This world is so backwards. Last weekend the people that live a few buildings north of me had another of their big parties. Now normally, they aren’t too troublesome with their parties. Generally speaking, they tend to be respectful of the neighbors. They don’t play their music so loud that we hear it thundering through every room in our house. We hear it, but its not so bad as to be a disruption unless we are trying to sleep; and even then, its usually just the bass beat that we hear. I told them quite some time ago that their guests could not park in my yard, and for the most part, they have respected that. But every once in a while, there’s always one or two individual guests of theirs that want to give us a hard time about that. They act like they have the right to park anywhere they choose. Last week was an example of this.
So you are probably wondering why I don’t allow people to park in my yard. Its not because my grass is in such stellar condition. We’ve had a few issues with people both from our neighborhood, and outside it, with that same idea and disposition; the sentiment that they are entitled to park anywhere they choose. Unfortunately, I presently live in the neighborhood of necessity, instead of choice. That translates to mean that I live in an area where a lot of lawless types live or frequent. It is amplified by the fact that there is a good deal of cultural diversity, but predominantly, it is dominated by one outside culture.
Because of this, the level of civility and consideration for neighbors is almost non-existent. People from this particular dominant culture don’t tend to be in the habit of demonstrating respect for their neighbors; at least, I have yet to see evidence of this. Two years ago we had a blatant example of this. This little church down the street apparently was one of the havens of the independence celebration these people were having. My street became so filled with traffic that it was like I95. People who did not live in the neighborhood were just trolling – driving through with their flags flying from their cars; hanging out of windows, yelling and carrying on. There were so many people rolling through that police attendants were stationed throughout the neighborhood, including on the corner where I live.
Unbeknownst to me, people were parking in my yard, as apparently, they had been parking all down the street to where this little church was. I stepped outside to see cars lining my yard, and someone coming out of his car after parking in my yard. I immediately informed him that he needed to move his car; he could not park there. I then proceeded to ask the officers on the corner what was going on. I asked them what was to be done about all these vehicles parked in my yard, as I did not want them there. The officer said they would call the police, as these were simply from the city to help with the traffic problems.
The thing that gets me the most about them parking in my yard, is that there is a big empty lot directly across the street from my house, on the south east corner. It is not fenced in, and no one would be bothered if they parked there, but instead, they insist on parking in everyone’s yard. My neighbors directly south of me, belong to this cultural group, and the irate wife was standing outside when I spoke to the officers about the cars. She looked very angry but I didn’t care, because for one thing, she exemplifies the problems within this cultural group.
Her behavior is always very loud, rude, and disrespectful. She fails to control her children, (5) who are constantly a disturbance at all hours of the day and night; and her family members, including the kids, are very nosy, and have a habit of intruding into my yard and causing damage to my plants, trees, and the water sprinkler system. This is one of those people that you know on sight to leave alone; don’t just get involved with.
Needless to say, the police arrived with a tow truck, and they began telling people to move their vehicles out of my yard or risk being towed. The reason most of the people knew to come move their cars, is because aside from the woman looking at me with anger, there was a man from their same culture who was standing in the middle of the street between her house and mine, giving me the same angry look. He was calling on his cellphone to people to tell them to come move their cars.
Personally, I didn’t like the way this particular officer was addressing it. He came and spoke to me, telling me about how they’ve had problems with “these people” every year. This was the first time we had noticed this particular situation, so maybe the problems they had was on another street. However, I still thought his mannerisms with this one old guy was a bit harsh, because he failed to get there to move his truck before the tow truck loaded it. I was willing to let him go, but the officer told him he was trespassing when he tried to talk to me; and they told him he had to pay $100 to get the car now, or more at the lot if they towed it.
My reasons for having the cars moved, is that in every scenario that involves people parking on the swale, it is always first – a right they think they have, yet it is my yard. Second and most predominant, they cause damage and then drive away without regard for the damage. Either their tires have dug deep grooves into my grass; or worse, they have left my yard strewn with their discards and garbage.
It is not my job to clean up after someone else’s party; and I don’t say this because I wasn’t invited. These are not the type of people I choose to associate with, so its not like I care about their party nor want to go. I don’t want the mess in my yard, and currently, because my house is a corner lot, on the corner of a well travelled street for people trying to get to the main avenues, my yard is already being used as a garbage dump by pedestrians.
I saw the condition of the angry neighbor’s yard after this celebration was done. She had allowed a bunch of people, mostly teenagers, park on the side of her yard. They sat out there drinking, yelling and screaming for several hours, with their loud music blasting through my house; and when they had finally left, her yard was a disaster. Empty bottles and cans were everywhere.
