To those of you who live nearby … (and others who might be jealous of how the other-half actually lives)!
Some of you are likely very delightful people and perhaps if you knew me better, you might think the same of me. However, there are some of you located near (and around) where I live that for some reason, have absolutely no idea why our city, has a By-Law department. This department has been established to reinforce and assist our city with issues of real concern to the taxpayers.
It is possible that you and I differ on what could be considered a real issue. I have never called “By-Law”… on anyone, in my life. Perhaps I might be tempted too, if I worried about my children being eaten because someone has decided to adopt a wolf and pass it off as a dog and allow the critter to run loose in the local playground. Or… should I discover that the party music next door is still in full decibel, well into the wee hours after midnight, for the tenth night in a row. This after I have (several times) politely requested the party-goers to respect the noise curfew. Although, in reality that would only amount to being tempted to potentially look up the “By-Law” number to keep as a handy reference for “next” time.
There are some things you may want to consider BEFORE you call “By-Law.”
If I have a half-dozen bicycles on my property, it does not necessarily mean that I am running a hot, stolen bike ring. It could actually mean that my larger-than-average family has numerous biking enthusiasts residing within our abode. If you happen to see one of my kid’s bikes, on the street, there is no need to also call the police and report that you have found stolen property. (Really? What? Stolen from the alleged bike fence I am running 10 feet away on our lawn?). This required me booking a week-day off work, to go down to the main clearing house, (located at the opposite end of town), to reclaim, after proving ownership of same (once I turn the entire house upside down to locate the original receipt) not to mention dealing with the distressed kid whose bike got “turned in.”
Celebrations and holidays are celebrated with family and friends visiting…usually identified by the doorbell ringing. My neighbors celebrate my every breath by calling the “By-Law” officer. I love that I am surrounded by such support. In life, there are things that happen to all of us. Sometimes one’s pet pooch can make a jail break and be running around on the streets WITHOUT immediately rendering me an incompetent pet owner. Nor does ownership of a large dog necessarily mean that ALL barking in the neighborhood is emanating from my property.
A car I have removed tires and brakes from (to fix my other car with) will be momentarily heading to the recycling department. This does not mean I have opened a car repair depot on my driveway, and you, the faithful can expect inconvenience as customers line up and down the streets waiting for undercover car repairs. I will admit the vehicle is less pretty on blocks; however, that is to keep it from moving (i.e. running over small children). Not really sure how you even viewed the vehicle as it is parked way in the back behind my other vehicles. The car in question is significantly safer on blocks than sitting poised to roll down the driveway. In fact, I am not sure how anyone could have gotten far up enough on the property to view the end of the driveway (undetected by the rest of us) to notice all these details.
But then coming up my driveway, (once you trip over all the kids’ toys) is nothing new to the neighborhood peeps. Some well-meaning soul alerted “By-Law” that I was moonlighting as a garbage collector at the side of my home. (??) I, too, collect family refuse in hopes of participating in garbage day (another city service)…but with the numbers here it is not just ever one bag.
Running the family that I do, we are basically a small institution. In having said that, there should be some understanding among the faithful in my neighborhood that some of these “infractions” are actually just little things that occasionally happen, perhaps more often than they might in smaller families. No one intends to upset anyone else because of allowing one’s kids to park their bikes on the driveway, or play with sidewalk chalk or Heaven-forbid…lay interlocking brick.
The attention I receive from the “By-Law” department is second-to none. My attentive neighbors seem to overlook that perhaps with the number of family members living together, there are a dozen more times my door opens (per day) as kids race in and out, providing the family pooch with endless fantasies of freedom. The dog manages to get out every once in a while, so if you have all this time to summon “By-Law” then why not help me locate the pooch? If you call “By-Law” and report the supposed stolen bike ring, then surely no need to make a separate call to the police and have them remove a little boy’s bike found less than 20 feet away from the alleged stolen bike sale. A car parked one hour longer on the street enabling little girls the space on the driveway to decorate with sidewalk chalk. Ohhh another NO-NO…“By-Law” came to visit on that occasion too (by the way the city official LOVED the kid’s artwork!).
My best friend visits with her dog and within the hour…you guessed it…“By-Law” is at my door. For those of you who keep this city office in the loop, I would like to know how you are always so on top of my every move. Surely there are By-Laws against peeping Toms and STALKERS. I will find you!!! (Don’t be too worried that I will hunt you down immediately as by the time I have the dog tied up, the garbage hidden, the cars parked in the driveway, the bicycles locked in the garage…I will be too exhausted to bother!)
Calls have included; grass not as short as some would like, children’s toys in the driveway, an excessive number of bikes (more than 1?) all over my driveway, vehicle imperfections (albeit undergoing some repair) as the car is older and perhaps not appreciated by the natives. The interlocking bricks that were awaiting the landscaper, had to be covered for a day, and then covered again while they were being laid on the patio so as not to offend the “By-Law” patrons.
I pay taxes too. I expect By-Law to enforce laws that are important. I also would not dream of calling “By-Law” on anyone unless I simply had to have the situation remedied, and it would need to be a serious matter. This made me wonder what other laws exist in other areas of the planet so that I can appreciate what other poor-devil-By-Law-officers must contend with in other lands. This list is quite entertaining; I can assure all of you I have not attempted (yet) any of the following. However, rest assured that should I even contemplate such an activity I will likely be carted off to the city jail. Given the bigger items I have to deal with every day, in real life…perhaps a break, at taxpayer’s expense, in the city jail is what I truly deserve.
Dear By-Law informer I have yet to stoop to these infractions (however…there is always tomorrow):
- In Washington State, it is against the law to boast that one’s parents are rich. (No danger of this one…my kids would be lying!)
- In Alabama it is illegal to play Dominoes on Sunday. (It should be illegal to recognize Dominoes as the only food group!)
- In Minneapolis, double-parkers can be put on a chain gang.
- In 1313, King Edward II enacted that “You are forbidden from dying in parliament.”
- An old statute in Kentucky states that men who push their wives out of bed for inflicting their cold toes on them can be fined or jailed for a week.
- A 100-year-old law in Willowdale, Oregon makes it illegal to swear during sex. (WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHO REPORTS THIS ONE!)
- An odd law in Minnesota makes it illegal to hang male and female underwear on the same washing line.
- In Melbourne, Australia it is illegal for men to parade in strapless dresses – but they are allowed to cross-dress in anything with sleeves.
- An old law in Russia allows a police officer to “beat a peeping tom soundly.” (SHOULD YOU NOT BE CALLING By-Law FIRST??)
- In Texas, two categories of men are exempt from peeping tom charges: men over 50 and men with only one eye.
- A pregnant woman can urinate anywhere she wishes, including a policeman’s helmet, according to a London local by-law.
- But in Vermont, women require their husband’s permission to wear false teeth.
- In Virginia, horses of more than one year old are prohibited in a place of worship. (Get it right when you report it …a very LARGE dog!)
- In Tennessee, shooting any game other than whales from a moving automobile is against the law.
- In Oklahoma you could be sent to prison for “making an ugly face at a dog.”
This is where I will restrain myself admirably and not make ANY ugly faces at any of my neighborhood peeps.
The Garden GOAT
(ssshhh By-Law does not know a GOAT lives here!)