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.
It occurred to me there's another interpretation of this: The excuse came from the person she was talking to on the phone, and so she didn't realize at first that it was supposed to be taken seriously. ...but, enough mind reading.
Anyway, next time I saw this woman's vehicle it was parked on the street, and so I assumed the problem may have been solved. Then yesterday I noticed this:
I suspect it was her car as well, but I didn't feel like dealing with it at the time, so I just snapped that photo. I did notice the license plate on the front had a particularly simple number, which makes me think it was a novelty plate rather than a genuine plate. (Ohio doesn't require license plates on the front of a vehicle.) I'll have to look in to this if I see the vehicle again, as I don't find it hard to imagine there being laws against novelty plates which resemble actual plates, and it definitely confused me. I was kind of wondering if it were one of those special plates, like the ones they put on state vehicles, though that idea seemed contradicted by the stickers in the window indicating that the owner attended a university somewhere. It didn't occur to me that it might just be a fake number plate until ten minutes later.
Anyway, today a loud car door slam and a short beep from the horn alerted me to the presence of the previous idiot. As I made some pizza, waiting for her to decide to leave, her car alarm even went off for a moment. So I watched while my pizza cooked. They just dug around in the vehicle for a while, then loaded up the kids. Once the engine started, I opened my door to record some more video.
Her: Hi psycho! You know I already talked [inaudible] says I can do whatever I want right there. It's not your yard, it's not grass, it doesn't need mowed... It's... It's public. I already talked to 'm.
Her: I did. I'm not going to risk my grandkid's life because you... [inaudible] have to argue, so... Have a great day! I love your weird camera.
They're her grandkids? Fuck... ...but, I guess if you have a kid when you're 14, and then your 14 year old has a kid, you can have a two-year-old grandchild at the age of 30. Hell, two more generations of that and we'll have a great great grandmother who still isn't old enough to retire.
Anyway, it seems she admits that previously she had no legitimate reason to believe that parking there was acceptable, which is kind of a pity... If she had known all along, it would mean that she was a bit less of an idiot, but since she just now found out, it means she's a complete idiot, which means it's just going to bother me more.
While this does seem to be having the intended effect of annoying her as much as she annoys me, I'm not sure it's worth the effort. At some point, dealing with this is going to cause more stress than simply finding a new place to live would cause, and this whole issue seems to be rapidly approaching that point.
I noticed the "for rent" sign has reappeared for the place I was considering moving in to before I moved in here. It's an upstairs place, which would mean that no dumb shit can occur right outside my windows, which would be comforting. It was also $75 a month cheaper than this place. Indeed, one of the reasons I chose this place was that I thought that, because it's not attached to another apartment, I wouldn't have to deal with annoyances from idiot neighbors. However, the idiocy I get here exceeds what happened in my previous place, despite it being a building with five other tenants.
My mother is thinking of moving to Eaton. I could just move in to her old place, where I lived before. Granted, it's infested with bed bugs at the moment, but I suspect a lot of that is due to their bizarre inability to care about the infestation, e.g. their complete unwillingness to not sleep on the bug-infested couches so that the bed bug traps have a chance of being effective. The traps, BTW, they wouldn't even have were it not for me. They're completely unmotivated to deal with the problem themselves. I suspect I could just put my stuff in storage for a few weeks and eliminate the problem before I move in. It might be worth the hassle considering the rent is half of what I pay here.
...but, I dunno. Moving is also potentially just exchanging one set of problems for another. I guess I'll continue to see where this goes, though it certainly wouldn't hurt to look around and see what places are available.
Before I could finish writing this blog post, the situation continued, and I'm too lazy to go back and edit, so let's pretend like I'm actually writing an update.
It started with grandma (it's nice to have a name for her now, using pronouns for everyone gets confusing) returning and once again parking in my front yard. She sure is stubborn. Again, I'm totally confused, what with the many available parking spaces and what has to be obvious knowledge at this point that parking in my front yard will only lead to circumstances that make her unhappy.
So I watch a bit to see if she'll be leaving immediately or if she'll be staying for a while. During this time, the "man of the house," who I guess I'll call "dad" just to refer to everyone from the POV of the kids, takes notice of the fact that I'm looking through the peep-hole in my front door. (I was wondering how long it'd take them to notice it exists, as it is quite easily visible and located exactly where you would expect one to be on a house. I'm actually not sure it's possible to look at my front door and not see it.) He acknowledges my presence by flipping me off. This quite amuses me as it means I no longer have to actually step outside. I can annoy them from within my house now. Indeed, he could hardly take his eyes off of my door. I suppose he kind of knows how I feel now, except that his feeling goes away when he goes inside his house.
At one point it appeared that grandma was about to leave, and so I stepped out to record her driving, but she didn't actually leave. So after about 15 seconds I gave up and went back inside. Then, while watching through my hole, I noticed her playing with her phone, and then dad popped out the front door holding a phone book. So I figure they're either calling my landlord or, more likely, calling the police.
