Just because my front yard is covered with gravel, for some reason people can't resist parking on it.
First time was last year, when the neighbor decided to invite some friends over. At first she parked in the front yard, which I didn't like, but since she was parked all the way to the front of the yard (as far from my house as possible) I just didn't feel like doing anything about it. Then her husband spent a few minutes trying to park a van in right next to her car. The constant back and forth driving occurring right in front of my house was rather annoying.
I really hate stupid people, and the sheer stupidity of the maneuver he made wasn't something I could ignore. So I stuck my head out the door and asked "why is everyone parking in my front yard today?" They both replied that they had been told by my landlord that the parking area was for both houses, though the husband said it in a somewhat rude way. So I sent an email to my landlord, who replied that the parking area is for both houses, and that I should try to settle things with the woman.
Anyway, they eventually moved their vehicles to their own back yard, and so things were settled well enough. Then I realized it was parade day and so they weren't allowed to park on the road. Had I realized that to begin with, I wouldn't have said anything. There's really nowhere else to park that isn't at least a block away on parade day.
Then a few months later, new people move in.
For the most part, they ignore the gravel-covered area. They parked there once for a couple of hours when working on the car, and I didn't see fit to complain since cities are kind of bitchy about people working on cars in the road. Then they parked there on parade day, but realizing it was parade day, I again ignored it since there's not really anywhere else for them to park that isn't more than a block away. They also used the yard on garage sale day, but I didn't mind that either, as it's a one-time thing and they kept the tables right next to the sidewalk.
So it seemed like maybe my landlord hadn't given the "and you can park here in this house's front yard" message to the new neighbors.
Then one day when I had a friend over who always parks in the front yard for some reason, and who also always parks diagonally such that no one else could hope to park there. Apparently seeing this inspired one of my neighbor's friends to park in my front yard as well. Why? I don't know. I have no idea what goes through someone's head to make them think that anything along the lines of "I think I'll park in this random person's yard despite the fact that there isn't really room there for my large truck" is a good idea.
...and, of course, it wasn't a good idea. He hit my other neighbor's house trying to pull into my front yard. He also failed to fit entirely in the space he had chosen, and so the front end of his truck was blocking the alley. He then went into my neighbor's house to hang out for a while, as if nothing had happened.
So my friend and I went out to see what had happened. He inspected his car for damage (there was none) and I took some photos of the license plate and his awesome parking job, and the damage to the neighbor's house. Then I knocked on the neighbor's door to let them know they'd been hit. Amazingly, they had no idea.
So we all stood around looking at the damage, and the guy comes out of the house, gets in his truck, and just leaves, despite having to look at us looking at the damage he'd caused. So we stepped out of the way and let him drive off. I then suggested to the neighbors that they should call the police, which they did.
By the time the police got there, the guy came back on foot. The police officer talked to him for a while, but he denied being involved. Then I showed him the photo of the license plate, which he showed the guy and asked if it was his. At first he denied it, but using all of the magic you see on every episode of Cops, he eventually got him to confess. He ended up with a ticket for a court appearance.
It was at this point that I decided I should buy some pepper spray. I'd been wanting it forever to use on vicious dogs, but it seemed that if I was going to be pissing off stupid people, I may need to defend myself eventually.
Anyway, over the last few days, another of the neighbor's friends has begun parking in my front yard. At first she stayed towards the front, away from my house, but over time began parking closer and closer to my house. Yesterday she actually got in her SUV to pull out and pull back, just to move a few feet closer to my house, because pushing the lawnmower five more feet before loading it into the back of the SUV is enough of an issue to bother doing that. Also, at first, she was parked there only for a few minutes, but as time went by, she began staying there for longer periods of time.
Again, I couldn't help but wonder what line of thinking makes someone decide that parking in a stranger's front yard is a good idea, even if the landlord told them that it is OK to park there. Just think about it: If you moved into a house, and your landlord told you it was OK to park in the front yard of the neighbor's house, yet there was always plenty of street parking available, would you park in the neighbor's front yard or would you park on the street? I sure as hell wouldn't park in the front yard. Why do something to potentially annoy a neighbor when there are always two empty parking spaces in front of your house anyway?
