Monday, August 11, 2008

Stop That, Y'all!

About 2 hours ago, Carl and I were sitting down to dinner and became aware of some sounds.

The first sound, the one that never completely stops, is the dog next door (to the north). I think he's half beagle, half Jack Russell, which means he's hyper and excitable and barks all day and most of the night. But it doesn't take much analysis to differentiate between the "I'm bored, somebody pay attention to me" bark and the "Holy Shit! Somebody come take a look at THIS!" bark. We were hearing the latter. Mixed in with the barking were a deep bellowing male voice, a screechy female voice, and little-kid voices.

The house next door (to the south) practically has "Please tear me down and put me out of my misery" painted on it. It was (and probably still is) owned by this old guy named George. George lived in it for awhile, and then it got seriously burglarized, so he was left with few possessions. He moved in with his daughter, coming back periodically to try to fix it up. I'm not sure about the inside, but he did the best he could to keep the yard in order. I think his grandson was preparing to buy the house from George, but then George changed his mind. At least, that's the gossip.

For a year and a half now, various people have come and gone, appearing to be moving in, but then disappearing until the next wave arrives. I've lost count of how many "Rent-a-Center" trucks have pulled up at the curb.

For awhile there was an effort to fix the place up; they were banging on our door at (no exaggeration) four o'clock in the morning, asking to use the phone, for food, for clothes because they were freezing in mid-February, etc. The people come and go, but one thing remains constant: The growing collection of junk vehicles. Oh, yeah, this is a real picturesque neighborhood we live in. Pickup trucks with crap in the back; big stretch limos, a motorboat... I know this is George's grandson, trying to buy & resell cars. And naturally, he just has to do this here on our loosely zoned street.

There's a lady in a bright hot-pink pickup truck who's been here quite a bit. She has three or four really tiny kids, at least two of whom are girls. I have no idea how she's related to George's grandson, but today, the two of them, a younger girl, and all the kids were out front, and it was a brawl. The guy was right up in the women's faces, yelling at full volume. The older woman was screaming back at him, and the younger girl was just hysterical, finally falling on the ground, weeping. The little ones just ran up & down in front of the house. It just kills me to see tiny little kids being exposed to that kind of mayhem. I went through enough of that with my parents -- it's just a terrible thing to do to children.

It got worse - at one point the younger woman was in the air, her feet being pulled by the guy and her arms, head and neck being pulled by the woman. That was when I dialed 911. As I was calling the cops, the neighbors began coming down the street, strolling, just casual, but definitely interested in what was going on. I saw old Archie from down the block, which just goes to show how far those loud voices were carrying.

In this part of town it's almost a cliche that people don't call the cops. It's one of the biggest problems, crime-wise. Our county commissioner comes to our neighborhood meetings on a regular basis. He gives out his number and says "If you don't want to call the police, call me -- I'll call them for you and no one will ever know it was you." So, I will call the police when I see people fighting physically outside my house. They stayed out there for a long time but after the police arrived (and stayed for all of five minutes), things calmed down.

No, I don't want to move.

I want THEM to move.


Kay Dennison said...

Funny how people start behaving when the men in blue show up. I don't care if they know I called. I'm not going to live with such stuff.

The cops have been on our block three times in the last two weeks. It's getting ridiculous. I have to check on some things but I am seriously considering a move.

I hate moving.

Volly said...

Is there a neighborhood association where you are? If not, is there a non-profit foundation that likes to rebuild communities as a hobby? If you get in touch with them, they can shovel lots of money your way, help you form a neighborhood association, and get you rolling toward initiatives that can upgrade your zoning and stiffen building & occupancy codes. At the very least, they give you an "in" with local government and a good idea of who to call when you need help. You shouldn't have to move -- I hate moving too and it's one of the main reasons I'm trying to make things better in the 'hood.