A creeping vine or how to upset the neighbours 2.5
The trades person arrived 2 days after we reported to Council our intentions to remove the small pile of vine cuttings from the laneway.
Just as he was leaving with a small trailer load, to take away that dreaded vine, we chatted briefly. I jokingly mentioned how fortunate it was that he arrived so promptly, as I did not want Council involvement, considering what had occurred previously.
“ That’s funny “, he said. “Because I just stopped a by-laws officer from proceeding to your door to …..
DELIVER A NOTICE AND A FINE FOR DUMPING…”
A brief silence ensued.
The word DUMPING DUMPING DUMPING screamed in my brain. For once in my life I was rendered speechless.
A FINE FOR DUMPING? Did I just hear correctly? Maybe the light streaming into the yard from the bare, naked fence had affected me somehow. It certainly appeared to be affecting my hearing!
Did this mean another resident had put in a complaint? Was it the same person?
The trades person looked at me curiously, head down, maybe in sympathy, as he scuffed his boots nervously before exiting, with his trailer and the remains of the vine – the vine we had hacked off, placed carefully, neatly in a small pile, reported to Council ( IN PERSON!) smiling at the Customer Service person – or the re titled -Non-Customer Service person- who was most firmly and to her – now dangerously in my sights!
It turns out to be not what you know but who you know in this small town. I was given the personal contact number of the appropriate one to call at Council. Firstly, I wrote. A letter. A detailed letter. Professional On paper. Explaining everything.
Before this however, there was the matter of a personal visit to the Non Customer Service Person at the Non Customer Service Desk of the Council Non Customer Service Centre. “ Remember me?” Still the pasted on smile. It did not go well. Non Customer Service persons are right behind their Council and have no regard towards us, the rate payers. We felt dissatisfied with her excuses. Betrayed because of our honesty. There was no Customer Service.
The friend who wielded the axe that weekend, also wielded other powers. I received the Council call. It went well. I was vindicated.
It must be unusual to receive a box of chocolates from your local Council. Along with apologies on behalf of said Council, for the unfortunate and awful treatment which resulted from us doing the right and proper thing. Those chocolates tasted especially sweet!
It was put down to “ vindictive neighbours “. Yes I told my caller, I am familiar with that term. Did someone really have it in for us or was it a regular laneway walker who recognised the vine as belonging to us and presumed we just dumped it? There goes the word presume again! Never presume. Don’t ever presume.
Everything in life is a lesson- or a gift. What was the lesson here? Or was it a gift?
I walked outside recently – to be confronted with a cheery “ Hello” from one of the neighbours and a chat over the fence ( NOT that fence) even picked up some local gossip – not a rubbish bin in sight –so life continues. I do not expect any more complaints….however I am very aware of the neighbour’s gum tree teetering over our fence, exactly where the vine spent so long growing and thriving. Someday soon, in a high wind, I expect it will crack off and crash through into our yard, breaking the fence. Hopefully no regular laneway walker will happen to be underneath when it happens. Who will be complaining then?
We are all different and I am grateful for the little things such as a friendly hello when you don’t expect it, a wave from a stranger in the street or the mail man on his bike – whilst occasionally keeping a wary eye on those house cameras and rubbish bins!
Have you had funny neighbourhood experiences?