Baggy Paragraphs

Posts Tagged ‘neighbors

Bigfoot proves susceptible to Russian sage and a pair of kids

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Going for a walk the other afternoon, I strolled past a home where the family recognizes me. They live right at the opening of Hidden Valley Drive. The little brown-haired girl, seven, and blond-domed boy, five, were playing in the yard. She was picking stems of Russian sage, while saying to him, “Oh, you have a boss? That’s so yesterday!”

Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot

Seeing me go by, she said, “What are you doing?”

I was carrying my baseball, which I bounce off of sloped driveway entrances, so I juggled it for them and said, “I’m taking my baseball for a walk.”


“What are you doing?”

“Making a trap for Bigfoot.” She turned and pointed to the slope of the canyon, which is covered with live oaks.

“Really?” I said. “What are you going to do if you catch him?”

The little boy said, “Kill him.” This harsh declaration was a bit of a shock. “You would?”

“Kill him,” he continued, “and take him into the city to show that he’s real.”

So I guess the Russian sage must be considered an effective bait. A Bigfoot preservation campaign would begin with the eradication of Russian sage from all gardens. Meanwhile, I’ll let you know if they succeed. The little boy insisted I’d have to come to the exposition.

Written by baggyparagraphs

February 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

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Not long ago the board of our neighborhood association sent around a preachy, moralizing  newsletter. Someone’s dog had been run over, and the report was filled with “unfortunately” this and “do not assume” that, along with the announcement that the board had decided to lower the speed limit to 15 mph throughout the subdivision.

And then there was the issue of clearing snow from the sidewalks. As someone who walks the dog every day, this is a big deal to me and I welcome a focus on the issue.

“With winter right around the corner, the Board wants to remind you of a few things to keep the subdivision running smoothly, the newsletter said.

Those things were:

  1. Cars are to remain off the street overnight due to plowing.
  2. Sidewalks are to be cleared of snow each morning for the safety of your neighbors and kids walking to school.
  3. Sidewalks should be free from ice.

All very good, although the association’s bylaws aren’t anywhere near that specific and much of the above is just as arbitrary as the 15 mph speed limit.

So here’s a shot of the board president’s sidewalk taken today, Dec. 12, after the snowfall of Wednesday evening, Dec. 9. That snow started to melt the next morning before the temperature dropped suddenly, leaving a frozen mess where the sidewalks hadn’t been scooped. 

It was easier and safer to walk in the street rather than cross this treacherous, icy stretch of sidewalk.

I guess this is a case of the rules not applying to those who made them up.

Written by baggyparagraphs

December 12, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Recriminations over Recyclables

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SpiceWhat better application for my new Canon EOS 50D camera than trash day in Phony Phrench Estates? Molly and I bravely set out around 7.30 a.m. The brilliant sun highlighted those determined droplets inside the recyclable plastic bottles. It all reeked of a photo essay.

But during my first close-up, a hairy-faced fellow rolled past on his ten-speed. He had been out for an early ride, and finding a photographer bending over a tub of recyclables made him squeeze the brakes. (He lives next door.) “You’re taking pictures of trash?” he said.

I don’t know what I mumbled in response. After parking his bike he came back and asked why, but I just shrugged and walked away. When Henry Ford II got busted with his mistress, he wisely said, “Never complain, never explain.” Besides, the hirsute son of a bitch neighbor has rarely shoveled his sidewalk in winter, so he certainly doesn’t deserve any consideration from me.

Some ways down the street, the next shot, or the next, caused me to rotate slightly, and I saw Bristle Jaws still standing in the same spot and still gaping. Some people just don’t relate to the artistic temperament, I guess.

ThecansPlodding ahead, I soon found a ludicrous black superjumbo Lincoln Navigator roaring up to the curb before me. The squarish woman who jumped out looked rather disheveled: buttons not quite buttoned, hair uncombed. Wobbling onto the sidewalk , she introduced herself as Mrs. Fitzpididdle, who is the neighborhood association president. I was confused because there are two identical ludicrous black superjumbo Lincoln Navigator SUVs in our neighborhood, and I thought the fat lady who drives the other one was in fact Mrs. Fitzpididdle. I should have remembered her from the time I attended one of her open-house showings; Mrs. Fitzpididdle is a real estate agent and wants every listing in this subdivision. She now said she recognized me, but what was my name? To this pseudo-sheriff, I duly revealed my identity. (Maybe instead of speaking, I should have simply offered my driver’s license.) She demanded to know what I was doing and griped about having been awakened by three, yes, three calls from neighbors complaining about a man taking pictures of their trash.

In my typical fashion, I was utterly dumfounded. Three strands intertwined in my mind. One, why had she been Fitzpiddling in bed on such a fine summer morn? Two, why would people call her? And three, what difference does it make if your trash is photographed? But none of these points fluttered across my lips.

At least I was not so flustered as to realize that any attempt at explanation would lead to grievous misunderstandings and heated recriminations. My purpose, I offered, hoping to sound as innocuous as possible, not to mention the sheer truthfulness of it, was simply the hobby of photography.

“Well, just as long as you’re not taking pictures of any houses,” she huffed.

84960014I disavowed any house exposures, although now that she mentioned it, there’s nothing illegal about taking pictures of a house. Hers, for example.

Before hefting herself back into her megajumbo SUV, she complained anew about being awakened, as though it were all my fault. The martyr’s role added an additional incongruous note.

Through the open passenger’s window I tried to say something intelligible on the order of, “You needn’t have come out in the first place.”

And away I toddled, trying to steady the 50D during the next few shots.

Indeed, I’m taking pictures of garbage!

Written by baggyparagraphs

July 16, 2009 at 1:38 am


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