Monday, March 28, 2011

No Trespassing!

I'm having flashbacks, ya'll. Flashbacks to the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. To the scenes with Todd and Margo Chester... the yuppie couple who live next door to the Griswolds. The ones who just want a peaceful quiet existence and can't seem to have a smidgeon of it because the Griswolds keep hijacking their Zen-centered tranquility. Oh sure, those scenes are hysterically funny in a voyeuristically sadistic kind of way. Unless you're poor Margo Chester, who apparently I am.

Let me take you back to yesterday. When I was attempting to sit quietly in a lounge chair by my pool enjoying the waning sunny hours of a beautiful warm Sunday afternoon. Attempting, I say, because my next door neighbors, the Griswolds, were entertaining the majority of the northern hemisphere, and their guests decided to invade my little corner of paradise.

Our home is situated on a lovely lot that has water on two sides... a long channel behind the house which sweeps around forming a small lake on one side. It's mostly private, but that was not the case yesterday. In fact, it hasn't been the case for the past several months because the Griswolds have been entertaining every Sunday and we have become accustomed to unsupervised children merging into our yard. At first it was harmless enough. Little kids with fishing poles just mindlessly inching over. But yesterday became a study in full-blown trespassing - and not just by the kids.

Imagine sitting on your lounge chair, relaxing with a glass of chardonnay and a magazine only to have your backyard assaulted by throngs of people crisscrossing back and forth. To and fro. Children, 'tweens, and adults just kind of on safari, having a wonderful time adventuring in your yard, casting fishing lines wherever they please and basically showing no respect whatsoever for boundaries or property lines. At one point, one of the fathers was walking up by the screen enclosure and almost trampled through our landscaping! It was really quite astonishing. So astonishing that my exceedingly patient husband, who was watching television inside the house, finally had enough and came out to shoo them away. Do you think they were even the slightest bit contrite or embarrassed? Nope. Not only were the interlopers not contrite or embarrassed... they were incredulous for having been interrupted. In fact, they were acting like they were entitled to squat on our land! One of the adults even tried to justify their encroachment by explaining that they were just fishing the bank as they moved around to the lake. The tone was like: dude, don't be such a buzzkill. Big mistake. At that point my husband got a little pissy and they finally left. When word got around to the Griswolds, I heard a woman (Ellen?) say, "That's just ridiculous that someone would be offended," loudly enough for me to hear. In psychological terminology, that's called projection bias. Whatever. Just fish in your own yard and keep yo asses out of ours, 'kay?

Well, in a perfect world, that would be the end of that. But naturally there were a few subsequent incidents where our yard was just too too enticing for the children to resist. One boy kept saying, "But mom! I know where the fish are, and they're over there," pointing to our bank. Which he brazenly breached without correction. Then, about a half hour later two little kids walked back into our yard. The girl looked sheepishly around and when she noticed me, ran back to the Griswold's crying, "I wanna go inside!" All I did was look at her, I swear.

So now there's like weirdness between my next door neighbors and us. Or should I say, more weirdness. In all honesty, there has always been weirdness because they're kind of weird people. Not weird bad... weird quiet. Quiet almost to a fault. Quiet almost tending toward creepiness. They rarely speak or come outside. They have two daughters I didn't even know existed for the first couple years they lived next door because they were never allowed out. But god love 'em, they're great little entertainers. And lucky us that when they decide to break loose and get un-quiet and un-neighborly, they do it up in a big way inviting all their friends to come along for the ride.

I think there's a lot of wisdom in that good old 17th century proverb: Good fences make good neighbors!


  1. Pellet gun? Spit balls? Rubber bank guns? Hmmmmmm.

  2. Very loud alarms when the lasers have been breached! Cactus along the yard borders? Sorry your Sunday afternoon was interrupted.

  3. sounds like a fence is in order.

  4. @ Garret: OMG! Great minds think alike. Do you know I actually saw a rubber band gun at Gander Mountain yesterday? First time I've ever seen one. For $3.99 I should have bought enough to arm the whole family. Spitballs would be yuckier tho. You're a genius!

    @Liz: Also splendid ideas. We have a very tall very thick Viburnum hedge between our houses because our HOA covenants and restrictions don't allow for privacy fences on waterfront lots. Unfortunately, it stops at the slope. In retrospect, we should have planted Spanish Bayonets all the way down.

    @ Ellen: I wish. Even though we could have 4-foot aluminum fencing, we couldn't take it to the waterline. What IS IT with people? I wonder how they would have liked it if we just came over and planted ourselves in THEIR yard during the party. Think they may have gotten the hint then?

    And just because I'm on a roll listen to this... When I was at work on Saturday "Mrs. Griswold" was in the store. I was just two steps away from my station when she came up to sample a dessert. As soon as I came around the corner, she saw me in her peripheral vision and instead of saying hello, she pulled her hand back and snuck away. Mind you, this is my next door neighbor. Who does stuff like that? So odd.

  5. Here in LaLaLand, we have "poop grass" once a year. It's nasty cow poop fertilizer that's spread all over our lawn to make the grass green and nice for summer. It would suck for you for about a week, but I'm guessing well-timed fertilizing ala around one of your neighbor's bashes would solve the problem. All their guest could tromp through your yard and track cow poop all over their house.

    :-) xo jj

  6. And THAT Joanna, is just one more reason why I adore you so much. Not only are you beautiful and talented, but devious as well. Devious in a creative and much appreciated way. Off to buy cow manure...

  7. Man, neighborhoods can be such a pain! We don't have nearly the tempting property you and Larry have, but we've had some horrible neighbors in years past, to the point where we thought hard about planting some kind of privacy hedge. I like the Spanish bayonets-to-the-water idea. Or at least traffic spikes. These people obviously have no concept of boundaries. You and Larry are 100% right; the Griswolds are 100% wrong. Case closed.


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