Nosey Neighbors Are Trying to Kill All the Joy
People care a lot about the place they call home – it’s not just a shelter with four walls and a roof, it’s a personal respite from the conformity police lurking in every other aspect of our lives.
Most people around the Bay Area get up at the butt crack of dawn to shower, dress up in their least wrinkled business casual fit and suffer in traffic for two hours before they even get to their place of employment where they’re expected to suck up to the boss, exercise the best of office kitchen etiquette and navigate awkwardness that is communal bathrooms. There’s not much in the day that belongs to the individual, no place for genuine nature, which makes home so much more important.
At the end of each day, people get to decompress and shed layers of expectations inside their own dwellings. You may be the type to strip down to your chonies and drink straight from the juice bottle with the fridge open. You might assume an online alter-ego and choose to nerd out on some League. You could have jigsaw puzzles going on every flat space in your house or maybe you teach private lessons on the joy of naked yoga – no judgement here.
Whatever freak flag you fly, your home is the place where you’re allowed to fly it freely. People like to make homes uniquely their own with art, paint or whatever strikes their creative fancy. But sometimes even in your own space, propriety nags still just can’t help themselves. They use regulations, blight codes, homeowners associations and nosy neighbors with nothing better to do than bitch on Nextdoor.com to try and bring the conformity SWAT team barreling through your front door. And sometimes, people fight back.
Two Bay Area property disputes are in the thick of battle and totally worth mentioning because they’re so damn funny.
Up in Hillsborough, we have the Flintstone house and it is exactly the place where you could imagine Fred and Wilma kicking it. The dinosaurs and mushrooms surround the rounded red, purple and orange Bedrock replica and provide a little entertainment for commuters along the way. Unfortunately, the neighbors are not nearly as cool as the Rubbles.
The owner, Florence Fang, digs her dinosaurs. As she told the Associated Press recently, “They make everyone smile and should stay.” The city does not share her opinion as is shown by the lawsuit filed against Fang for the home they call a “public nuisance.” They allege she did not acquire necessary permits to create the Stone Age wonderland – the lawsuit language describes the property as a “highly visible eyesore” that was “out of keeping with community standards.” As the lawsuit drama unfolds and threatens Fang’s creative expression, she and her grandson vow to stand by their enormous Fred statue and fight to keep their little slice of joy in an otherwise pretentious neighborhood.
One man in Santa Rosa is showing off his creative side as a matter of protest and it couldn’t be more hilarious. Jason Windus was forced to reduce the height of his 6-foot fence because neighbors complained that it didn’t meet code, which requires the height not exceed 3 feet along the sidewalk. That 3-foot difference is a problem when you have large dogs in your backyard. Windus complied with the order, but in a brilliant stroke of genius, he decided to use the now fully visible yard to set up naked mannequins in a party scene that looks like it could easily turn orgy.
But where Windus really wins the day is with the sign he put up with his exhibition that reads: “Reserved seat for the nosey neighbor that complained about my fence to the city.”
It seems ridiculous that people make such a habit of complaining about other people in their own homes. You don’t have to love the Flintstones or 6-foot fences, but unless your neighbor is threatening your safety, maybe mind your own damn business and don’t be such a Yabba Dabba Douchebag. Just sayin’.