Now, its not like her kids don’t throw all kinds of junk and trash around in her yard already. They throw junk into my yard as well, which is why I don’t want them in my yard. Her back yard, which is fenced in, is like a junk yard, literally. Her fence has big gaps and you can see all the junk back there, broken glass, huge metal drums…I mean, it is really like a junk yard. I don’t even understand how she lets her kids play back there, but like I said, she doesn’t seem to be too mindful of what they are doing.
This same disregard for people’s property is the reason why I don’t let anyone park in my yard for any of the neighbor’s parties. Like I said, there is a large empty lot right across the street that they could use without causing inconvenience to any of the neighbors, but that is the last thing these people want to do. Consideration is not at the top of their list in any circumstance.
So last week, a few of this neighbor’s party-goers began parking in my yard. I came outside and began telling them that they needed to move their vehicles. Two guys immediately moved without giving us any problems, as they were just pulling up when I came out.
Two females sitting on a car parked across the street in my neighbor’s front yard began to give my son and I some abusive verbal lip service, and two guys decided that they needed to challenge us, so they decided to show out.
They approached us individually first, with the first guy posturing with aggressive body gestures like the dude from the smoking commercial. He wanted to get loud and boisterous, stating with his arms flailing, that this was “HIS NEIGHBORHOOD AND HE CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS!” This guy doesn’t even live on our street.
I wasn’t impressed. I told my son to come in the house, but he was still trying to reason with them amidst all the verbal abuse. Then this other guy came up with even more aggressive behavior, that was meant to be threatening. He got in my son’s face, jabbing his hand at him, and according to my son, he actually stuck his hand in his mouth. I saw him jabbing at him, but until he came in the house, hot as he could be, I did not know the man actually touched him.
He was ready to get a weapon and confront the guy. He’s 19. I had to catch him and correct him. I told him that those guys were not worth him going to jail for and messing his life up over. That’s not how you handle this. You don’t stoop to their level. For all their noise and posturing, I simply told them that I’m not going to argue with them. If the cars weren’t removed, I would call the police. And that was all I needed to say. I have nothing to prove. I have no need to be concerned with impressing anyone. It’s just a fact.
They were infringing on my property, and I was within my rights to tell them to move their vehicles. Whether they like it or not, is not a concern. And, without having to showboat, I calmly got my point across, because 3 officers arrived, and an older woman from the apartments that were having the party, came running down the street to tell those people not to park in my yard. I told one officer that normally, the party hosts were respectful with their parties and generally not a problem, but they had some guests that got too disrespectful with my son and myself when we told them they could not park in our yard, and that necessitated the call to them.
They asked me for my name and if I was willing to call them back if anything else developed and press charges, because the dude who came at me talking smack about he could do what he wants, had already gotten in one officer’s face with a threatening gesture. I told them I’d call if there were any more problems. Simple. Done. And there were no more problems. The officers made everyone parked in a neighbor’s yard move their vehicles and directed them to the empty lot. The party was very quiet after that.
My mom got upset when I had told her a week or two ago about a similar situation with some people in the apartments just west of us. She was upset over the fact that I went out there, or my son, to speak to these people, but in my mind, I was trying to be considerate of their party and give them the opportunity to adjust or modify the problem without calling the police first, which is normally my immediate action. It was the same thing with this other group.
They were having a party, and this started around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. By 11pm, we were tired of it, because they played their particular style of Caribbean music very loudly, and were generally very noisy. They were parking on the side of my yard in the back as the apartments were on the side of the well travelled street that runs next to my house. When I walked outside and past them, I was assessing first. As I came back, I asked whose vehicles were parked in my yard?
One tall guy came up to me and began to tell me that I must understand that they are having a birthday party. I told him I understood that, and had no problem with that, but I wanted to know how much longer this was going to go on, because the noise had been going on most of the day. I also told him that they had to move the cars. He started to get boisterous with me, because when he first responded about not moving the cars, I told him that it was very simple, and either the cars are moved, or I call the police.
He began getting louder and more physically aggressive and threatening, lying and claiming that he lives in the apartments. I interrupted him, “Dude! Bring it down a few levels. I’m not going to argue with you. I know you don’t live around here because I’ve never seen you before. Listen, you are asking me to have consideration of the fact that you are having a party. I’m fine with your party. But at the same time you are asking me to consider your party, you are failing to consider that the neighbors here have been putting up with your party for hours now. All I want to know is how much longer are we going to have to put up with the noise. We’d like to get some sleep.”
At that, he calmed down and told me to give them one more hour. They moved their cars and as he said, they left after an hour. I do try to be reasonable, but I expect some consideration in return. When I go to parties my friends host, if I park in someone’s swale, I always check with the party host, to be sure its ok to park there. The parties I go to are never loud and noisy enough to disturb any of the host’s neighbors. We are always mindful of that. I don’t think its too unreasonable to expect the same in return.