Welcome To The Neighbourhood, JackassAugust 15, 2009
Over the past week, let’s see … the temperatures hit 30-plus degrees, with accompanying superhumidity. My street was dug up for days as the ditches were deepened and widened, meaning I lost a few feet of front yard. The house air conditioning failed. The van air conditioning failed. Then the van died. A year’s worth of Twitter updates disappeared. I’m broke and out of work and things are looking bleak, and the G.I. Joe movie turned out to be a bowlful of suck.
On a positive note, I finally got rid of the dead skunk I’ve had sealed and stored since the spring. I won’t get into the specifics of the whole sordid mess; you can search for “skunk” in my search area down below for more on that. Let me put it this way: if I had known four months ago that all I had to do was shovel the stupid thing onto the road, I would’ve done that.
We made it a week without a dead skunk. This morning, there was a new one. This time, it was on the street, right at the foot of my driveway, smack in the middle of the northbound lane. The kids and I gathered on the front porch and looked at it.
- “Are you going to go get it, Daddy?”
- “No, the city’ll pick it up.” That’s the way it works here. If it’s on my land, I have to pay for its removal, and there are laws governing how that’s done. If it’s on the street, the city will pick it up for nothing. Works for me. I sipped my coffee and we went inside to watch SpongeBob.
I decided to wait a couple of hours to call the city, because I don’t like negotiating the complexities of Saturday voicemail, and I figured one of my neighbours would likely call first. Wait, I should tell you about my neighbours.
- As you may know, we live in the second-last house on the last street in town. A few hundred yards north and you’re in farmland. Behind us, there’s about a mile or so to fast-food alley. But you wouldn’t know it from my yard. Across the street, there are about half a dozen sprawling ranch-style houses, single-storey 70s homes occupied by retirees. We have an uneasy truce: they stare at us while we’re having water-gun fights outside our little white house, and I mow the lawn shirtless, flexing, while they sip mint juleps while riding lawn tractors. It’s a tradeoff.
One of those houses has a new owner. He moved in a couple of weeks ago. And this morning, I caught him shovelling the dead skunk off the street and into my yard. My oldest son happened to be looking out the window. “Dad,” he said. “Someone’s getting the skunk.” Thinking it was the city, I stepped out onto my front porch and saw this broad-shouldered white-haired alpha dog hurl the carcass onto my grass, then turn and walk back to his own driveway, where two teenaged girls were waiting.
“Nice,” I called out. This is my standard response when confronted by idiots. I am particularly offended when I see guys over 60 wearing Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirts. Anyway, Mr. Shovel stopped in his driveway for a moment. I watched. My lovely lady joined me on the porch, and we gave them our best combined glare. We’re pretty good at it.
A moment later, he was back. This time, he scooped the carcass up with his shovel … and then buried it, right in front of my house, in the city’s newly dug ditch. Given that he dug for about thirty seconds, I would guess he buried it about six inches down. Do you know much about decomposition? About how animals decay in the wild? The crows would have that thing out of the dirt by nightfall, and skunk guts — including the smelly part — would be strewn all over my yard. We could already smell it.
Anyway, we called the city, and after some back-and-forthing, we got an answer. We had to confirm that the skunk was buried on city property; if the asshole had buried it on my property, there would have been nothing they could do, but because it’s on the city’s land, they’ll dig it up, dispose of it, and deal with him.
Here’s the best part: My lady decided to go knock on his door and ask him exactly where the body was buried (to send him a message; she’s like that). We knew he was home. His garage door was open, his car in the driveway, and, of course, we had seen him go in just a few minutes before. He wouldn’t answer. He was afraid. This is what happens when you dress like that. Did you see Gran Torino? At no time did Clint wear Abercrombie and Fitch.
We were gone for the rest of the day, so we don’t know how things unfolded, but I suspect he will be hearing from the city’s bylaw department at some point. So sad.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, Jackass.