06 April 2009

I'm sorry our collective water pipe broke.

Originally, I wanted to write an angry rant about how childish some of our neighbors are. And by some, I really mean one family.

Anyway, how about some background? On 1 Mar 2009 (around noon), there was a landslide near my house. As it turns out, the waterpipe under that earth had burst which was probably the cause for all that dirt-pushing. Aside from the immediate consequences of being evacuated from our house and our next door neighbor's family losing their backyard, the top 75% of our neighborhood was without running water until 13 Mar 2009. Obviously, for those days in-between, tensions were running high because of the following issues and concerns:

1. What caused the pipe to burst? Was it the landslide? Or did the pipe burst and cause the landslide? Basically, was it pipe burst->landslide or landslide->pipe burst->more landslide?
2. Based on (1), who was then responsible? Our family for not maintaining the land properly? Or the pipe, leading to:
3. Who's in charge of the pipe's maintenance?
4. Obviously, no running water within that time meant that cooking, cleaning, and showering were all difficult propositions.

For some of our neighbors, particularly those who are new and/or don't know us, it was easy to lose track the situation in the "fog of war." And when your quality of life is directly impacted, it's easy to blame us (the Chens) as somehow having caused the whole situation. I mean, most people I know feel better about a shitty situation if they have someone to blame. Now, take that anger and then imagine that the Chens are trying to get the entire neighborhood to collectively pay for the repairs? Yeah, you'd probably be pissed.

So I, as this impacted family, would probably want some words with the Chens. I would also probably want the contractors doing the clean-up and repairs to work longer hours and more days (around the clock would be nice) -- I mean, come on, I'm suffering right? Who cares about anyone else. My suffering is also more pronounced than any of the other neighbors, so I have a right to bitch and whine.

I would also probably demand that the Chens organize a meeting between the neighbors and the contractors to dictate the terms of the repair work. So that's what I say to Mrs. Chen. She says, okay, I'll organize the contractors and you organize the neighbors. So that's what I do, except the only people I bring along are (concidentally) the other families who are of the same race as me. Yeah, that's subtle. I'm guessing I also am from an earlier or more primitively simple time when all arguments arose and were dealt with along racial lines.

Anyway, back to the present and as myself, Andrew Chen. Today, the neighbors came over for a sit-down to discuss the situation. That same neighbor started making subtle and not-so-subtle threats. I would consider them idle and silly (but nonetheless irritating) threats. My friends have proposed four response strategies:

1. Ozan: maybe you should "accidentally" let them catch you cleaning your gun.

This is basically invoking the over-protective father idea. So, in the future, say I have a daughter. Say there's a boy who asks her out and comes by the house to pick her up. I'm probably spying on my daughter's communications, so I know in advance that this is happening. I then decide to clean my shotguns near the front door as the boy walks in. "Oh," I'd say, "I wasn't expecting visitors. But since you're here, why don't you look down this shotgun barrel and tell me if it's clean or not?" Oh, and watch as I reload my shotgun really fast... in case I use up all of the rounds in my magazine and I just really need four more rounds to shoot at someone.

In reality, I don't think I'd do that out of some need to be protective; I assume if my daughter was of my blood, she's probably more than capable of taking care of herself. I would still do it though... only because I enjoy awkward situations AND I could say that I was "making memories!"

2. Ethan: you should seriously march into that meeting and play the angry son rebuking your neighbor and the ubsurdity of his/her claim

This seems more reminiscent of Six Feet Under's Nate Fisher. I think you'd have to see the show to get what I mean. To be fair, I haven't watched the show recently nor in its entirety, so I could be completely wrong.

3. Albert: if you convince them your family is crazy they won't fuck with you

This is perhaps my most favorite suggestion, if only because it invokes in me Tyler Durden's confrontation with Lou of Lou's Tavern. The hilarity ensues around 1:29 but doesn't really make my point until 2:12. Albert also suggested that this be followed by running in to the meeting room naked after having taken a shower.

4. Pat: invite over some black people to your house somewhat frequently for the next few weeks. the neighbors will leave you alone.

I assume that Pat made this suggestion because he has accurately surmised that my neighborhood has no black people in it. I also assume that the one family we seem to be having problems with are essentially of the bully mindset, and have no real idea of what they're doing. They're also close-minded.

Vote on what you think I should do!


cs268ozan hat gesagt…

I, a completely anonymous and unbiased commenter who is in no way one of the idea suggesters, am inclined to recommend suggestion number 1. And really, it wouldn't take too much work to extend number 1 to number 3.

Hau hat gesagt…

I also vote for #1. HANDS DOWN.