Sunday, January 4, 2009

How Far Should I Go For A One-Finger Neighbor?

Perhaps I should explain the term. My dad maintains that there are levels of neighbors; when driving down your street, people may be out watering plants or washing cars or yelling at kids who have just knocked over the mailbox with their bikes, right? With your hands at the 2 and 10 o'clock positions, you can acknowledge the people you don't know that well with your pointer finger upraised. The ones whose names you know, whom you may have spoken with during a blackout or while the men are in the street looking up at the sky and discussing it when the tornado sirens are going off, deserve a two-finger wave. The neighbors that have actually been in your house for a football game and reciprocated with a barbeque get the whole hand.

Well, I have some One-Finger neighbors that have the most obnoxious dogs on the face of the earth. Seriously, I'd rather deal with the turkey-stealing Bumpus hounds from A Christmas Story. One is a Heinz 57 mix of Akita, Chow, and Satan; the other is a Napoleonic Dachsund. We have leash laws in our town, which are obeyed about as frequently as you think they are, and these dogs Own. The. Street.

When they are let out for a potty break (there's no fences in the back yards) the owners just stand there on the porch and hope for the best. If you happen to be out, the Dachsund will zero in on you like a tiny black yapping missile. He'll completely ignore the shouts of his people and run at you full speed until he reaches your leg, whereupon he quivers and growls. It's like facing a small junkie on a bad trip.

The other one is slower and not as loud, but he will stand about five feet away and stare at you. I kid you not, he'll just stare at you. Spookiest thing I've ever seen. The owners are pretty good about coming right over to take the dogs home, but just once I'd like to go out and get my mail without spying the land for hostiles first.

My little diva can be annoying; she hates big dogs, cats, and squirrels and she'll be all Barky McYipperson if the wind blows hard. But when I take her out I have her on a leash, a plastic baggie for her mess, and I don't let her bark very long. If she does manage to intrude on someone's rose bush, I apologise and try not to go past that yard again. But these One-Fingers? "I'll be right there. You better not move."

No. You'd better get a chain. If that Black Terror hallucinates that my leg is a big Milk Bone, or if your spook sacrifices a chicken on my front porch, I'll feel free to give you a different kind of one finger salute.


StarvingWriteNow said...

snort... Barky McYipperson...

If your community has leash laws and the dogs are coming on your property, you have every right to call the local warden/police/whoever and have them cited. It wouldn't make for best friends, but if they are concerned about their animals biting someone or something, they need to be a bit more proactive (or they need a swift kick to get them in gear).

Good luck, dear. And happy new year!

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