too shall pass. Thanks guys!

  6. "People who stay up all hours often do their sleeping when the rest of us are working." Um, Julie? I resemble that! Some of us are working when you folks are sleeping. And you know why? Because the news watch never stops, sister. Luckily I didn't go for the cash and carry drug sales/small scale prostitution degree. No sir. Didn't have enough credits, so I dropped out in my senior year and did singing telegrams instead. And just for the record, I love Dean Martin. So did Elvis. And I've never riled any of my neighbors. At least, not much. That I'm aware of.

  7. Nothin ever comes to no good up on Choctas Ridge - oops, I mean nothin good ever happens after midnight! Maybe sic the Jehovah's Witnesses on 'em -

  8. Oooh. Jehovah's Witnesses. Ooooh. Yessssh.

  9. Madge's neighbors may wanna borrow that cannon when you're done with it:
    NYC neighbor sues Madonna over loud music, dancing
    (AP) – 1 day ago
    NEW YORK — One of Madonna's New York neighbors says the superstar's loud music and frequent dance sessions are causing a commotion.
    Karen George, of Manhattan, lives above Madonna in a building on Central Park.
    She said in a lawsuit filed Friday against the building's co-op board that the Material Girl is using her apartment as a rehearsal studio, forcing neighbors to endure "blaring music, stomping and shaking walls," for up to three hours each day.
    George complained about "unreasonably high-decibel, amplified music" and vibrations pouring through walls, ceilings and radiators.
    The building's board says it has already threatened to evict Madonna.
    Madonna's representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.