Civility May Never Come Back to Our Neighborhoods

But can you at least MYOB?

Having written about this in various places multiple times since 2015, it’s really getting old. People seem to think this is a nice community and in many neighborhoods, it probably is. But around here, people are far too busy poking their noses into everyone else’s business. We have been practicing to become “citizen informants” of the wrong kind for many years.

Instead of helping LAPD prevent burglaries, theft, robbery, and probable assault while they are so short-staffed, too many of us are just venting our rage about Covid-19, unemployment, and our largely incompetent political leadership (at all levels) by attacking our neighbors, and then, reporting every little infraction we think is a violation of the law.

Everyone is frightened, angry, and stressed out. Everyone. You don’t have to explain to me how stressed out you are. I know. As a veteran’s widow with no military pension, I know as well as anyone. But when we snipe, tattle, harass, stalk, lay traps for, and generally have it in for other people, no one is doing “the best we can under the circumstances”! We are better people than that. We can and must actually do better.

Do we care about anyone outside of our own family?

Photo by Matt Donders on Unsplash

Global Warming. Many of us are so self-centered and obsessive compulsive that we can’t even think outside of ourselves and our own pet peeves any more. We’re also scared to death of the future because no one much has paid attention to those environmentalists and scientists who’ve been warning us about global warming for decades.

It’s global warming, folks, not climate change! “Climate change” is propaganda because they don’t want us to realize global warming is irreversible.

Global warming is irreversible because most world governments, especially the USA, refused to do anything much about carbon emissions. We might be able to prevent it from getting worse, IF we act now and continue pressuring government, but we can’t reverse existing damage.

Hello, politicians. With only a handful of exceptions, politicians still bow to corporate greed that put millions of dollars into their campaigns, so they could feed at the public trough while doing little to nothing for their constituents.

The ice bridges and ice floes in the Arctic and Antarctic are melting, never to return. Cool water, fresh water, anyone? Polar bears and penguins will soon become extinct. There will be no ice or ice floes for them to rest, to give birth, or to nurture their young, and no food in the ocean for anyone.

Extreme Drought. Drunk, we set off fireworks for hours at a time over several weekends a year, scaring every form of life, and do so in spite of our being in extreme drought and wildfire danger. What goes up, comes down, stupid! If not on your head and hands, then on your neighbor’s roof or tinder dry trees. We are our brother’s keeper and don’t have the right to destroy his life, his family, or his livelihood.

And yes, I know the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, is going to return and make everything new. But what is he going to use for raw materials if we are so derelict in our stewardship of the earth that there isn’t much left? Even God did not create the world out of nothing. There was matter available. And in today’s world, we are expected to do our part.  He’s not going to steer the car until after we start the engine and put the gear shifter in Drive.

Recyclables. We report people for collecting aluminum cans and plastic bottles, even though they’re desperately trying to survive any way they can. They’re not walking up our driveways to retrieve recyclables! However, that time may come.

So, almost every week, the bottles and cans are put in the blue bins at the curb, so technically belong to the city. Can any of you account for the millions of taxpayer dollars the city and county has poured down the drain for decades? Do you know what happened to those millions of bond dollars we approved? And let’s not even talk about the state and its wasteful practices that we read about on a regular basis. Or who’s really going to get the surplus.

So, yes, the homeless are technically stealing from the city. However, when we see a whole bunch of crooked bureaucrats go to jail this next year, then we can worry about a few hundred, or even a few thousand, aluminum cans and plastic bottles that get taken every month, so people can eat a hamburger now and then. Most containers don’t get recycled at all, instead ending up in our landfills.

But if it really pisses you off, then put a bag of them on the ground next to the bins instead of in them. (And I can tell you right now which neighbors will report you for littering or illegal dumping, or just as likely, steal the bag!)

Why do we accept money from sloppy private investigators?

Do you gossip to every stranger who comes to your door, asking questions about the neighbors? That includes all you real estate agents and fly-by-night contractors. You don’t need to know which of my neighbors is thinking of moving or whose husband is sick. As for lying former relatives, my neighbors surely know better than to believe anything you hear from people you’ve never met before.

My hours are my business; my comings and goings are my business. Which bulky items I have put at the curb for pickup are my business. Being handed $20 or $50 or $100 should not loosen your lips. And I’ve had it up the ying-yang with stalkers, even when they take a month or two off.

This house was not stolen from anyone! I worked my rear end off for decades, trying to keep a roof over the head of my veteran as he struggled through his disabilities with zero help from anyone else but his medical team. The people who could have helped him will not be getting the house either.

We don’t know what being neighborly even means…

We have completely forgotten what it means to be neighborly, so busy are we marching down the middle of the street while muttering curses about someone who is hand watering their plants with an automatic shut-off nozzle. Or waving our iPhones when they catch us about to take yet another picture of the same.

