Sorry for the long wait in between posts. I had to pee. It came out SUPER slow. But thanks to people harassing me online and in person (I’m looking at you, Illza), I’m back. What can I say- I’m a sucker for peer pressure. And I also have a neighbour who’s worth writing about.
In my real life, we recently wrapped up an amazing 3-week visit with some great friends from Canada. We had fun introducing them to all the amazing things South Africa has to offer (the food, the art, the animals, the almighty braai, etc), along with some of the things that fall into the “not-so-awesome” category (no water in the estate due to a burst water main…again, increased security because of a recent spate of hijackings right near our house, hilarious incompetence in several customer service situations, etc).
What I’m saying is I have a lot of stories saved up, and many of them will appear on the blog. One day. But before I tell you those stories, I want to tell you THIS story…
I have a neighbour here, which isn’t that uncommon I guess. In fact, I have several. They’re all great. Except for this ONE guy.
In most cases around the world, if your neighbour inconveniences you, your first step is to walk over, knock politely on the door, and explain what the problem is. In almost all instances, the matter ends there. But apparently, that’s not so here. Welcome, my friends, to the wonderful world of estate politics in South Africa.
First, a bit of background. I rent my home here. I’m on a temporary contract, and it made no sense to buy. As such, I moved into a house that has a pre-existing, beautiful garden with several large trees along the border for privacy. I thought this was a bonus because then the neighbours wouldn’t have to see me rolling around naked on a tarp covered in butter whilst my friends throw oranges at me, which happens to be one of my favourite hobbies.
But I wasn’t counting on THIS particular neighbour.
For the purpose of this blog, his name is Bareng Job Kenneth Motshwane. Because that’s actually his real name. But because he’s very proud of the fact he attended a 5th rate university and earned a degree that has about as much value as a participation trophy in a glue-eating competition, he insists on being called Dr Motshwane. So we’ll just shorten that to “Dick.”
Anyway, Dick had a legitimate concern. Apparently, some of the trees in my yard were dropping leaves onto his property. I totally get how that could be annoying. However, instead of just letting me know about these errant leaves, he decided to skip the whole “behave like a normal human” thing and lodge an official complaint with the homeowners’ board of the estate, demanding the trees be trimmed within 14 days. Although I was surprised, I decided to take the high road and sent him the below message minutes after I received the complaint:
You see, my lease agreement clearly states I can’t prune any of the trees on the property. I heard back from the rental agent, and she said she would look after it. Cool. Problem solved. I’d just wait for someone to come trim the trees, and Dick would be happy.
Except 3 days later, I opened my garage and tried to back out of the driveway, only to see this blocking my way:
That’s right. Instead of waiting the 14 days (obviously Dick’s PhD didn’t teach him how to count past 3), Dick got his gardener to lop off several branches and drag them into my driveway, blocking my way. Well played, Dick, well played. I moved them out of my way so I could get out and tried to call him to see what the deal was. Because Dick is terrified of human interaction, of course he avoided my call.
So now the rental agent is filing a counter complaint for trespassing. This is getting fun. But it’s entirely not my style to play these games.
Instead, I looked up the bylaws in the estate. I can’t make excessive noise after 10pm. However, because I used to make music as the most obnoxious part of a professional rock band, I have a drum set in my garage. And when I’m done writing this, I’m moving it to the backyard, facing Dick’s house. But I’m not going to play them. I know how to play them, and that’s not good enough for what I want to do.
Along with the drums, I also happen to have a 7-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. And while they have no idea how to play the drums, they sure love to randomly bash away on them. Game on, Dick, game on. I hope you enjoy your dinner tonight. And the next one. And the next. And the next.