Like a Good Neighbor

It’s not that often or that common to find a sense of community in a large city, and I’ve lived in some places where I didn’t know my next door neighbor’s name.  But now that I’m in small-town suburbia, in the same house for over 3 years, I know my neighbors’ cars, their visitors and the mailman; almost everybody that passes through our little-known street. 

To make matters more intimate, two sisters and their families live just four houses away from each other, near their mom who lives on the corner.  It is a family affair.  If I don’t out-and-out like all my neighbors, like the bigoted young mother I wrote about once, or the woman directly across from me who sports a mullet and watches our activities from the window, I have learned to tolerate everybody.

Our street is not a cul-de-sac, but it is part of a loop with only 2 ways in or out, but 5 or six parallel streets.  Most of the streets loop back to each other.  It can be quite amusing to see some frustrated drivers go by the house 3 or 4 times trying to find the way out of the neighborhood.  But that works to our advantage because we have very little foot traffic and even less drive-thru traffic, though we are just 4 blocks from downtown.   

So, why do four of my neighbors on a semi-deserted street, each with our own large driveways, put traffic cones in front of their houses every morning as they leave for work?!

Our newest addition to the street is a neighbor whose husband is a handyman and has a work truck, not unlike some others that live on the street.  (Novato must have a higher per capita construction worker count than anywhere else in the county).  He has a cone in front of his yard all the time.  Their nanny parks in front of my house!

When I recently went to politely yet firmly ask my neighbor not to cut the flowers in bloom out of my yard (duh), I also asked her to tell the nanny to park in a variety of spots, just on street cleaning days, so that I, too, can get the leaves swept away.  Because the first part of our conversation was about not walking into my yard without permission, the neighbor went overboard and told the nanny not to park in front of my house at all.  But at the same time, the neighbor (with the mullet) across the street had asked them not to park opposite her driveway. 

For gods sake, what IS a person with a 4-car driveway to do?    When it’s 90, nay 100!, degrees in the throes of summer, neighbors and visitors tend to park under my big magnolia tree.  I don’t care.  I don’t own the street in front of the house.  (But I do care when said neighbors’ nannies’ car broke down and they left it in front for 4 days and came over and worked on it every day.)

I’m tempted to call the city and report all my neighbors using cones to keep their views pristine and their parking to themselves.  I’m pretty sure it’s illegal.  I’m also tempted to get my own damn cones or charge $5 parking in my driveway on festival days, like people do in big cities who want to take advantage of the situation and make a few bucks.  “Guaranteed parking in the shade…only $5”.  At least til I get home from work.

Hell, cut my fresh flowers!  You deserve them in a vase more than we deserve them in the yard!  Park in the shade in front of my house while protecting your own car-free section! Sure, work on a broken down car!  Maybe I should just stand on the sidewalk and hand out free

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