Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July from the Anti-Neighbor!

As I've gotten older, it's become easier to let the unimportant things roll off my back and it is also much easier to speak up for what I believe.
Yesterday was the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day America! I love this country, not a day goes by that I don't appreciate how fortunate I am just to have been born here. So, I am not one to squash anyone's celebration of this country.
While I was out enjoying the day at a chili cook-off with my good friend Michelle, Mike got a visit from our neighbor across the street; they were planning to have a group of friends over and would be setting off fireworks in the street in front of the house. As in, right in front of our house. Anyone with a dog that reacts to fireworks by panting, shaking uncontrollably, and going out of their mind, knows how hearing this news would make you feel. Poor Mike, to be put in that situation. Nobody wants to be the buzz-kill neighbor, but she obviously came over to inform us of their plans for a reason - to hear what we had to say (I'm giving her way too much credit to even assume that she started with any good intentions). Mike is a very reasonable person with a lot of tact when it comes to dealing with neighbors. He kindly let her know that he/we would not be okay with those plans. He informed her that we have spent a lot of time working with our dog and that fireworks are extremely difficult for her, not to mention the fact that fireworks are illegal where we live (a subtle but direct hint that our opinion in the matter does actually trump theirs). Her comment was "everyone up and down the street will be doing it". (Ummm, does that make it legal or okay?) Mike reiterated our position, she left, and ten minutes later she came back to say that they had changed their plans. Good - it's nice to know that there are reasonable people who aren't completely self-absorbed and think of themselves as being above the law. So, come sundown, we hunkered down for the evening in the front room. We had our movie and Z was snug in her anxiety wrap with xanax in her system and her puzzles on standby to keep her occupied should we need them. Yea! We can do this! ...

"Ready for the movie! I've got my xanax, treat-toy, anxiety wrap, and puzzles!"

Whoops...wait.... I spoke too soon about the neighbors not being self-absorbed. Apparently the 'change in plans' only meant that they would be going one house over to start their loud whining-popping-fizzing display. Great. Look, I get that there are city and other event fireworks on the 4th of July that I will forever have to deal with (and not be able to enjoy myself) and that my dog will hear those booms from off in the distance, but I will be damned if I'm going to sit there sheepishly and let someone add to that with loud screeching, popping fireworks right on my own street when they legally have no right to do so. I have enough that I have to manage for Z, so when the law says it's illegal to set-off fireworks in our city, I should be able to let out a sigh of relief that at least I don't have to worry about that. So, why is it okay for this group to force their choice on us? It's not. When this 'lady' came to let us know their plans and was informed it was not okay by us (or the city), that should have been the end of it, but I forget that while I live in the best country in the world, the land of the free, some people here have taken that privilege to mean something entirely different than what I perceive it to mean, especially when the whole mob mentality kicks in. Some people in other parts of the world view Americans as being self-centered, gluttonous, and having a sense of entitlement that is way out of whack - the reason for that thinking played out for me last night. While Mike stayed with Z, I went outside with my camera for a couple of minutes to film this display of patriotism for whatever reason (maybe I'd call the police, maybe the firemen would want to see what caused the neighborhood to burn down, or maybe the behaviorist would want to see what finally sent our dog through the window). I was greeted by things like "oooh, she's filming for the police", and "F*%^ her!" from this large group of 'neighbors'- not to mention taunts to our windows later from some little tweens. It actually makes me laugh - we live in a very nice neighborhood and would any one of these white collar men or Stepford wives dare to say anything one on one? No, but put them in a group and all of the sudden they grow a pair. And of course, their display of the obvious love they have for their country/lack of love for their countrymen continued, for an hour, with Daddy-Donut leading the pack, lighting the fuses, and telling his kids to ignore me while he continued to ignore the law. (I call him that because I don't know his actual name and he sure looks like he's headed for a good ol' fashioned American heart attack)

The bottom line is this ...They wanted to set off illegal fireworks, their neighbors had reason to not want that, they needed to accept that as adults, suck it up - because we did have the law on our side after all-, and make other plans. Sorry, it may suck for the 20+ of them, but that doesn't make it okay. Period. Really. Seriously - PERIOD.

So, thank you neighbors for playing into the stereotype of the rude, obtuse American; your display showed what is wrong in America, not what is good and right. Finally dear neighbor, thank you for adding your contribution to this picture of our baby girl...
Panting, shaking, pacing, and hiding in the shower. 

Mike and I sometimes talk about us being 'that house' on the street. We're the ones with no kids, we aren't part of the social-kumbaya crowd, and we have a dog with issues. Ugh, so what. I am more than happy to be 'that house' if it means we aren't part of the clueless crowd - the group that thinks that celebrating America means disregarding your neighbors if they aren't part of your 'in crowd' and ignoring any laws that don't fit your gigantic waistband. As I wrote at the beginning of this post, it is pretty easy to let unimportant things roll off my back, and the opinions of people I do not respect, no matter how close their front door is to mine, isn't even on my list of things I have time to consider.

I still haven't decided what kind of follow-up would be good for this, not because I give a dog's fart about the neighbors, but because I don't need a repeat of this next year. I'm still considering paying a visit to the Po-Po with my camera so someone in blue actually makes sure the neighbors don't think this was okay by any means, but that would require more of my precious time and energy to be wasted on these classless dolts. What I'd really love to do is to put a big sign in my yard with a link to this blog post as I think that would be sufficient to get my point across, but I think Mike would take away my lawn privileges, and I don't want that to happen because I plan on spending lots and lots of time out front smoking cigarettes (except I don't actually smoke) where the neighbor kids will be forced to inhale smoke while I play Metallica and Michael Bolton full blast on a loop! ...What??? Would that be wrong of me?!?!?!??!

Edited to add - BTW, did I mention that they put the fireworks on top of a ladder so they were actually closer to the overhead trees?!?!?     .........I D I O T S!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for standing up to them! Way too many people talk about "their rights;" not that they have any right to break the law and/or cause distress to others! I'm sorry that Zainey had to suffer through that.