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It’s spring time. The sun was just making its broader presence known and I was enjoying a very good cup of coffee while I swept the front walk, which we shared with the unit next to us. And here she came, the neighbor that is, my new nosy neighbor, shuffling out the door in her house slippers she shoved a thick stack of paper stapled together into my face and says, “these are the rules.” I looked down at the top page of the sheaf of paper and saw that it was indeed the rules for the residents in the units under the domain of this homeowners association in the ‘hood.
“And a good morning to you too ma’am,” I tried to ease the tension a bit since she resembled Whoopie Goldberg crossed with a pitbull with an impacted colon. They get pretty mean when all they can do is eat and there’s nowhere for it to go. I politely reached for the rule book, and she pulled it away snipping “no, this is my copy, you’re welcome to read it but I want it back.” I agreed and she reluctantly handed me the rulebook and I gingerly held it in my hands as if it were printed on very thin rice paper. I had decided to read it and return it as soon as possible without so much as a hint of a smear or fingerprint.
As it turns out ghetto rules are pretty much like any other neighborhood with a homeowners association. A large list of dogs you can’t own, don’t think about painting the exterior without their permission, and if you have a grievance by all means bug the heck out of the homeowners association president. Which our new neighbor apparently had down to a science.
The next neighbor to introduce himself, much more gracefully, was the neighbor on the other side of miss “I’m all up in your business.” He was a middle-aged Vietnam vet with some issues living on disability and food stamps. More typical of how our veterans end up in America and a damn shame too. But he had lived in this ‘hood for awhile and was able to update me on each and every neighbor around us. It’s amazing how much people know about each other in the ghettos. It’s not like the snotty gated neighborhoods where they fear the rest of us want their stuff. Personally I’m glad they lock themselves into their little cages at night all safe and tucked in with the alarms on. The fewer paranoid people in public the better.