Knowing that the word of half-a-dozen idiots vs. one person is never a good proposition, I quickly call my sister to ask her to quickly come by for a visit, but I was unable to reach her. So I then called my nephew, and asked him to come as if someone's life depended on him getting here quickly, which unfortunately delayed his departure as I then had to explain the situation. After a 30 second explanation, I again asked him to come as quickly as possible, and I now have a great story for anyone who wants to say the kid can't do something quickly. He must have left immediately and rode his bike here as fast as possible because he was here sooner than I expected, despite that I was hoping for the best case.
He arrived several minutes before the police. I used the time to first explain how the camera works (thankfully kids mostly know this stuff), then I explained that he should record everything that happens, and that he shouldn't worry about remaining hidden and that indeed being obvious is better, and that he should say nothing and answer no questions and, if necessary, simply state that he is exercising his right to remain silent.
Then we waited for the cop to come to my door.
I'm not going to post all of the videos, but this one is particularly interesting, so here it is in case you'd prefer to watch it rather than read it.
Cop: Hey, how's it going?
Me: What's up?
I didn't know I say "what's up?" Indeed, I suspect it may have been some very subtle sarcasm, WRT idiots who are up to no good always saying "'sup" when you walk by, often with a slight head nod, as if to say "I'm cool with you, you cool with me?" People often seem to be driven by the same instincts as dogs. The result is that I view all small talk with disdain, particularly because so much of it involves questions like "how are you today" which no one actually wants an answer to. They just want you to reply with something short and generic so that they feel more comfortable. Indeed, if they actually said "I'm cool with you, you cool with me?" then at least I could honestly answer the question with a "yeah" and not feel like a monkey reciting a script. ...but, no, instead it's "'sup." ...and damn I'm good at tangents.
Cop: I... Can I talk to you for a second?
Me: Uhmm... Do I have to talk to you?
Cop: Well, I mean, I would prefer you did... [he continued but I replied assuming the sentence was finished]
Me: I'm sure that you would.
Cop: [continuing] ...just I want to see what's going on. Is there a reason you're taking pictures and all this of them and... [no interruption here, he stopped talking]
Me: Well, it is my front yard. Am I not allowed to do that?
Cop: No, I mean, that's what I was just telling her, you're allowed to do it but the thing is it's kind of... Is there any particular reason you're doing this?
Me: Do I have to have a reason to do this?
Cop: No you do not, but I'm just, err, kind of curious.
Me: Well, I do not wish to say to you anything that I do not have to say to you.
Cop: OK, that's how you want to play it?
The above statement included the change in tone you'd assume it came with. I guess he was switching to "bad cop" mode, hoping to get me to talk in order to get him to switch back to "good cop" mode.
Cop: OK. Do you want to give me your ID, on you, real quick?
Me: I don't want to. Do I have to?
Cop: No, you don't have to.
At this point you can hear my nephew trying not to laugh.
Cop: Well, are you guys taking a school class, I mean, I'm just kind of curious, you're not in any kind of trouble. I told them that too. I can't do anything.
Me: Yes, and I want it to stay that way.
Cop: OK. ...but there's no particular reason that you're taking pictures of them or anything?
Me: Uhmm, am I free to shut my door now?
Cop: Yeah, I suppose so, you're not under arrest or anything.
I hadn't realized it at the time, but you can hear in the video a rather audible sigh of relief coming from my nephew. I guess the poor kid thought that maybe I was going to be arrested. ...but he is old enough to drive now, and so it's better he learns how to deal with the police before he has to deal with them alone.
Me: Have a good day.
Cop: Have a good day.
Following the rule that it's never good to talk to the police, I should have terminated the conversation sooner, but it is amusing to have him on video saying that I can record my front yard, that I don't have to have a reason, and that he cannot do anything about it. It's also nice to hear that he told them the same thing, which becomes relevant in a later video.
Particularly amusing was that at some point in the middle of the video, grandma says something to the effect of "look, he's recording us again!" Yes, indeed I was recording again. I'd be a damn fool to know that a police encounter was about to occur, have a video camera in my possession, and fail to use it. I'd be left at the mercy of the officer's recollection of the events, since in the event they don't like any recordings they have, they tend to get lost and are unavailable at trial.
Anyway, my nephew, who must have felt like I just pulled some Jedi mind trick, immediately afterward wanted some explanation of what had just happened. I tried my best to educate him a little by showing him some videos on YouTube, but sadly a lot of the information available isn't that great, so I had to explain a lot, and point out where in several videos people were just being douches. It was much easier to find good information back when I was researching how to deal with the police.
...but to sum things up, you never have to talk to the police, and while the laws vary from state to state, you probably don't have to give them ID unless you're actually driving the car. If you're not driving, or there is no car, then at most they can ask you to identify yourself, which is a request you can satisfy simply by telling them your name. Also, you cannot lie to them about anything, which is part of the reason you shouldn't talk to them at all. Even if you accidentally lie, it's still a crime.
