Sunday, August 5, 2012

In Which I Use Retail Experience in the Real World

We have a neighbor who is... honestly, uncomfortable to live next to.  There's a wooden fence between our yards, and it was no longer there, big chunks suddenly missing.

And then he decided to cut stuff down on our side.  Lilies, Jerusalem artichokes, things that were purposefully planted.  About four feet of ground on our side had been cut down.

So tonight, Moma brought home fencing and stakes. You may not know this about me, but I can get pretty avoidant.  Default settings have me hiding from situations.  I really didn't want to go over there while they were home, but the Moma is fierce when she's angry, so we started putting up the fence.

There's a build up of dirt demarking the line where the fence used to be. We stayed about four or five inches in,  mostly because the fence was built on the property line, although permanent structures like wooden fences are supposed to be four inches inside property lines.

I had to hammer stakes in by standing on my tiptoes and holding the sledge at an awkward angle. The pounding brought the sister outside. 

"You line that up," she said. "Line it up."
"Yep," I replied, my small, acknowledging smile reflexively on my face.  "That's what we're working on."
"Just make sure you line it up," she gestured.  I realized she was acting exactly like a flustered manager.  Holy damn, she was acting JUST like a manager.
"Doug, you better get out here," she called for her brother.  "Doug!"
Wow, I thought.  A lot of crazy comes right from fear.

Doug is the guy who wrote a nearly incomprehensible letter about a month or so ago, going on about how he was going to pester the cops about my aunt's dude.  He makes me nervous, straight up.  He peeked out and disappeared again. 

Goodness, I thought, getting bolder with my attitude, they're just bullies who talk and talk behind the walls of their high security compound, but when it comes down to it, they won't do anything.  Though apparently he may have actually hit my aunt with a lawn mower and may have actually punched Norm?

Putting in the next stake, I was committed to being steel. I ignored the motion off to my side and tried getting that damned stake into the ground, when I see good ol Doug walking up with a massive sledgehammer.

He hammered the stake, being none too careful about knocking it off course or avoiding hitting my hand (managed to avoid it though).  "Thank you very much," I said, hearing my customer service voice come out of my mouth.

He stood and watched, as I knew he would, as we wired the fence and commented on how well I'd wrapped the wires.  He stood, of course, as close as he could.  Space encroacher.  Big time.  I pretend I'm oblivious to these things by not reacting. A surprising lot of human interactions are immediate attempts at getting attention or energy.  Cats and children are more obvious with their attempts. Adults just manipulate each other for it.

I kept wondering if he had a motive for his comments, whether he was attempting to be flirtatious or if he was planning sabotage.  But this was lonely person ramble.  This was "I only have my sister to talk to and I'm going to be fifty in a few years" ramble.  I know this sort of thing and know how to deal with it without being truly uncomfortable.  He pointed out that his sledgehammer had been burned when his "garage burned down." 

The garage certainly didn't burn down. It caught fire, sure.  Burn down? No.

We ran out of fence but the Moma was just trying to get the back where the chickens sometimes get loose closed off. One of her hens vanished yesterday, probably prompting the fencing ordeal. 

"Thanks again," I said, as we retreated back inside, picking up our movie where we paused it. And then he was at the window.  The fucking living room window, not the door at the front or back, but at the window.  Where we sleep.  Well, where my moma sleeps. I've been sleeping in my room.  Still!

"Moma," I said, trying to warn her somehow.  I blocked the window with cats and my shoulders so he couldn't see in.

He stood there with maybe three whole feet of fencing. "I found this that you could use," he held up a bit, green bindweed still hanging onto the wires.

"Oh, no thanks," I answered.  "We have some. But thank you."
And then I noticed how far down his shorts were. Like, I could see the crease between belly and thigh, but his shirt was low enough (thankfully) that I was spared any of the front view.  I'm not accusing anyone of froward intentions, just saying that it bothered me. It could have just been that he was having trouble keeping his shorts up.  He toddled down the driveway with his bit of fencing, and I was then paranoid for the rest of the evening.

I'm mowing the front yard tomorrow morning.  Wish me luck.