Earlier today I was deep in thought trying to get a computer system to cooperate here at the home of the Fur Olympics. The doorbell rang, which always irritates me when I have a computer in pieces and its not behaving properly.
In that frame of mind, I opened the door. A white haired gentleman was there, and he immediately began to berate me. Apparently, he and his wife had been walking by our house, and the lawn clippings on our sidewalk offended his sensibilities. He also informed me that he “knew the man who owned this house before…”, as if this would somehow cause me to quiver in my boots.
I assured the fellow that I had just finished mowing the lawn an hour or so earlier, and planned on sweeping up. He then told me that no one else on my block had such rude grasskeeping habits as I, and that he had seen my despicable behaviour before. He again reminded me that he knew the man who owned my house before.
Well, I swept the sidewalk. But let me tell you, I really wanted to find that old guy again and belt him one. So I had some grass clippings on my sidewalk. Unlike my neighbors, I mulch, which saves nature etcetera. It also saves me from having to bag lawn clippings, but apparently it offends this old fellow.
But what really bugged me about what he said was his “I knew the man who lived here before you…” line. Exactly why should I care? I own the house now, I pay the mortgage, the taxes, and the other sundry bills. If he finds my sidewalk keeping habits unsatisfactory, well whoopdee fricking doo. I’m happy to hear a polite opinion, but this wasn’t an opinion, it wasn’t even remotely polite. I’ve never complained about our neighbor’s howling dog, or the 2:30 AM backyard beer fests their teenagers have. I don’t get go across the street and tell Mr. “I’ve got a leaf blower and I’m going to find something to blow around every blasted weekend” to shut his noisy contraption off. And now he has a gas powered pressure washer…
But right about now, I really figure I should start complaining. Apparently, once you reach a certain age, that becomes your right. Just walk right up, and piss some one off with your useless, self-absorbed, myopic, and basically irritating opinion. And frankly, I’ve about had it up to here (points somewhere above the top of his head) with retired wastes of good oxygen telling me how offensive my grass clippings are.
The moral: if you come to my door, with some complaint about something as earth-shatteringly critical as my lawn keeping habits, then I strongly advise that you approach it with some degree of subtlety, wit, and friendliness. Otherwise, keep your trap shut and find something useful to do with your life.