Also, there are so many laws that you can never be certain you haven't broken one, and so it is never a good idea to say anything, as you may accidentally confess to something you never thought might be illegal. Did you know that it's a felony to collect a bird feather you find on the ground if it came from one of many protected species? Doesn't matter that you didn't harm the bird, and indeed never saw the bird, and had no idea what type of bird the feather came from. If it's in your possession, you're guilty. When you talk to the police, you're quite honestly betting that you know the law better than they do with regards to whether anything you may have done may be illegal. It's best to keep such conversations short, just as if you were in a match against a professional boxer, you'd be smart to immediately run from the ring rather than just try to dodge the punches. Cops arrest people for a living. They know all about things they can arrest you for, and they'll do so whether you think any of those things make sense or not.
That's also why it's generally a good idea to avoid angering the police. Sure, don't talk to them, but at the same time, don't be unnecessarily rude to them either. If they're not already working from the point of view of someone who wants to arrest you for something no matter what it is, there's no reason to give them any encouragement, because they probably can arrest you for something. It's just a matter of whether they feel it is worth their time to investigate you until they find something. If you make it personal, then they'll find the time.
Anyway, my neighbors soon left again, and I allowed them to leave without recording them, since the cop was just there a few minutes ago and, since it's a good idea to interact with the police as little as possible, I figured it best to be certain he wasn't still around before continuing. Regardless of the fact that what I am doing is legal, there's no need to do it every single time -- just enough that the neighbors get the point -- and so there was no need to do it again immediately even if the risk were quite small.
Anyway, after my nephew had watched some "how to (not) interact with the police" videos, they returned home. Again, grandma and dad made it apparent that they realize I'm watching by flipping me off repeatedly. Dad also made motions indicating that I should come outside and talk. However, if a fight were to result (and from the looks of the guy, I'm rather certain one would), it would look much better for my side of things if I didn't come out into the yard. To some extent he seemed to know this, as he didn't show any inclination to approach my house. Leave it to someone who looks like they enjoy getting in fights to know how to do so in the most legal manner.
So I remained inside, again waiting for grandma to decide to leave. When she finally did, I stepped outside to record another video:
Her:You're a weirdo pervert.
Me: I'm curious... Why are you so fascinated with parking in my front yard?
Her: It's not your front yard and that police man said I could park here if I unloaded the kids and groceries because that road is dangerous. I'm not facinated with anything that has to do with a pervert that's videotaping me and my family.
Her: If you post that on YouTube or anywhere you're going to get sued and you're also going to get evicted for videotaping me [inaudible].
I then accidentally stopped the recording, then intentionally restarted it. The rest of the conversation was more "you're a pervert" as well as asking if I was a "big man" because she was under the impression I'm afraid to go outside when anyone else is out there. So I replied that I am indeed kind of fat, and I also decided to clue her in that I was only making video of her driving. After all, a protest which is misunderstood isn't very useful, so if she honestly doesn't realize that it is her driving that is causing me to record her, then I'm kind of wasting my time. It's annoying to have to spell it out, though.
It's rather surprising the degree to which her behavior resembles that of someone you'd see on the Jerry Springer show, complete with the bizarre head movements when she thinks she's saying something particularly clever. It actually kind of makes me feel better about myself. While I certainly look like some sort of dweeb in the videos, at least I know what I'm talking about, rather than just saying random things like "that police man said I could park here if I unloaded the kids and groceries because that road is dangerous" while doing some weird head dance of superiority.
Such a statement almost begs that I try to hold her to it and only allow her to park there when picking up the kids and unloading groceries. The whole reason I wasn't doing anything about this a month ago was that initially that was all she was doing and it's hard to care about a few minutes here and there, even if it does come with annoyingly audible door slams and the complete confusion about what's so hard about parking on the street when the nearest available space is no more than five feet further away from their house than my front yard. It's annoying, yes, but not quite enough to get my lazy ass motivated. ...but, over time, her vehicle slowly appeared to be out there more often than it wasn't.
I'm rather certain that if I had the same personality as her, we'd be pulling each other's hair out. I think the fact that I generally don't respond but instead just let her vent is the only thing keeping the situation under control.
Dad gives similar vibes, though it's harder to see as he mostly just stands back except to supply the occasional middle finger, but then he usually goes back inside when grandma is driving away, so he hasn't seen me much. I feel like he'd probably be trying to kick my ass except that I also imagine that mom is constantly trying to reign him in. She actually appears rather sane. So far she's remained relatively out of the picture, and when outside she's said and done nothing, not even looking at my door, unlike dad who couldn't stop giving it the evil eye. Indeed, I've never seen her do anything at all to suggest that she's an idiot. I'm pretty sure she was just unfortunate enough to have kids with the wrong guy.