Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 in Life, the Universe, and Everything | 1 comment

So many of my friends know that since I purchased my house in 2008, my neighbors have been waging a rather one-sided note war with my roommates and I. It basically goes like this – my two roommates park their cars on our public road, which has no parking restrictions, does not require permits, and as far as Pittsburgh goes generally has ample parking along its length. Approximately once a month, they find notes on their cars expressing what unneighborly behavior it is to park on a public road in the general vicinity of their home. This week we got three, which we are proudly displaying on our fridge:

Now the pole complaints are a first, and it warrants saying a few things about the pole in question. This pole is located immediately in front of this woman’s house, in between her driveway and her neighbor’s driveway. Evidently the problem appears to be that if we don’t park mere inches away from her pole, she finds herself unable to back out of her completely unobstructed driveway. And she’s suggesting that we take lessons in backing up?

The rain-protection techniques (zip-loc baggies and copious amounts of tape) are also a nice touch.

Now really the neighborhood-wide tension stems from the fact  that there is a giant drainage ditch on our side of the road so no one can park their small economy cars on our side because, well your car’s chassis really isn’t suppose to touch the ground, right? So they park in front of the houses that belong to our neighbors across the street.  And it seems that at least three of these neighbors believe that parking directly in front of their house is a God-given right. We are not the only ones being attacked by these fairly unproductive notes — most of my drainage-ditch side neighbors have also received them. They range from guilt-tripping us by telling us they’ve been parking there for 10 years and we are ruining the neighborly atmosphere (which evidently, a woman in a Lowe’s parking lot feels this is a valid argument). Others discuss how their children are unable to walk 10 feet up the road (however said children are, in fact, capable of walking up the 27 steps to this particular neighbor’s front door). And it seems that when we try to be kind and avoid parking in front of one neighbor’s house, another neighbor finds this unacceptable and begins a whole new string of notes. So I’ve been seeking advice from friends and acquaintances as to what to do. This is what they’ve come up with:

  1. Ignore the notes
  2. Place similarly passive aggressive notes on their cars (in particular angry notes that don’t make any sense at all, preferably written in gibberish and not about parking).
  3. File a harassment suit with the argument that they are reducing the rental value of my property (my roommates pay rent to me) by creating a hostile environment.
  4. Purchase the largest, rustiest, eyesore of a pick-up truck and park it there indefinitely.
  5. Rent a large POD (portable storage container) and place it there for an unspecified period of time.
  6. One roommate has a heart condition – we could apply for a handicapped parking space for him, shutting out all of our unhandicapped neighbors from said spot.
  7. Install electric shock devices on our windshield wipers (similar to the classic hand-shock prank) to discourage placement of such notes.
  8. In the winter, use my heavy duty snow blower (left over from my days in New Hampshire) to blow large snow drifts into the space when we leave and clear it out again when we come back.

Now, in reality, I have learned that passive-aggressive behavior doesn’t really get you anywhere, so we continue to ignore the notes and try to be as considerate as possible about our parking habits. Every time a neighbor confronts me, I have explained to them that we are unable to park on our side of the road, but he is welcome to park his F-35o or his Ford Explorer  in front of our house, since I’m sure they would be able to handle the drainage ditch much better. He has yet to do this and despite these conversations the notes continue. So I say, let them continue! And I will continue to display the best ones on my fridge.

1 Comment

  1. I think you should write them nice little haikus and leave them on their cars. :) They’d be confused.

    For example:
    “Along Deely Street
    The sun shines bright all the time
    Except when it’s dark.”

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