I'm Not A Nice Lady
Four years ago this neighborhood was quaint. Grid like roads, lined by charming houses marked by the styles of past decades, shaded by trees from another time. The roads were quiet, only a few cut through when rush hour demanded it. Children placed their hoops along the roads, as the evening hours called for a quick game with Dad. The light posts are withered, covered with patches of dried moss and the galvanized steel had seen brighter days.
I considered this neighborhood to be perfect. In my own eyes, I see a juxtaposition between its realities. It is not a secret that Palo Alto is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. One would assume that the style of life in this quaint town is one of convenience and many luxuries. What I found, however, is that life carried on in a sincere and honest way. The many fruit trees naturally provide gifts for the neighbors. The temperate climate brings home life to the outside. The proximity of the property lines forces almost intimate relations with your neighbor. Hearing marital fights, flushing toilets and nighttime showers certainly provides more insight than considered comfortable for some. Laundry is gladly hung on a twine between century old trees and aired to dry in the California sun. Garages are used for living, and the roads were used for parking.
I had never lived in a place again where street parking was needed since my childhood in Germany. I related this *feature* to the small town feel of Langen (my town I grew up in), where children kicked soccer balls with their dads in the evening hours, laundry was hung outside and errands were run by bike. There were no fruit trees, but neighbors asked for flour, or eggs, or milk. In Palo Alto, we ask for lemons, tomatoes, persimmons, kumquats and figs. The years passed with no change in sight. Until one morning. Brand new galvanized posts were installed. One every 50 yards. The signs were still covered in white trash bags and taped shut. I’m not one to follow local news, but this worried me. What was about to happen around every single road in this quaint town that required multiple new posts?
“They are implementing parking zones for the techies that work in Palo Alto.”
“They are what? Parking? Here? Permits? Resident Permits? And then what….they walk to work?”
Before I knew it, my darling road, turned into a parking lot. Bumper to bumper the cars lined up, like squeezing a fat-filled muffin top into skinny jeans. It repulsed me. Each morning starting at 5:30 am, my road now wakes me up. My bedroom window is like a gate to the outside world. It is always open, after all, we live in California. 4 years ago it was only the sound of my neighbor's kids crying, and birds and squirrels rambunctiously waking me at ungodly hours. Now the sound of slamming doors, squeaking breaks, and early morning phone calls disrupt my peace. Can’t they simply just be disruptive in their tech jobs?
One Morning I had enough. Every day, the same 90s style SUV parks within a centimeter of my ten-foot long driveway. Each time I pull out with my car, I risk getting hit. This is my sidewalk, my growing Magnolias, whose leaves it hits every morning. So as I got ready to walk my greyhound, I grabbed the scissors. I wanted to shed the road of the muffin-top and restore its slim lines. Scissors seemed like a good tool to trim the excess fat with. I put my shoes on, followed the hound through the gate, bend down to tie my laces, only to pull out my scissors and slice the tire.
“Ahhhh….that’s better…..ok Juliette, let’s go on our morning walk.”