Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Clothesline

Green Acres is the place to be
farm livin' is the life for me...

The other day Fred told me about this guy who stumped into the Central Sannich municipal hall and started yapping about people hanging their clothes on the line to dry.

The jerk rolled up in a Cadillac. Ever notice how people who drive Cadillacs don't give a shit that you might have a ferry to catch, that you're not retired like them, that even after you do retire you're still going to have to work at some dumb-ass job as a janitor or store clerk.

Anyway, this guy steps up to the counter and starts ranting that his neighbour is airing her laundry on a clothesline right next to his property.

Yeah? So?

Well, in Oak Bay, where this guy has just moved from, they don't allow that kind of thing. There's a bylaw, see. Says you can't disturb your neighbours, block their views, or lower their property values by letting sheets, shirts and panties flap in the breeze.

If you aren't gonna do something about it, I wanna see the mayor, he says.

Once, when I was growing up in Montreal my Mum sent me out into the back lane to beat the dirt out of an old rug. I draped it over our clothesline and started whacking the bejeezez out of it. Whack! Whack! Whack! Our upstairs neighbour, who must have been watching her favorite soap or something, rushed out onto her back balcony and started shrieking about all the god-damned noise I was making.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

So Fred, being the closest thing to a mayor in the municipal hall that day, steps up to the counter and explains to this slicker that there's no bylaw forbiding people from hanging their laundry on a line to dry. There's nothing to be done about it.

Like hell!

A week later Fred has a woman sitting in front of his desk bawling. Says her neighbour, who's just moved to bucolic Central from hoity-toity Oak Bay, has taken exception to her hanging sheets and such on the line. Says he's been abusive and foul mouthed about it. Threatening even.

Then, last week, he starts burning stuff in a great big steel barrel right next to their back yard fence. The breeze blows embers and soot into her yard, which soils her freshly laundered linens. Some of her stuff's even been singed. When she asks him to stop the guy grins and pokes around in there, sending up more ash.

You've got to stop him, she wails.

But there's not much Fred can do. It's Central Sannich, see. Farm country. There's no law says a property owner can't burn leaves, twigs and such whenever he wants. How else do you get rid of the cuttings and trimmings from those great, big back yards.

And besides, Fred knows the guy she's pissed off at drives a Caddy, even if the lady hasn't mentioned it.

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