Frank and his wife moved into the house next door to me about ten years ago. I guess they were in their early fifties. She was attractive and always well dressed. She would smile and waive but was not much of a talker. He looked like he was part of the cast of a movie about the Mafia. In his presence I always felt that violence was just beneath the surface. He had a strong New Jersey accent and talked like a tough guy. The main subjects of his conversation were how tough and how talented he was.
One day about a month after they had moved in Frank told me he was getting a dog, so he was going to install a chain link fence between our back yards extending down to the lake, and along his lake shore to his other neighbor’s yard so that they could let the dog out in the yard . There was already a wood fence covering about a third of our boundary coming as far as a line paralleling the front of my house and the beginning of my driveway. He said that he was also going to extend the wood fence to the sidewalk and along the sidewalk parallel to his house, then to the midpoint of his house. Since his lot was a corner lot and his house faced the other street this would give him a large fenced in back yard.
This map shows how the lots are laid out.
I was pleased about the proposed fencing in the back of my property, but not about the high wood fence at the front. I had enjoyed the open view. I told him so. But I also told him that it was his property and in my opinion he could do as he wanted to do with it – I wouldn’t object to his plan. So, Frank went ahead and installed his fences.
One evening shortly thereafter my doorbell rang and there was Frank, red faced and obviously very upset. Before I could utter a word he screamed: “I know you’re the Fucker who did it!”
Naturally, I said: “Did what?”
He then loudly explained that he’d been fined by the city for installing his fence without a permit, and also that he had to retroactively apply and pay for the permit; and that when he had asked who had reported it, he was told only that it was a close neighbor; and so he knew I was the one. Of course he threw in quite a few “Fucks” , “Fuckers” and “Fuckings” for emphasis.
Now, I’m not one to lose my cool – ever. In most cases that is an advantage in a confrontation, because the other person eventually realizes that he is the only one being loud and acting irrationally and begins to cool down. But, there are some people that only become more enraged. Frank was one of them.
I very calmly told Frank that I did not report him to the city; that I had told him before he even started the fence that I wasn’t pleased but that it was his property and he could do what he wanted and I wouldn’t object. I said that I wasn’t that kind of a person, and further, I didn’t know that he hadn’t applied for a permit, and he should realize that I wasn’t his only close neighbor.
All the while I was talking, Frank was getting redder in the face and was shaking. I was concerned that he might have a stroke right there in my doorway. But he didn’t. Instead he screamed that he didn’t care what I said, he knew I was the one – with several more “F” words inserted. Then he suddenly turned and headed back to his house shouting that he wasn’t Fucking going to forget it.
Thus ended our love affair! 😥
It was just a minor incident, but there would be more to come.