May 28, 2002

I have been very wrong about the people next door.

I've lived here for about seven years now and the people next door seemed rather nice, as neighbors go. They minded their business, I minded mine. We smiled and waved when we saw each other outside, and if not too many steps had to be taken, walked over and chatted a little. Usually about the groundhog population or the stray dogs that wandered into the yards every once in awhile. Small stuff. But friendly.

Until the tree.

The tree at the corner of the properties came down in the Big Storm. It was just waiting for the moment, having lost several large branches and scattering several smaller ones about over the years. It was only a matter of time - it was planted many years ago when my aunt and uncle owned this house (by a former neighbor, not the same as the current owner). Planted on that property.

Therefore, I was well aware of which property the tree belonged on. But when the tree came down, damaging a couple of my trees in the process, my neighbor claimed it was not his. He never said who's tree he thought it was. His answer was only "Not mine." Even though a simple glance at the other trees firmly planted on his property that he had no trouble claiming as his own would show they were all the same tree, all planted in a U-shape around the barbecue pit.

So there were a couple of heated phone conversations and a visit by his insurance agent. Who, by the way, had no trouble seeing that the tree was, indeed, on his client's property no matter how much his client protested. Even when his client insinuated that I had gone out, pulled up the iron pin embedded in the ground to mark the property behind us, and moved it. A pin put there by a local developer with money to burn who would have sued my ass in a heartbeat. The agent approved the check to cover not only the removal of the tree but the replacement of one of my trees damaged in the fall.

Should have ended there.

Now we have the property line dispute. Previously, when I mowed the grass, I would often go over the line a little bit to save my neighbor some trimming. They never seemed to mind, and I never objected when they mowed over a little on my side. No big deal.

After the tree incident, however, I have been careful to stay on my side of the line. I was taken by suprise over the reaction to the tree and am erring on the side of caution. Especially after being accused (in a round-about way) of such treachery as moving a property marker. You just never know. It's easy to see where the line is. Just head straight for the edge of the front garden.

My neighbor, however, has other ideas. So there is now a little strip of unmowed grass no more than 2 inches wide between where I mowed on Saturday and he mowed yesterday.

I suppose he's making a point. Do you think he realizes that the only point he is making is that he's an idiot?

Honestly. Men and their territory. I suppose I'll find him out there one day, pissing a boundary line....

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