For those of you know me, my deepest sympathies. No seriously, for those of you who know me, you know 4 things for certain. I live on a street in a relatively secluded area. I share a driveway with my immediate neighbor. I don't like this neighbor. And, he has a gate. For the past 3 years, both he and his gate have been a source of amusement and disgust. When I first moved in, he had the property immediately surveyed - he explained this was merely to delineate the property boundaries. This was one of the 5 occasions where we have spoken. I'm not going to explain why we don't have cordial, neighborly relations. In fact, for the sake of this blog, I'll gladly admit that I'm a complete asshole and he's the greatest person in the world. Done.
Let's go back to our initial meeting 3 years ago. A few things stood out in my mind. He told me he was going to build a fence bewteen our yards because, "I knew Mrs. Allen (the former deceased owner of my house), but I don't know you." This just struck me as a bit hash and unpleasant. Then he reprimanded me for not knocking on his door and introducing myself when I first moved in. This made me think - shouldn't he be the one to knock on my door and bring me a cake or something. He basically concluded with the sentiment, "It's really quiet up here so if you mind your business, I'll mind mine." Let me be blunt. This guy ain't going to win any Neighbor of the Year awards. Anyway, that was fine with me because there's enough distance between our properties and we really don't need to be in constant contact and I have no interest in engaging him socially. That's my immediate neighbor.
Now I also have some other neighbors. Becky and Jake live right next to his precious gate at the bottom of the driveway. This couple and I have become good friends. They feed me, clothe me and bathe me. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the drift. I spend a great deal of time with these two and their mutual friends. Basically, knowing these two easily outweighs any of the misgivings I might have about gateman.
I've always thought that the gate itself was pretty lame.
A. We live in Wheeling, WV - is a gate necessary.
B. It makes it incredibly difficult for people to turn around.
C. It represents an obnoxious precedent for exclusion rather than inclusiveness. This suits him well, not me.
D. It adds an extra dimension of danger in the winter when the road is icy.
E. It's prone to breaking down.
F. He has it decorated with a wreath and lights during the holiday season.
Honestly, I could probably think of another 10 or so.
About a month ago, a tree fell on Becky and Jake's house. A section of the tree also fell near the gate and snapped the power line. Damage was pretty extensive. Well, gateman had a crew come and clear the street so we could get to our homes unabated by the "remains of monster tree." A nice and timely gesture. Well done. After that incident, the gate has remained open for a month straight. It hasn't closed since the incident. Why? Why? What convinced him to leave it open? Well... last night I was hanging with Jake and Becky (steak, twice baked potato and salad - a superior dining experience). I was a little buzzed last night - went golfing earlier and we were drinking a lot of wine. We started conversing about the gate and the odd property boundaries. We spoke about the split rail fence he erected so nobody could park near his lower property, how he had the mechaincal box bolted shut so nobody could manually open the gate, his Private Drive sign and the never-ending discussion about the infamous gate. Still, why has he left it open for the past month? We slowly started to unravel the historical tapestry of the gate, the drive and the property boundaries. See, I own a little sliver of property down near the gate. I've never really thought about it too much. I just know it's mine and that's the way the boundaries were drawn. From time to time, I'd go down with a weed wacker and clean it up a little. But for the most part, I've just wanted to avoid any issues with that little section of land. And I have no interest whatsoever in the maintenance of the gate.
Well, as I said, last night the wine was flowing and I had a biblical revelation of sorts, some kind of atheistic awakening. It all dawned on me at once.
I own his gate. For christ sakes, IT'S MY FUCKING GATE! The same gate I've mocked and ridiculed for 3 years - IT'S MINE, not his. I just never really thought about it.
A few years ago, I offered to pay half the expense for some of the deteriorated lighting on one of the pillars. He declined my offer and said he'd take care of it. I figured, that's cool. In actuality, he was testing me to see what I knew about the potential gate ownership issue. These past 3 years he's been hoping I didn't know, didn't care or just didn't want to claim ownership of the gate. So he gradually assumed the role of "Gate Guardian." With the recent cataclysmic events, he must be running scared. He's probably wondering if the jig is up.
Now here's the deal. Our street is scheduled to be paved by mid-October. My guess is that he's waiting for the tree debacle and paving issues to conclude and then he'll resume the regular assholic gately protocol. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my newfound knowledge. Personally, I'd never remove it. If it were up to me, I'd just leave it open all the time. I will tell you one thing though. If he puts his holiday wreath and Chirstmas lights on my gate, there will be fucking hell to pay. You have my word.
You might be asking yourself, "What if he reads this? What if he googles my name and this blog comes up? Saf, aren't you concerned about that?" C'mon, really. I would give neither two shits nor a flying fuck.