If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know that I live in military housing. I love it here. Some of my friends aren’t too happy about our surroundings, as they are used to nicer homes, but I love my house. It’s almost twice the size of the house we owned in Washington state, and the layout is awesome. Plus, it’s almost like living in a detached home, since our houses are connected at the garage. I can’t ever hear my neighbors. It’s fabulous.
I also like living where my neighbors are in the military. Not that there’s anything wrong with civilians — I love you all. But civilians, while friendly, run on a totally different time schedule than military wives. Most civilians I have met take things slowly when they meet a new person. I haven’t got that kind of time, though. If it takes you a year or two to warm up to me, I’ll be gone before we can get a proper friendship going. That, and I’ve been shunned by civilians when they find out I’m military because they don’t feel like putting forth the effort into a friendship where I’ll just be moving away in a few years anyhow. I can understand that, but I can’t live like that. If I did, I wouldn’t have any friends. Ever.
But living in military housing doesn’t protect us from the nutjobs. Case in point: the lady around the corner from me. Let’s call her Crazy Lady.
Here’s a little back story first, though. My neighborhood is halfway between the two major drags of the island. As such, it’s commonly used as a cut-through by lots of people who have no business being in our neighborhood. We don’t live on the base, but rather just outside it, so there are no gates (well, there’s a gate at one end, but it’s kept open) to keep anyone in or out. It sucks that people cut through, but what can you do.
So Crazy Lady lives on one of the streets that is sometimes used by the folks who cut through. Generally they go on the street behind her, but we’ve had a ton of construction lately that has closed off that street. So it’s on to her street they go. Before she moved into her unit, back when my dear friend T lived in that house, they had installed a speed bump right outside her house. It’s the most annoying speed bump, only about fifty or a hundred feet away from a stop sign in either direction. So you stop, go a tiny way, stop for the speed bump, go a tiny way, and stop again for the stop sign. Very annoying.
But I guess that just wasn’t enough for her. When Crazy Lady moved in, she put up all these SLOW CHILDREN PLAYING signs all over her front yard. Now she’s got some semi-permanent ones that she’s installed up and down her street. I’m not quite sure why she has them up; there are permanent metal signs installed on every stop sign as well. And it’s not like anyone can get up to any kind of speed on her street anyhow, unless they run all the stop signs, which will then cause them to hit the speed bump hard enough to damage their car.
Well, whatever. Put up signs, I don’t care. I still roll my eyes every time I see one of them.
A couple days ago, though, as Kurt was coming home from work, he noticed her outside with her camcorder. He thought she said something to him, so he stopped to talk. She informed him that she had filmed him coming down the street, and because it took him only seven seconds to go from the stop sign to the speed bump, he was speeding. She had written down his license plate number, and she planned on submitting it to the police.
When he came home to tell me that, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I wanted to rush outside and quote the Barenaked Ladies to her: “Lady, you’re an idiot!” She has so much time that she’s going to sit there and video everyone coming down the street because she feels as though they are speeding. True, the speed limit is just 15mph here in housing (I thought it was 25mph, but I keep my speed to 20 — oops, I guess I’m speeding too), but it’s really hard to go 15mph. Kurt went back out to discuss the issue with her, and she told him that she’s petitioning to have the gate to the neighborhood closed to prevent people from cutting through.
So because she happens to live on a slightly busy street, she wants to inconvenience everyone who lives in the neighborhood and force them to go around their ass to get to their elbow. Not only that, but the closest emergency response team would come into our neighborhood through that entrance. If that gate were closed, it would take them three times as long to respond.
I wonder if she realizes her children would be affected in that case.
Kurt called our leasing company to let them know that she’s worked up about all of this, and they told us that no matter what, they can’t close that gate. It’s no longer really military housing; they’re trying to get civilians to rent here as well. It’s a public street, and there is no way they can restrict access to it. I have seen cops sitting in driveways nearby, monitoring the situation and ticketing people who run the stop signs. Clearly the police know what’s going on, so I don’t think any more can be done.
Here’s the kicker — she has an enormous backyard. Most of the houses in my neighborhood no longer have fences in the back because they were falling apart. It was easier to pull them down than to repair them. So she has this enormous green space right behind her house. I’m really confused why she doesn’t just put her kids out back to play, instead of getting so worked up about the folks driving past her house. That, and why doesn’t she just move to a quieter street? Sure, it would be a pain for her, but there are plenty of empty units around. Then she can live on a quiet, dead-end street where there’s no traffic, and the rest of us don’t have to worry about being filmed and reported to the police.
If I were her, though, I’d be a helluva lot less concerned about the traffic on my street and more worried about the demolition going on. The leasing company is pulling down many houses around us, two on my street alone. These are old houses, with lead paint on the walls, and probably asbestos in the insulation. Why doesn’t she get worked up about all of that being flung into the air as they’re demolishing the houses? There’s one right across the street from her that will get pulled down. I’d be more worried about that, personally — and I am, too. The house across the street from me will be torn down sometime soon. I guess I’ll be keeping the doors shut and the a/c on while the demolition is going on.
I wonder if anyone’s told her that there’s lead in our ground. Maybe that would be enough for her to keep her kids inside all the time, and we wouldn’t have to worry about her monitoring our speed through the neighborhood.
Hmmm. There’s a thought.