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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Neighborly Anxieties: Part Deux, or The Outcome

by Tom Pappas

I recently wrote about two situations that were hard for me to address involving neighbors. The outcome is worth mentioning and so I will. 

The troublesome rental: I contacted six of the neighbors who had signed a letter of concern – one in person and five by phone; that situation seems to be smoothed out. My energy was boosted to approach the people west of my house about the bushes that encroach on the sidewalk.

The trespassing bushes: It took three tries to catch the “Wests” but I looked over the fence and they were having lunch outside.  I scurried around to the gate unfolding my picture of the dangerous fallen branch suspended by their foliage over the sidewalk.

Their response is worth quoting.  “We never go out there. [duh] Thanks for telling us. Someone was scheduled to take care of that in May. We’ll call today.”  Clearly I went through a lot of anguish imagining possible negative responses.

Get ready for irony.  A week after the Wests liberated the sidewalk from overgrowth I received an official letter from the city engineer indicating that I would need to trim the junipers that crowded the sidewalk in front of my property. YGTBK. 

Laurel and I made separate trips to the end of the driveway and came up with this scenario that was agreeable to the city engineer. The violation belonged to the neighbors to the east.

We share a double driveway with them. Our house numbers appear two times - on both our side, and in between the driveways where they are separate. The East’s don’t have house numbers posted. The inspector assumed the address on the sign between the drives belonged to the Easts.

I shielded the Wests from a letter by my intervention, but I got the letter that should have gone to the Easts.  No good deed goes unpunished.

God is the God of everything. God is with my anxiety about the possibility of disappointing. God is with me in the tension that comes with confrontation. God is with me through the consternation of injustice. God gives me the satisfaction of looking back with a smile of contentment and being able to eventually laugh at this good and crazy world given to us to experience.

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