49. Don’t Mess With My Trash Cans
My next-door neighbor is one of those people who believes he is the mayor of the neighborhood.
We live on a cul de sac with only seven houses. He’d berate people whose grass is taller than he feels it should be. He called the cops on me a few times if he could hear music playing outside (not loudly, and even during the daytime).
The town Deputy who came each time finally measured the volume level with a phone app and told him that it was under 50db and therefore permissible and that he wouldn’t come out again for the same complaint.
The last straw for me was my garbage can. About four feet high, with two wheels and a handle to move it up and down the driveway. It was put out every Wednesday night, and the truck came early the next morning to empty it.
The neighbor decided he didn’t like where I placed it (I take mine out at night) and started moving it when he brought his own can out in the morning.
It’s a small thing, but eventually, I decided it needed to stop. I took a turd from my cat’s little box and smeared it on the inside of the handle of the garbage can. It faced away from the street, with the handle on the street side. If you looked from the yard side, you could see little gobs on the inside of the handle, but from the street side, it looked normal.
Usually, I get up a couple of hours after the garbage truck comes by, but that day I was up early and watched from an upstairs window with a cup of coffee.
Neighbor wheeled his can down to the end of his driveway, crossed the street, and started to move my can. As soon as he wrapped his fingers around the handle, he jerked his hands away, saw the brown goo on his fingers, and actually sniffed them! He then went totally ballistic, yelling obscenities I could hear from inside. Then he viciously booted my can into my yard, knocked out garbage bags, and started kicking them, which scattered trash all over my lawn. He then went inside and called the cops.
The same Deputy arrived about 15 minutes later and spent another 15 minutes trying to calm him down. The neighbor pointed to the handles of the garbage can and kept screaming, “He put poo there, and I got it on my hands!”
Eventually, the Deputy told the neighbor to stay put and walked across the street to my house. I was already waiting at the front door when he knocked. He addressed me by my first name (since he had been called out before) and said, “Mr. Jones claims you rubbed feces on your garbage can, and he got it on his hands when he attempted to move it from the street.”
I, of course, had rehearsed my reply and knew better than to deny the obvious. “It’s my garbage can, and I can do whatever I want to it, right? Plus, it was on my property, and he had no business touching it.” The Deputy was struggling to keep a straight face at this point.
“And,” I added, “He also tossed trash all over my yard, and I shouldn’t have to pick it up.” The Deputy nodded and said, “Yeah, he did admit to doing that.” The Deputy told me to stay on my porch and walked back across the street to the neighbor, who was already asking what was going to happen to me.
I couldn’t hear what was said, but the deputy eventually escorted him over to my yard and watched as the neighbor picked up the trash and put it all back into the garbage can that he had to stand back upright by grabbing the rim, not the handle.
They went back to the neighbor’s driveway and the deputy quietly lectured him for a couple of minutes. I never had any issues with him again.