In A Neighborly Fashion

There has come into my mind a notion that society is not a very nice place. That the people in America today are a lot who should be forgotten by history – except where they can be used as an example of what not to be like as a human being. In my life I have learned many things about many different types and kinds of people. Not all, of course, but a good many. There are surely moments of love and honesty, but most of it is shameful. Their behavior continues to be a collection of acts of self-indulgence, ignorance, bullying, greed, and lying on a scale befitting a nation of sociopaths. And since the coming of the age of the internet, everyone has found that they can hide behind a veneer of digitized beauty, emojis, and fake friendships. And most of these humans have become unbearable.

They make no apologies for their behavior and I will make no apology for my criticism. I have every right to criticize because I have been a target and a victim of their despicable intents.

Let me outline some of the many events which I have had to bear witness to – nay, events that I have been forced to endure. This will help you to appreciate my seemingly negative view on mankind as a general standing. Well, “man,” for the word kind, whether it stand alone, or as a prefix, suffix, or otherwise, does not fit the beast in any fashion. And the proof is in the living experience.

After moving from the close-knit communities of Boston, Massachusetts, we found ourselves moving into a nice and respectable-looking neighborhood in San Leandro, California. The reason for our move is unimportant in this phase of the conversation. So you’ll just have to wait on that bit of information.

The homes in this neighborhood have front lawns, driveways, and trees at the curb (mostly). Clean and tidy. Not obnoxious and sterile like many HOA villages and gated communities… Anyway, as we moved in, two (count them), yes, two families came over to welcome us. Two! Our neighbors directly on our right, and a neighbor directly across the street. Not one other person came by, brought a basket of goodies, said hello, or even looked our way as we carried box after box after box into the house. After seven (count them), yes, seven years, it has remained at that number of friendly locals. No one has rung our doorbell to chat. Not one of these nice people have invited us to a summer cookout where we might meet everyone else on the street. Not one of these people has acknowledged our existence.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone. Not in the cheesy gossip kind of way, though that exists everywhere. But in a way where people watched out for each other. Where strangers were watched and reported to the police. Immediately. Where cops actually walked beats and not only knew the people who lived on these streets, but they knew the kids as well. The good kids and the troublemakers. And everyone knew the cops. The kids (myself here) ran errands for elderly neighbors. Had paper routes. Respected people’s property. And didn’t mouth off when someone yelled at them or corrected them. Mailboxes weren’t rifled. Packages did not get stolen off of front porches. And dogs did not bark and howl all day and all night. In other words, we all may not have liked one another at so many levels, but we all respected each other, each other’s space, and each other’s property. The word Dirtbag wasn’t part of my growing vocabulary. And when it entered my lexicon, Dirtbags came from and lived in far away places. Not my part of the world. Now we seem to have found them. Perhaps all of them. And it is disheartening to say the least.

So after seven years, our only friends on the block remain our neighbors to our right and our neighbor directly across the street.

A recent spate of events have centered on pet owners. Dog owners specifically. For several years at our new home in San Leandro, California, we have had the honor of having neighbors from our street and surrounding neighborhoods bring their foul four-legged friends to roll on, tear up, urinate, and shit on our lawn. How lovely. What class. What a better way to show someone how welcome they are to a new town than to have your pets, big and small, go and shit on their property. Big and small. The shit, that is.

Now, some have actually bent down and picked up their dog’s crap and taken it away with them. But more than not just look around to make sure no one is watching, then they skedaddle like thieves in the night. Many leave their dogs off-leash, which is illegal in our town. A neighbor across the street, Carl, secretly lets his dogs out the front door so they can roam the neighborhood freely like strays where they shit and tear up people’s lawns at will. And several others actually prefer to come late at night so as not to be seen and to leave you with a nice, dew-covered surprise in the morning. Lovely, classy, friendly, friendly people. Makes you feel warm all over.

There is a caveat to this story. So my disclosure is this: simply, we don’t like dogs. The slobber, the mess, the shit, the stink, and all of the other glorious things that make dogs disgusting. To us. And, as my disclaimer, growing up I have had little turtles, cats, dogs, parakeets, more cats, another dog, etc.