...and this is quite annoying. Despite all of my windows being covered with foil to keep out the sunlight, my ears are constantly at work keeping an "eye" on what is going on around my house. The problem isn't the cars themselves, as there are cars going through the alley next to my house all the time. The problem is the stupidity. My brain is constantly on the lookout for something out of the ordinary, and the dumbass driving maneuvers occurring in my front yard always set of my dumbass-sense. Doesn't matter that the landlord thinks it's OK for them to park there. The fact that they would even want to means that they're dumbasses, and thus, the dumbass-sense is invoked.
So I spent the last day trying to think of what to do in response to this.
My first idea was to annoying my neighbors in an equivalent way. If my front yard is to be shared between the two houses, then wouldn't that also apply to their back yard? My side door has a very small deck attached to it, which actually crosses over the line between the two houses into what I would consider to be their yard. Thus, it would be easy to conclude that the yard should be shared. Nevertheless, I try to keep out of what I consider to be their yard. Being behind their house, I expect that they feel a stronger attachment to it than I do, and I've no reason to do things to annoy them -- or do I? However, this idea seemed like too much work. Convincing a lot of people to come over to my house just so that we can have an "annoy the neighbors" cookout in the neighbor's back yard wouldn't be all that easy, and they might not even be at home when I do it, meaning I'd have to do it again. So I kept thinking about it.
Then I came up with another idea. I would just take photos of the woman's vehicle, and record a video of every time she arrives and leaves, just in case she hits anything on the way in or out. People tend to hate having themselves recorded, yet there's nothing they can do about it assuming you're on public property, and even on private property, the worst that can happen is that the owner tells you to leave, which makes it trespassing if you don't leave. ...but, I'm allowed to record my yard as much as I like, regardless of whether the people in my yard like it or not.
So tonight when she arrived, I went out and took a few photos, making sure to get a good one of her license plate, and a few others showing the general position of the vehicle. I then waited about an hour for her to decide to leave, but by then I was bored, so I went into the house, fairly confident I'd hear her when she decided to leave.
Then, about 15 minutes later, I heard the door of her SUV slam shut, and so I turned on my front porch light, opened the door, and proceeded to record.
Here's the video, but please right-click and "save as..." to save me some bandwidth.
Also, here's a transcript for those who can't watch the video:
Her: [something inaudible] taking pictures of my vehicle?
Me: Why not?
Her: Why are you doing that?
Me: Why not?
At this point I feared that she may not be smart enough to figure out my reasons, and so I decided I had better be more explicit.
Me: Why are you parked in my front yard?
Her: This is -- (sarcastically) I'm so sorry.
She then talks to the person on the phone about me as she begins to drive away. At some point it seems she says a few words louder that she intended me to hear, but I can't make them out from the video. She then stops and rolls down the passenger side window.
Her:(sarcastically) Sorry, I had to get the kids out.
Her: What do you mean "yeah?"
I'm not sure what she expected my response to be. Had she not made the statement sarcastically, then perhaps she could have expected me to care (though I still wouldn't have), but she said it sarcastically, as if to say "whatever, I have an excuse, so suck it." There aren't a lot of responses to something like that.
Her: You think I want to get them out in the middle of the freakin' road cause there's a bunch of dumbasses driving around.
Apparently that sarcasm was one of those freudian slips, as it seems she did expect me to take it seriously.
Her: Go ahead and video tape me. Go right ahead.
Her: It's gravel, dude. It's not freakin' grass. Sorry.
She then begins to drive away, but slows down again as she's thought of something else to say to me.
Her: You know, I could have you arrested for videotaping me.
Me: No you couldn't.
Her: Yes I can. You're using it without my permission.
She then drives away, saying something else that I can't make out.
It's a pity that talking on a cell phone while driving is still legal in Ohio.
The goal here was, of course, to annoy my neighbors as much as they annoy me. In that respect, this whole event turned out far better than I expected it to. (My hopes were quite low.) I'd say it almost makes up for their friends dumping kitty litter on my front porch and throwing snowballs at my house. Who knew that passive-aggressive behavior could be so much fun?