"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Friday, July 10, 2015

Don't Mess With Crazy

We’ve had some discord in our neighborhood, recently. It has actually gone on for a couple of years now. Renters moved in down the street who don’t seem to understand the importance of consideration of others. They don’t obey the speed limits; the kids race up and down the street on their motorcycles and four-wheelers all day, creating unnecessary dust and noise; and compounding that they have become increasingly aggressive. They have a cannon they shoot off periodically and they often shoot other firearms without a backdrop.

We have a homeowners association here, and several members have complained. Several neighbors have tried to talk to the father of these children who is a single parent raising his kids with the help of a grandma. I understand the hardship, so I have tried to be patient. It came to a climax for me, when a neighbor told me a little over a year ago, that the kids were starting fires in the empty wooded parcel across the street from us. I sent my son in to verify the information. After he had gone in, I heard gunshots and I was immediately worried. He knew I would be. He called and stated, "I’m ok.” But a bullet had grazed a tree branch above his head.
I wasn’t OK! I was furious! Still in my pajamas, I jumped in my car and told my son to meet me at the entrance of the woods. He did and we proceeded to the neighbors to talk to the father. Now there had been a lot of disruptive action that day, and this dad had already been confronted by two other neighbors. He wasn’t about to talk to me and he was equally furious. I stood there at the entrance to his garage watching him, until he had no other choice but to come talk to me. I won’t go into it; suffice it to say, it didn’t go well. But at least I made him aware of what had happened and he got my feelings as I returned fire...both barrels.

Since that time, the noise and disrespect has continued. The shooting of the cannon, the shooting of their firearms and the racing bikes. Several neighbors have called the sheriff. The homeowner’s association wrote a letter requesting they obey the rules of the CC&R’s, and also show some respect for their neighbors. All to no avail. The kids became increasingly disrespectful, seemingly singling me out as the sole source of their problems. The older boys, rev their engines as they drive by our home in their trucks. They have yelled out names at me when I am in the yard. They have antagonized my animals. And the younger kids seem to follow the elder’s leads by revving the rpm’s on their bikes as they drive by.
The father came to my door one day accusing me of something I didn’t do. My response to him was “I’m not the only neighbor out here, C., that is upset with your children.” His response was “I know that.”

He walked away. He wanted no further communication. But since that time, it seems things have gotten under control. No more cannon, no more racing bikes. I am not certain of the reason. I don’t know whether C. finally got tired and took action, or if some of the kids are gone for the summer. I have no clue. I just think it is all sad.

So that’s the preface. I wanted you to know what has led to what I really wanted to write about. This is the part I think you will find entertaining and a bit humorous.

I was at a local grocery store in the larger town south, when I happened to notice the oldest boy. I had just pulled into a parking spot, not realizing I had parked diagonally to the young man’s car one or two spaces north. He and a friend (or possibly a brother) were walking to their car with ice cream cones as I was gathering my things to go into the store. We noticed each other at the same time.
The oldest boy watched me as he got into his vehicle, with a smirk on his face that I wanted to slap into next week. They smiled at each other and continued watching me the whole time. They sat in their vehicle licking their ice cream cones staring at me with the smirk on their faces. I didn’t want to have to confront them, approach them, or walk past them. But they were in direct line of my approach to the store. To go another way, would have made it seem like I was purposefully avoiding them and that I was intimidated by them. They were certainly trying to intimidate me, I had no doubt. I pretended to need to spend some time in my vehicle before getting out to go into the store. I tried this a couple times. I pretended I got a phone call. They did not back off or relent, watching me the whole time. Clearly they were trying to intimidate me.

I thought about what I should do. I did not want to give them the upper hand. I remembered one time when my husband was driving truck, he told me there were times he had to go into an area that was less than desirable. Often times, it would be an area that was down-right dangerous. On one particular occasion, he had to walk down the street after parking his truck to try to find something to eat. He knew this was an area he shouldn’t be walking alone. His solution to the problem? He would act as crazy as the craziest person out there. He roughed up his shirt, turned his hat around backwards, and walked down the street talking to himself, and wandering from side to side on the sidewalk. I howled as he told the story. I could easily visualize just how “crazy” he could look by doing that. The memory came to the front of my mind. I was going to confront these boys who would not relent.
I gathered what I needed for the store (as well as my courage), and I stared them down as I walked directly to their car. It caught them off guard. They were not expecting this! They quit staring. The smirk was gone. I had a crazy smirk of my own. The oldest boy looked straight ahead.

Arriving at their vehicle I saw the window was rolled down. I dramatically made my entrance, by bending over and sticking my head directly into the window of their car. “HIIIIIIII!” I exclaimed in the craziest voice I could muster. Pretty sure I saw him gulp, but he just stared straight ahead and never said a word. I had called his bluff and won. He wasn’t so cocky now. Seeing the effect, I had to do nothing more than straighten back up and continue my direction into the store.
By the time I got to the door, I was laughing so hard I was snorting. And I DON’T snort! ;-) I had never felt such empowerment. And I apologize for that word; I hate that word, and I don’t typically believe in the philosophy behind it. But that is exactly what I felt. I continued into the store, in case they were watching trying to keep my laugher under control. I grabbed a couple items on my list, then left my cart momentarily to go back outside to make sure they weren’t seeking any retaliation by harming my vehicle. They were long gone.

I haven’t had opportunity to be in contact with them since…and that’s ok. I haven’t really seen any of them since that day. I don’t know why. I certainly won’t claim my actions are the reason. For whatever reason, things have died down. I have no idea as to whether that will continue. I’m not recommending doing something like this if one is ever in a dangerous situation. One must always be wise, careful and conscientious. I’m just saying in my case, don’t mess with crazy. But if one does, I may enjoy it a bit more than anyone.