Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Neighbors' Log in My Eye

In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus tells us not to be hypocritical about the specks in our brothers' eyes, since we all have "logs" in our own. Yeah, you know the passage. (By the way: fundamentalists, how the hell do you take that literally? OMG: you have to interpret it! It's a metaphor!) . . . But today I'm in a bitched-off mood. It's overcast, but it's not really raining much, so I will probably have to go out and water a little. (Weatherman! Why do you lead me on so?)

I was supremely irked yesterday afternoon about something, and under the advice of a friend, I took a little walk to clear my mind, which turned into a litter-collecting expedition, which didn't get far, as my bag filled up after I'd walked past, oh, two or three properties. And that's just from the sidewalk area.

Why don't the people in our neighborhood pick up the trash around their houses? Why do I always look out my window and see our neighbors' yards always decorated with trash? Those people have the pleasure of looking out of their windows at our flowers, our attractive yard. Sometimes they even tell me so. Even when the house next door to us was owned by its occupants, those people left soda and beer cans all over their side yard. Am I the only person who sees this stuff? Am I the only one with a functioning back and fingers? (I'll bet if there was a ten-dollar bill lying there, they'd manage to stoop down and pick up.)

It's so frustrating sometimes. I do know that I'm a perfectionist in probably too many ways, but come on. I also realize that in this neighborhood, I suppose I should simply be grateful that we don't currently have neighbors selling drugs or shooting guns across our property (which has indeed been the case in the past). But still.

I guess it's evidence of the verity of that old adage, always spoken with eyes rolling upward: Poor people, poor ways. But okay, my "ways" aren't all that poor, yet my checking account still says I am a poor person anyway. Something's not right.


Anonymous said...

Here's a simple solution. Plant a dollar bill hanging conspicuously out of the opening of an offending beer can so the neighbor will pick it up. One can down. Next day, tuck a dollar bill slightly further in -- maybe sticking halfway out. Neighbor will pick it up. Two days later, slide one almost all the way into a can. Three cans down now. The next day, stick a fiver fully inside a can. Now the neighbor will pick up a few cans until they get to the one with the money. Two days later, a buck, fully inserted. Two days later, another fiver. Now the neighbor is going out and picking up all the cans until they find the payoff. Attenuate the rewards, and before you know it, your neighbor is in the habit of spiffing up the yard. Easy-peasy! (Caveat: This may backfire if your neighbor decides that tiny drunken fairies are leaving him bar tips.)

And yes, your weatherman is a dead ringer for Ike.

I'm not anonymous, I'm just Joy.

Anonymous said...

Er ... that should say "until HE GETS to the one with the money" and "until HE FINDS the payoff." Turn off the grammar check for five minutes, Editor Grrrl.

Julie said...

Hey, Grrrl, check yer grammar check at the door to THIS blog. Let your hair down. Nobody's going to hit you with grammar rules around here.

And anyway, all kinds of authorities are approving and even advocating the use of "they" and "their" as suitable for use as gender-neutral singular pronouns. And as a graying ol' Second-Wave Feminist, I'm okay with it--the time has come. How many grammar judges have to strike down that old, entrenched rule before those of us who are grammar police quit arresting or harassing people for "breaking" it?

Julie said...

Oh, yeah, as for the sodie-can idea: Hmmm. Here is my fear--the neighbor would pick up the can, pocket the money, THROW THE CAN BACK DOWN on the ground, and head straight over to Citgo for more sodie. Ha ha ha!

It has occurred to me to train one the neighborhood kids to pick up trash by paying him. One kid has lived here for years. "Here, David: pick up all the trash you can see, bring me the bag for proof when you're done, and I'll give you five whole bucks."

Yeah, I'd pay a kid to do it. And then, I might secretly plant a five, ten, or twenty where he might find it, once he's done the job a few times. After he finds a few little treasures like that, he might continue to pick up trash on his own.

But that kid got institutionalized again recently for threatening people (such as his own mother), so we don't see him around anymore . . . Oh well.