Ok, before I start, people who know me can tell you that I can sometimes be bothered by things that are considered by most as not that big a deal…Call me a control freak if you choose but there are certain issues of “what is right” in a civilized suburban society that when violated drive me absolutely insane. So comes wintertime in Southern New Hampshire and my unspoken feud I have with one of my neighbors.
We have lived in our new home for two years as of this past August. We upgraded our living conditions from a smaller 3 bedroom “New Englander” home on a relatively busy road for a larger hip roofed colonial on a far less busy neighborhood drive. We came already prepared for winter and already had a large snow blower to take care of a relatively long driveway. A must have in this region of the country if you want to have any semblance of a lower back by the time you are 30 years of age. Many forgo this need by hiring a plow service and still others who wish to splurge will actually buy their own plow to attach to their 4 wheel drive vehicle. The later is the case for my neighbor of ill repute whom I have still yet to meet in the 2 years living catty-corner to him and his family.
The first winter in our new home was particularly brutal setting records for total accumulation for a single season. This is saying a lot considering we always get a lot of snow. It was not uncommon to have at least one, if not two snow “events” of 12 inches or more in any given week. As time past and more and more snow grinded through my snow blowers blades, through the shoot and onto my unsuspecting shrubbery whose branches now rested on the ground under several storms snow and any place else I could find room to put it. On a particular early evening I noticed that there was a portion of my yard that looked a little different from the rest. Their was your usual snow bank created by our friendly town plow trucks on their passes seemingly designed to destroy my mailbox but across from my neighbors driveway the largest pile of snow this side of a mall parking lots’ began to emerge like the peak of Mt. Everest above the clouds of Nepal. As I began to realize what was happening my blood began to boil and the layers of winter clothing I had on became seemingly unnecessary….My front yard had become the dumping ground for another mans snow…Could this be? Could someone who hasn’t even bothered to introduce himself really feel it was my neighborly duty to accept this foreign matter? It must be a misunderstanding, he must have a plow service that is being lazy and simply taking the fastest route to completing his job. Should I say something to my neighbor, whose name I don’t know? Hello! I am your new neighbor, tell your stupid plow guy to stop putting your stupid snow on my yard! That would be a bit awkward. Do I ask the local police department to ask my neighbor to stop doing this? This too probably wouldn’t be a great way to start a mutual understanding about respecting each other’s space and property. So, after I relaxed at little I did the next most reasonable thing I could think of, I watched, waited, and stewed about the circumstance in which I found myself.
As I lay in wait, I have to decide on my method of madness. First, I must determine if it is indeed a plow service my new enemy was using. To do this, I had to keep track of when this crime of humanity was taking place. I never saw it happen and it conveniently always seemed to be some time in the evening when I wasn’t paying attention or in the morning after I had gone to work. Finally, as I lay in bed one evening around 8 p.m. (my son was 1 at the time) I hear that all familiar scraping. Like fingernails grinding against a chalkboard it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Sounds of scraping followed by the sound of a pickup truck going in reverse. Scraping, reverse, scraping, pause, reverse… Finally! I throw on my boots, sweat pants and grab the closest winter hat, coat, and gloves I could find and head down to the garage. I grab a shovel as I don’t want to seem like a lunatic standing in 15 inches of snow at the end of my un-plowed driveway. I trudge my way out to witness the unspeakable act…pretending to be shoveling out the end of my driveway. I couldn’t make out who was driving the pickup truck that was now pushing older snow further back into my yard to make room for more. Even if I could have seen who was driving the truck, I wouldn’t have known what my neighbor looks like as I have NEVER MET HIM. There was no lettering on the truck indicating it was a plow service. Then it came to me, the silver Toyota 4×4 I whose deviant behavior I was witnessing was the one in the same that is parked in the neighbor’s driveway throughout the course of the year. I know it was you Freido! Should I give him an offer he can’t refuse? Should I break the head off of a shovel and leave it for him to find on his door step? Should I find a giant rock that will surely damage the plow? No. I will continue to stew letting the giant mass of pebble filled snow that was now, my pebble filled snow make me angry every time I saw it.
So what was my next move? I did what any normal civilized person would do! I tried to give unspoken clues to my displeasure! As spring approached and all the snow was melted on my property except for the now dwindling size and highly pebble concentrated pile of snow in my front yard that now looked like a giant scoop of watered down cookies and crème ice cream sitting atop muddy Easter grass, I grabbed eight of those reflective orange rods used to mark off the edges of driveways and stuck them through the muddy mess and into the ground. A sure signal of my displeasure for my stranger neighbor… Needless to say 2 years have passed, nothing has changed, and I still haven’t met my neighbor. Oh, and when I put the stakes in the ground before the following winter, my neighbor simply plowed right over them anyways. I wonder what would happen if I put a baby stroller there instead?