LADWP is allowing us to water two days a week, before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m., since we get some of our water from different sources than the rest of SoCal. Personally, I’m following the state rule of one day a week but that is my choice. I allow you to decide for yourselves. There are many unseen ways of conserving water that are no one else’s business either! Even those get derailed when an outside water heater bursts. This happened to me, and to a neighbor four days later, in June. So yes, there was a spike in usage that day. I don’t need foolish young adults shouting at my door and bellowing in my windows about that or anything else.

LADWP seems excited that reports of water waste are double what they used to be. Are they also aware that many of those reports are false, even vindictive? There are penalties for false reporting and for deliberately stirring up trouble for someone else.

The property here consists of almost 8,950 square feet, public record. I believe the house is stated as being ~1,350 sq. feet. That leaves roughly 7,600 sq. feet of plantable land. Hah! For more than 10 years, 90% of that area has been 99% dead. Even trees had to be cut down, either due to invading insects or because they were threatening to damage the roof or lift the slab.

The remaining small area is what I have to water. If I were to plant and water the entire property for which I was originally allocated water, my bill would be 5 to 6 times higher than what it is now. So don’t be arrogant and stupid and tell me I’m wasting water when I’m not! Kindly MYOB!

So, what is a plant?

a butterfly perched on flowers
Photo by Willem Labuschagné on

There’s apparently an issue about what constitutes a plant. I have shrubbery, dying rose bushes, a dying foxtail fern, lantanas and succulents. I don’t have a drip-watering system but you do realize those were supposed to be turned off also, right?

The leaves on my roses have burned to a crisp. There is little more to say at this point, except that there are still blooms. So I give them what water I can.

Certain species of cacti only can go up to 3 months without water. That’s cacti, and not all of them. A succulent is NOT even a cactus. Succulents can generally go two or three weeks without any water before shriveling into no-return status. (Aloe vera can probably go longer.) Then they need a little. Succulents are not as hardy as people think they are. A hard frost will even turn them into black slimeballs, although I’ve had them recover from that.

Lantanas are flowering plants/shrubs that need to be watered once a week. I have six of them, about eight months old. Since they grow wild along riverbanks in eastern Australia to the point of smothering other plants, it’s amazing they are surviving at all in this inhospitable place. My dear friends in Aussie Land were hysterical that I actually paid money for their non-native weeds that escaped the botanical gardens in the mid-1800s, but acknowledged they are very pretty to look at.

Regardless, we will continue to use what little water we are allowed and conserve elsewhere.

Yes, but…

But…we’ve got pictures of you watering grass. Neener, neener, neener. So be it. Until things got really bad, I attempted to keep the short width of parkway grass barely alive (as did the neighbors) because there is no such thing as nonfunctional grass! Not unless you want a repeat of the Oklahoma Dustbowl of the 1930s. And we may yet have that, also, unless more of you spend time on your knees, begging God for rain. (Hint: Begging for forgiveness first is often helpful.)

My other patch of so-called “grass” surrounds my dying foxtail fern. The fern can store water but is barely alive on once-a-week watering. The fronds are increasingly golden brown, not a good color. But if I choose to use grey water on the “grassy” area, that’s my right, until there is no grey water left. I can hardly store that in a barrel meant for drinking water and use it to drink. I can also salvage water from the shower to use on the yard. At least, while we can still take our 5-minute showers.

I turn off the water halfway through watering, so I can drain the pocket hose and put it and the shut-off nozzle inside away from thieves.

Any pictures showing sprinklers going wild are old and due to the aging gardener understanding English when it’s best for him to do so. After all, he is a gardener. He doesn’t understand politicians who won’t build reservoirs, or neighborhood vigilantes with nothing better to do than “be the one that every neighborhood has.” Like why don’t they go help people who have nowhere to live? Heck, he doesn’t even do yard clean-up; he’s a gardener with very little work to do here.

And a final word about people with cameras…

One more time tromping through my plants, taking pictures of them, shooting through my bedroom windows, or over my side gates, will get you an unpleasant surprise. I don’t care if your mother is the head vigilante or if you’re another of those bulldog real estate agents, knock it off. This Taurus has reached the end of her patience with all of you. Your temerity is astounding.

And if you don’t like my surveillance? The last time I checked, there were other streets and sidewalks to walk on in the hood. You remember. The places you used to walk before you were recruited.

A couple of you used to walk right through the middle of private Corporate Pointe parking lots every morning, risking death by your ignorance, and driving security personnel crazy. The rabbits could and can maneuver far better than you, even when not being chased by a coyote. I used to pick up lethargic lizards there and put them in the flowerbeds to avoid certain death in the early mornings. Only mama mallard and her ducklings received any respect from maniac drivers.

And for those of you thinking of moving, you might want to do it sooner rather than later. For 10 years, several developers have hounded me about this property. They want to put multiple housing units on it. Wouldn’t that be lovely for the neighborhood? And don’t bother throwing shade at me, claiming this neighborhood isn’t zoned for that. This is Los Angeles. MONEY talks here.

Disclaimer: My blog posts are statements of opinion only. I am not in the business of giving financial, legal, medical, or any other type of advice. See Terms of Use and Disclaimer for further disclaimers.

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