A few months ago, some new people moved into the house adjacent to our back yard. When we moved here, 19 years ago, the house was owned by Neighbor Bob and his wife; Hugh had known Neighbor Bob since he was a young boy, so there was already a connection. Since Neighbor Bob passed away, the house has sold twice, and, in each case, we have had a pleasant relationship with the owners.
You know where this is going, right?
New Guy is an asshat.
Hugh's first interaction with him occurred a couple of weeks ago, when Hugh was in the backyard cleaning out the dog kennels. Earlier in the day, he had trimmed some dead limbs from the tree overhanging my garden and had thrown them into our burn pile, along with some other trimmings and grass clippings.
New Guy came out of his house and proceeded to call Hugh a "punk" for burning on a Sunday, and, during a fire ban. Hugh politely informed him that there was no fire ban currently in place for the town, nor was there any city ordinance against burning on a Sunday.
New Guy was incensed, and he made an aggressive move toward Hugh, who, in a less polite voice, told him to get off our property. New Guy ignored that directive, and, Hugh sprayed him with the hose that he was using to clean the kennel. New Guy left, cussing Hugh all the way back to his house.
Hugh reported to incident to his Chief of Police, mainly because he assumed New Guy would try to report it as well and he wanted his story to be the first that the Chief heard. The Chief thought the whole thing was ridiculous and told Hugh not to worry about it since New Guy had trespassed on our property, been asked to leave, and appeared aggressive.
Flash forward to earlier this week, when the Code Enforcement Officer visited Hugh at the hardware store to advise him that someone had anonymously reported that we were building a structure on our property without a permit. Hugh agreed that we are, indeed, building a structure on our property, but, that said structure does not meet the specs that would require him to buy a permit, and, given Hugh's experience in construction, he would know. The officer agreed with him.
Now, who do you suppose the anonymous reporter was?
I have no idea if New Guy is renting or if he has purchased that house, but I can tell you, if this is his idea of making friends, he's terribly misguided.
On the other hand, if making a complaint to local law enforcement is the first step in his Handbook for Making Friends and Influencing Neighbors, I can certainly reciprocate; the weeds in his front yard are a clear violation of the city weed code.
I can make that call; the only difference between us is, I'm not ashamed to use my name. It's the downright neighborly thing to do.