Sunday, August 28, 2011

Understanding Neighborhoods

A Sumerian City State

 I am not talking about MY neighbors...they are a well behaved, amiable bunch of Independent City States. They are quick to tell you by word and actions what's theirs and what's yours. Country living at it's finest. They give no quarters and expect none.

None of us are from around here, but we act like we been here since God made dirt. The rule is God made dirt, but he don't own MY dirt. It  belongs to me. Don't go messing with my dirt...I am paying for every bit of it and see that No Trespassing sign? That means you, the mailman, the Fuller Brush man, the IRS.

According to Mr. Rogers, all neighborhoods are created equal, and all neighbors follow the Boy Scout Pledge to the letter. The only spark of reality in Mr Rogers' perfect neighborhood is when the Lady Elaine Fairchild and King Friday the XIII get into it and declare DIS how IT'S Gonna' Be.  There IS always trouble in the neighborhood!  Mr Rogers always prevails...in the sweetest way...to bad neighbors can't swallow a couple of Mr. Rogers pills!

My first neighbors sat around me in a Kindergarten classroom at Chase Street School in 1946. My neighbors included the playground bully, the star game/ball player, the crazy kid, the brainiac, the girls who would be boys and vice versa, the artist, and a village idiot or two. Just like your Kindergarten class had.

The leader of this neighborhood was the teacher, Miss Smith. A hell of a job to wish on a young college grad. I was not taken with the neighborhood, or Miss Smith. My first offense was talking out of turn. I did EVERYTHING out of turn... I was 5 years old, for God's sake. I was not allowed to slide down the indoor sliding board to line up for the bathroom. Totally unfair! I did not like that neighborhood.

That's one reason I moved to the country, only to find  rural neighborhoods have more rules than suburban or urban neighborhoods. Trouble is they ain't written in stone, and you have to break a rule of the rural City State to know you have transgressed. By then you've already "stepped in the Poo", as they say Down Under. The offendee will LOUDLY explain what unwritten law your have transgressed against. I just smile, say "sorry" and make a note.,".Don't get to close to the fence on the South property line, the one built in 1902 that has large trees on it". 

Oh, I almost forgot. The REALLY quaint rural folks have a tool called "shunning". I prefer it to hollering. Seeing as how the rules of the City State are unwritten, you can live your whole life and never know you pissed somebody off...until one day they step up to you in the store and begin hollering about something you did in 1975.Then they don't talk to you until you see them in the hearafter...and instruct their kin on there death bed to do the same.

Suburban neighborhoods have garage doors. Punch the garage door opener, drive in and close the door behind. You now have no neighbors. Shunning iscomplete. unless you have kids. That can be a problem. for the law...suburbanites seldom handle situations without a blue light showing up.

So, in moving to the country, you automatically are forced to set up your own City State. You do not have to publish  these rules. I think this sucks...so I am publishing a few of mine...so you don't have to get a cussin'.
  • I do not shoot dogs that come on my property. Even chicken killers. I will shoot in their general direction...they get the message. I wasn't me that shot your dog.
  • Coons and possums in the chicken pen go in there at their own peril. I wish they laid eggs. They ain't picky about what they eat.
  • I don't care if you are on my property, if I know you. Please introduce youself if it's you first visit. you probably got buisness, or you wouldn't drive down here in the first place.
  • I keep my fences up as best I can. I do not have livestock, so, it ain't my cow or horse, chicken, maybe, in your garden.
  • I do not call the law every time someone declares war on targets, trees, clay pigeons. I do wince at the first shot...and try to keep myself  "over the hill" from the action.
  • I do not mind when the kids rip up and down the Private Road on various machines, as long as they stay on THEIR part of the Private Road. No dying on my part of the Private Road.
  • I want to be in the middle of my piece of property: me, my wife, our stuff. I want to be surrounded by trees, grass, water, blue sky and "15 miles of elbow room", and a great deal of peace and quiet. A goal I consider attainable.
  • I try to approach territorial concerns on a case by case basis. Whatever the outcome, when the fat lady sings, it's over. No beating of dead horses.
  •  City States are lonesome places for the King. Try to be a Prince, folks usually like the Prince better anyway. Especially kids, horses, and girls.
Now you know where you stand in MY City State, for the time being. Still working on finding the right rock and a sharp chisel.


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