That being said, we don’t bemoan others owning dogs. It’s great. Loving an animal and taking care of it while it takes care of your psyche and other needs you may have is a very noble thing. We love our cat in the same way. We’ve even taken her for walks on a leash! Pets become part of your family. And much like your kids and any other extension your family may have, they shouldn’t shit anywhere but at their home. Or, at least, in a bathroom of one sort or another.

Of course, there are several dog parks in the region. But people actually have to go there in order to use it. And the people here are not into doing the right thing. Or even admitting that what they are doing is wrong. Bullies. Pure and simple.

Recently, we were at a school playground and park. It’s a place that is fenced in and gated with limited hours for public use during non-school hours. We go here for walks. Well, I was sitting on the ground against a light post trying to catch up on email when I was suddenly accosted by two over-friendly dogs. I shooed them away but they were determined to play. I stood up and yelled to the owner to get his dogs away from me. Twice. He was in a conversation with two other neighbors who also had their dogs off of their leashes. He finally called the dogs off, though they weren’t trained at all and it took him several minutes to corral them.

After doing so, he broke off his conversation and headed over to me and was trying to act all chatty. Never even mentioning the dogs. I told him directly that he should have his dogs on a leash. And at this point he turned on me. He said in his hardest, smarmiest tone “you are a wonderful human being, you know that?” I stared at him until he walked back to the other couple to talk about me and my attitude.

His Mother must be quite a dirtbag to have raised someone like him. Imagine the gall to turn your crime into someone else’s mean-spirited attitude? Yes, I said crime. His dog was off leash. That rates a fine. Then he allowed his dogs to accost me. I was way across the field from him. He never even began to try and stop them. What if I were allergic? What if I were deathly afraid of dogs because of some trauma with dogs in my youth? What if I just don’t like dogs? He gets to decide how good or bad I am for not liking dogs? He gets to turn his crime and ignorance into my faux pas? He gets to invade my personal space? And, in the end, he gets to insult me for pointing out his rudeness and crime?

His first words should have been: “I am sorry. I should never have taken them off of their leash. It won’t happen again.” Then he could have begun his niceties and trivial banter over the weather.

This clod is a dirtbag. He, and those like him are nothing short of bullies. Ignorant in every way. Not being aware of their social contracts to respect people, respect their physical space, respect their audible space, respect their property, respect their likes and dislikes. I never went up and sat down in the middle of his conversation. I never approached his animals unwarranted. I didn’t interrupt his day at all. Maybe that was the problem. Perhaps he needed me to recognize how much more important he is than I am.

Is this what his Mother raised? A scumbag who thinks he owns everything and everyone within sight? He can do as he pleases to whomever he wants? To whatever he wants? Go wherever he likes, including other people’s personal space? He’s allowed to push people around and insult them if they point out his despicable behavior? Bully. Dirtbag. Asshole. Loser.

And the same goes for every dog owner who believes they have the right to let their dogs trespass on other people’s private property, do their deed, tear up the lawn, roll around, you name it. Even if they pick up their dog’s mess, which a lot don’t, it still leaves something nasty behind. There is no way to pick up every last drop and smear. Face it, these clowns are just dirtbags. And ignorant.

It’s funny, the one time I commented on this rude behavior on Nextdoor, one idiot actually replied by telling me he wasn’t ignorant because he had gone to college and gotten a PhD. Now, that’s humor. This person obviously didn’t go to a good college or he would have learned the basic tools with which to treat others around you. That is, with respect and dignity. This person fails as a person because he is a bully. And bullies are just selfish creatures feeding on others’ misfortunes or meekness. This asshole needs to go back to college I think.

The simple answer is to curb your dog. But that would mean these idiots actually work at training their animals. And learning how to control them. I had another fool tell me how she can’t make her dog go at the curb and that it’s just natural to let them go wherever they want. That is a lie and pure laziness. Another dirtbag who fails the “human” test. These are all bullies. Plain and simple. And I will continue to hold up a mirror so they can see what they really are on the inside and outside. Discourteous, thoughtless, mean-spirited, lazy bullies.

This is what the Mother of today makes when she makes her little children the focus of all attention and better than everyone else. Building little CEOs for tomorrow.

A world of startups. How wonderful.