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Good Fences

July 6th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

Let’s consider the purpose of a fence; used to contain livestock/pets, shield a specific area from the elements, define a property, obtain privacy. All these reasons are purposeful and necessary, especially when living in close proximity to one’s neighbor. Now let’s define “neighbor”;  a person or people living near or adjacent to oneself who are either “neighborly” or behave otherwise with relation to one’s fence line. Ok, you see where this is going. Let’s face it – fences are there for a reason.
Back in the 1950’s when our neighborhood was first established, they built cookie cutter capes side by side as a template for the ideal setting in which to live. The builders left the spaces in between open – no fences. What were they thinking? Then, little by little, the people who purchased these charming little dwellings began to mark off their slice of utopia for the various reasons mentioned by way of fencing. And they lived happily ever after, right? Uh, guess again.
Fortunately, for most of us, the fence, with our adjoined properties is respected and rarely is it necessary to reach beyond that boundary. Should the occasion arise when one must overstep that boundary, we act in a neighborly fashion, ring the doorbell, and ask. If no answer, repeat steps one, two and three at a more opportune time. Then there is the jerk (for lack of a more dignified term) that skips steps one, two, and three and does what he damn well pleases. Yes, he actually enters his neighbor’s yard, which might I remind you, is fenced.  He simply drives around the block in his suburban van with his tools, his kids, his ego (ever more inflated with the task at hand), and together they spill out of the van like a malignancy. He ENTERS the property with the utmost importance and with the sole intent to prune the back portion of his shrubbery, which faces his neighbor’s yard. The neighbor stares aghast from her window at the scene unfolding before her – in HER yard. Jerk, buzzing about his business with the children lined up like little soldiers picking up the clippings.  If only the neighbor, frozen at the window in disbelief, had a German Shepherd to let out right about now instead of the Jack Russell she owns. (No offence Chip, but you’re not up to the job).
This same Jerk (normally given a more distinct title) had the audacity to enter my back yard and lopped whole branches off my property that he deemed intrusive to his side of “the fence.” Fortunately, for him, I was not home at the time (I can be worse than a German Shepherd when defending my fortress). Nevertheless, I was faced with the unpleasant task of confronting this transgressor to remind him of the purpose of the fence line. Not only was he unapologetic and made it a point to say so, he blatantly did not care. Not entirely surprising given his track record. I had endeavored to perform this mission alone, believing that my loving husband might lose his temper making us appear confrontational. In hindsight, I should have accepted his offer for I was attacked by the Jerk’s Pit Bull – his wife.
I was greeted most ungraciously at the door by the Pit Bull with little more than a snarl. The conversation went downhill from there. For those of you who don’t know me, I avoid confrontation whenever possible and although I was the damaged party, I did not raise my voice. Instead, I detected a certain edge creep into my tone as I struggled to control it, deflecting blow by blow accusations concerning the unruly growth emanating from my yard. Had I not seen it for myself, given their  outlandish description, I would have been certain we were dealing with a monstrous green tangle more apt to be found in the Amazon rather than Long Island suburbia. Ah, the sins we neighbors commit against one another! The arm connected to my green monster dared to brush the roof of their shed causing me to be labeled the untidy groundskeeper.
I returned home to my haven, deflated, desecrated and demeaned and began clipping away fraught with fury. Take THAT! And THAT! And THAT’s your head snapped off! Yes, all the anger directed at Mr.  and Mrs. Jerk resulted in a very productive and prodigious afternoon. It’s also very therapeutic, I might add. I carried huge piles encased in twine to be carted away at the curb. Other areas less offensive were attacked with a vengeance – CLIP! CLIP! CLIP! Morphed from a mild mannered woman of calm reserve into a dangerous wild-eyed fiend with shears, as I maniacally clipped away.
For the first time in ten years, I have installed padlocks on the gates leading into either side of my property. My sanctuary is officially off-limits to everyone with the exception of the people who mow the lawn and my nearest and dearest Jack Russell neighbor.
Good fences make good neighbors – better fences do not necessarily make bad neighbors better but one out of two’s not bad. I hope you found this article amusing. One day, so will I – when the Jerk can’t get in.


So………….whadayathink? How would you have handled this situation? And have you ever experienced anything of the kind? And isn’t he a Jerk with a capital J ???


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11 Responses to “Good Fences”

  1. Petrina Maria Says:

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  3. Francis Kuiz Says:

    nEIGHBORS suck. Excellent article.

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