Tuesday 18 May 2010

Dear Neighbors

Dear Neighbors,

The other day I noticed that you were adding another panel to your "privacy screen." Although I do not understand why your driveway needs privacy, it is your property over there and you have a right to do as you please over there in accordance with local laws blah blah blah. There are some grand old pines that have been growing between our driveways long before either of us moved in which provide a wind-block and a living natural privacy screen. But no matter. I digress.

I object to your tying of two garbage saplings to a third in order to avoid having to cull them before putting up the latest panel. I found these two saplings tied up to a third with baling twine yesterday. Yesterday was the perfect day to go shopping for another bird feeder, which I hung up on one of the pine branches in front of the tied up saplings and adjacent to the privacy screen on my side of the property line. Yesterday I refrained from digging up some clone saplings of the aspen in my backyard and replanting them on my side of the privacy screen. I also refrained from decorating in front of the fence with some very large bluebells which persist upon reseeding themselves wherever they damn well please. And I ordered myself not to take cuttings of some poison ivy (which seems to irritate my skin much less than most folks' skin) and tuck them in along your privacy screen. I hid the knives and scissors from my mate who had sudden urges to experiment with how much force would be required to cut through baling twine. The problem, dear neighbors, does not lay in the existence of your privacy screen.

You have a pool. It must be an elegant pool. I do know it is an in-ground pool. That much I can see from one of my porch decks. Some Sunday mornings in the summertime you have jazz and champagne pool gatherings. I actually like the jazz-- although the jazz you favor is not the N'Orlins jazz that I remember from living in Louisiana years ago-- and your drinking is not my intimate concern. Although I am brain damaged, I am not brain dead dear neighbors. I distinctly remember pulling into my driveway with the thing held together by duct tape and chicken wire that pretends to be a car and watching the last of your pool contents drain down my driveway that day in early September. I remember thinking, "How odd." This trespassing by your chlorinated water upon my tarmac must have required some finesse. Your driveway lays closer to the source of the water. Indeed I dare to point out that your driveway slopes downward in a direct route to the sewer. This event was not repeated in subsequent years as I happened to be home during the great laying of the pipeline.

You have lilacs. They hang over my yard and that's okay. How it is that you think it is perfectly alright to enter my yard with your shiny shears in hand without so much as a by-your-leave escapes me. Similarly, my rearranged brain cannot wrap itself around the three men I found one day on my property cutting some of your trees down. "It is customary for a neighbor to advise another of the necessity of entry in order to take care of things like trees," I told the workmen. "It is your employers' responsibility to have spoken with me beforehand. I would not have objected had I had that courtesy extended to me. So now that I know what you are doing, carry on."

That reminds me. You have a garage which sits parallel to a portion of my now fenced in back yard. The property line allows for you to maintain your garage and for me to plant columbines. Trimming your trees and then tossing limbs back there onto my columbines is uncool. I also object to your snide comments rendered within my hearing about my supposed need for lessons on where the property lines exist. (I have the map dear neighbors, and my property consists of a square and an added isosceles triangle). And it is difficult for me to ascertain what it is that you "will not put up with" anymore when you declare this within my hearing but fail to tell me directly about your specific objections. If you approach me and calmly state what actions of me and my mate besides breathing that you find so irritating, perhaps we can stand together like adults and work out a neighborly solution to your woes. Until then, there will be no alleviation of your troubles.

Here are some things which you may not know about me dear neighbors: I don't celebrate Christ Mas and I don't have credit card debt. I don't take out massive loans for home improvement. I save up for home repairs and I pay cash. I like doing it that way. My cash paid for the driveway to be paved, the attic to be redone, the new windows to be installed, the fence. My cash will pay for my new clunker after the current clunker gives up the ghost, the window sills to be scraped and painted, and the new linoleum in my kitchen. I never understood the "keeping up with the Jones-es" compulsion and I refuse to participate in it. I choose to live within my means, not above it. We all make our choices.

Today I have chosen this format to put you on formal notice. Dear neighbors, my actions already bespeak my intentions to enjoy life to the fullest for however long I have left on this earth in my present form. I like feeding the birds and watching their antics from my back deck. I like sitting on said deck while my quiet dog snoozes in a patch of sunlight. I like my wildflower patch. I like my trees, bushes, weeds, flowers, bees, and chipmunks. I even like the little violets that grow in my grass. I like watching families of birds in my nesting boxes and forsythia bushes. I like studying the birds and other natural events from my bench on the back deck. I like hanging out on my back deck. The dog likes having a fenced in back yard. My mate likes resting on the back deck after weeding the tomato patch. The back deck and the smaller deck by my driveway both look like two people with brain damage stained it and I like that too. My dad helped me stain both decks.

My dad has dementia and I love him. My mate is fond of sharp edges and I love him. My dog is in love with life and I love her. I am defensive and irritable and brain damaged and I love myself.

No love,
sapphoq healing t.b.i.

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