This morning there was a knock at the door, and I opened it to an older woman, (she seemed "normal" enough) who told me she was going to make an offer on the house next door and wondered what the neighborhood was like. After extolling its virtues (possibly, in retrospect, a mistake), we walked down to the sidewalk and stood on the boundary between both properties.
"Something's gotta be done about the landscaping," she said. "And look at that fence!" (Pointing to my old lattice fence between houses.) "Is it a fence or not? It goes one way, and then another! I don't know. Will I have to put up a new fence? Is that my responsibility? Something is clearly wrong with that one."
I didn't bother to tell her that it's my fence, on my property, and that when we put it up, it had to veer a few inches from the straight line on one end to accommodate tree roots.
She went on: "And this tree! The ivy! LOOK AT IT!"
I was looking at it.
I said, "Yeah, once a year I come out and pull out as much ivy as I can. It's a bear to deal with."
"AND LOOK AT ALL THIS STUFF — THIS, AND THIS!"
I didn't bother to tell her that she was talking about MY YARD. The feral part. Funny thing is, it's on my list of things to work on this weekend, but because it's been 85 degrees, I haven't done it. Yet. But I didn't tell her that.
"And this tree, it's gotta come down, or get topped. LOOK AT IT! IT'S TOO BIG! THERE'S A FUNNY PLACE WHERE THE BRANCHES GO IN! IT'S A DANGER! DO YOU SEE THAT? ABOUT HALFWAY UP? IT NEEDS TO BE TOPPED! THE REALTOR SAID IT NEEDS TO BE TOPPED!" She was speaking faster and faster.
I was looking at it. It's an 80-year-old Douglas fir which straddles the property line, which is beloved by me, and is ecosystem unto itself, which I did tell her. I also told her that the city came and trimmed that side of the tree, away from the power lines, 20 years ago. And I told her that topping a tree is probably the worst thing one can do, as it makes the tree susceptible to rot from the inside, which kills the tree.
She ranted on, about how the realtor told her this, and the realtor told her that, mostly a lot of hogwash which had obviously gotten her considerably worked up.
Twenty years ago, a previous owner had approached me about taking down the both the trees on her property, because she didn't like the way they dropped things on the grass and hurt her feet when she walked barefoot. Keep in mind, for the three years she lived there, she went out in her yard possibly 2.3 times, give or take. Anyway, this previous owner and I were standing out on the sidewalk, and the conversation was beginning to get heated, and Mark came out and escorted me into the house. Of course, I was furious — at both the neighbor and my husband — but nonetheless, the tree still stands.
Anyway, at this point in this morning's conversation, I was ready to retract my earlier statement about the wonders of B-Street, but couldn't get a word in. She talked. And talked. And talked some more.
the cinderblock foundation the carpet I hate carpet I have lung problems I love wood the sewer line the grandkids AND THAT GARAGE THAT NEEDS PAINT [my garage] the dirt the grass the other tree the bidding war why aren't there cute trees planted in the parking strip what's wrong with these people doesn't the city have a program don't these people know it looks cute to have trees in the parking strip up and down the street it shields the houses from cars even fruit trees the paint the siding the the the and and and. . . .
God help me.