Monthly Archives: March, 2019

Unneighborly Behavior

Last week, the police came a-knock knock knocking at my door. That’s not something that has ever happened before, I must say. And, because it was after, okay, let’s say 7:00 pm and live with it, I was in my jammies. Not an elegant peignoir, who do you think I am? I was in my usual three times too big baggy pj bottoms, with a stretched out tee that said “Fiesta then Siesta.” Plus mismatched fuzzy socks and slippers. Do you have it pictured in your head now? I was a veritable vision of loveliness. Or, woman living alone, not expecting any witnesses.
So why had the po-po come calling? Well, it gets even weirder. But first a little background. You see, in Framingham, MA, where I live, we seem to be experiencing a deficit in reliable lawn care services. When I bought my place three years ago, one of the first services I shopped for was for gardeners. I have a fairly large property, too big for me maintain by myself without help. I got references and shopped around and hired a crew that had excellent referrals. And for a few months, they were awesome.
Then they just stopped showing up and wouldn’t return emails, texts, calls or carrier pigeon notes. I finally gave up and sent them an email terminating their service. That one, they received, because they sent me a not so nice, and not apologetic response, saying they had just gotten “too busy” to service all their customers. Great business ethics, right?
So, I hired another service, this one recommended by someone I know personally. Again, nice guys, started strong, faltered a bit, rebounded…and then stopped showing up, answering calls, texts, you know the drill.
Maybe you’re thinking it’s me? Kerry laughingly suggested there was a network of local lawn services and that I had somehow been blackballed. But, I am a delightful client! I pay on time, and make few demands, other than, please show up. But I can’t maintain my property myself, I need help. After the crew abandoned me this year, I had to hire a sixth grader named Elton to do my fall leaf pickup. True story, he was an industrious local lad looking to make some money. Don’t get me wrong, Elton did a fantastic job, but I had to pay $10 extra because his mom had to drive him, which probably isn’t a sustainable model for a regular service. Plus, he’s not allowed to use a driving mower yet, which would be a hardship.
So, I hired another crew last week. Terminated crew number 2 by email, and after a week, they finally got back to me, told me I was a “joy” to work with and apologized for letting me down. So that felt better but I still wasn’t hiring them back. New crew seems promising; they were here for hours last week, doing a big spring cleanup necessitated by all the neglect from crews 1 and 2.
Hopefully, third time is the charm. However, last week they left a gas can on the property. I saw it in the late afternoon, after I had taken my shower and put on my fetching evening ensemble so I figured I would pick it up in the morning. No big whoop, right?
Well, apparently, big ole can of whoop to someone. Because the reason the man was at my door was that one of my neighbors had called the police about the gas can! What???
I cannot imagine what their thought process was. First of all, the can was there for maybe three or four hours. What were they concerned about? And why wouldn’t they just come knock on the door and ask if they were concerned? I’m on pretty good terms with my neighbors, except one couple who has moved in fairly recently, so I can’t help thinking it was them. But still, we live on a nice, quiet street, filled with nice people, why would your first instinct be to call the police?
These are all rhetorical questions, I can’t answer them, but even the policeman, who was very nice, was shaking his head over the whole thing. In fact he was so nice that seeing I wasn’t dressed for outdoors, he moved the offending gas can to the other side of the property where no one would be upset by it.
This happened a week ago, but I still wonder about it. I wish we lived in a world where I could go knock on the suspected neighbor’s door and have a nice, friendly chat about what happened. But given their opening volley, I’m not sure I want to do that, and will simply keep a polite distance until the opportunity comes up to introduce myself in a benign, neighborly way. It’s what a good neighbor would do.
The end, for now