Thursday, August 11, 2005

Being Neighborly


Only here 6 days and there is already a snafu. I have already evoked the ire of the neighborhood sidewalk nazi. Two days ago, while walking my dog, I heard someone banging on a window, and I turned to find a woman screaming at me from inside her home in broken English, pointing and waving, and two little kids doing the same thing. The only words that I could make out were "no" and "dog" and "mine." They scrambled past their windows to the foyer, where I was certain they would open the door and come out to confront me (for what, I had no idea). Instead, the kids opened up the mail slot in the front door and proceeded to yell at me through that, their wee mouths poking through the metal slat. "Maybe they are just trying to welcome me" I thought. So, this morning I go out to walk the dog (the sheer nerve!) and I see this woman out in the street, yelling at the construction workers who were filling the holes in the road. I thought maybe in her frenzy she would not see me walking by, but no such luck. As my dog dared to stop at the tree on the street (planted in dry dirt at the edge of the sidewalk) she begins to shoo me away, telling me (in broken English) "they... kill... your...dog." Now, I was starting to wonder if she was protecting my dog by saying the streets are filthy and that I should find a safer place for my dog, when a miraculously lucid sentence poured from her mouth: "My kids play there, I don't want your dog pee-peeing."

Now, if you have seen the tree lined streets of Astoria, and witnessed the majesty of their trunks and roots, you would know to NEVER let your children play there. The "planter" which housed the tree was no more than 2'x2' square- not even kittens would have enough room to play there. Consider also that if my dog does NOT pee in an area such as that, the only other place to go would be the sidewalk, which I would venture to guess that far more people access than the 2'x2' area of tree roots. It was a judgment call...

I politely smiled and said I would continue walking, and she went back to shouting in broken English until I was well out of ear shot. All before 10am.

For reference, I have posted a photo of the pee-perpetrator. Please, judge kindly, she is getting old.

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