Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Rock

In life, there are two groups of people you associate with that you don't get to pick. Only God gets the choice of who you get as family members and as neighbors. This is a little tale about a neighbor from the past, my mom, and a rock.

During my early teenage years, my family lived in a townhome complete with association dues. My parents had to attend regular meetings to discuss what color your front door had to be and what you could and could not put on your front lawn. Our family followed the rules, yet we had a neighbor who didn't like us. I don't know why she didn't like us, I may have been a bit young to understand the war waging on between her and my mother. It's possible the woman didn't like my mom because she spoke her mind at the meetings, but it could have been something as simple as she didn't like our dog. (Taco was a yippy puppy.)

One night, we were sitting out on the deck, grilling up brats and talking and laughing. The neighbor's deck faced ours at an angle and she could hear all of our words as we could hear hers. She was complaining to someone visiting her about our front door. There were two approved colors by the association, white or yellow. We had a white front door. It was there when we moved in. She HATED it. The woman kept making comments about it, trying to speak up to make sure we were listening, and she kept stealing glances and glares in our direction.

At the next association meeting, an open letter was given to voice grievances. There was a complaint about our family and our front door. The complaint was primarily written about the door, yet the underlying tone was about our family in general. The woman made sure to include, "Only ignorant and disrespectful people would have a white front door." Now, this makes absolutely no sense, but it's what the woman wrote.

After careful deliberation (or 30 seconds of anger), my mom came up with a plan of action. This is not something I'm proud of, although she probably still is.

My mom worked with a younger man who sometimes looked for odd jobs to get a little more cash. The odd jobs would help support his cocaine usage habit and help him buy the stickers he later covered his entire car in. Shane (changed to protect the guilty) was the classic stereo-typical metal fan in looks. He had long blonde hair that went to his ass. He was skinny as a rail, but showed off his "pecks" in his cut-off black T-shirts. Shane looked like a hoodlum. My mom had her thought and then smiled to herself.

This neighbor had a very large rock in her front yard. She had it brought in for landscaping and it took up most of the space in her small yard. It was hideous looking. I've never much understood the value of plain, gray boulders, but she loved it. And it was completely against association standards.

One morning, I woke up to find the neighborhood in an uproar. The woman was standing on the street, screaming at the top of her lungs about the indecency of what happened and how violated she felt. The rock, the item she was so proud of, was gleaming in the sun. There were a few words spray-painted on the boulder discussing the culprit's opinions of the woman.

Coincindentally, the spray-paint color? It was white, just like our front door.

My dad never knew that my mom might have had something to do with it. It could have just been neighborhood kids. Yeah, that's the ticket...