Now this isn’t work related as such but it had to go somewhere so it’s here. It’s riddled with profanity so turn back now if swear words offend you.
The following event actually happened. It was a thing that occurred in the realm of reality we all share. But before I share details of the incident and the letter I felt compelled to write as a result of the aforementioned incident let me provide some background information. I don’t want you thinking, “ahh he’s just a bonkers old man”, when he’s more than that, he’s a massive twat for a variety of reasons.
When I say “he” I’m referring to Roger next door, in fact, I’ve since found out his first name is actually Cedric, but he’s clearly chosen to use Roger out of embarrassment, so let’s be sure to call the arsehole Cedric at every available opportunity.
I’ve lived in my current house for 4 years. It’s a modest bungalow, quiet cul-de-sac, surrounded by retired people. Ordinarily it’s free of excitement and fuss.
Cedric is retired and spends most of his time in his garden trimming his lawn with a pair of nail scissors. His garden is showcase standard. Mine in comparison looks a bit shabby but nevertheless I mow the lawn, I hack back the hedges and stop it looking untidy for the sake of the neighbourhood.
We’re good neighbours to have, no mess, no noise, no smells and no ritualistic sex orgies.
Anyway my relationship with Cedric has always been ‘polite’, Cedric says “nice weather”, I say “lovely”, that kind of thing. We once had a conversation about Brighton where he said “we don’t like it anymore, it’s been ruined by the gays”. That made me want to call him a “homophobic prick” but I didn’t, I just vowed to keep interaction to a minimum from there on in.
Prior to that conversation there were also discussions about how he hates windfarms and ‘doesn’t bother’ with recycling. He’s also racist and pretty horrible to his wife. You’re getting the picture… he’ll probably be voting UKIP.
I reverse my car on to the drive but leave the front of the car sticking out into the very quiet, spacious cul-de-sac. Approximately 26cm of the car protruding into a 3m wide road. You see the arsehole that drew up the plans for the bungalow didn’t consider the fact that cars have doors, so in order for me to get out of my car I have to stop short of the fence.
As I walk in the house I hear the word “TWAT” shouted loudly from outside.
It was one of those moments when you think “did I actually hear that?” I peered outside and saw nothing and heard no more.
Ten minutes later I’m in my garage tinkering with my pushbike and I hear what can only be described as a rant. “I’m surrounded by fucking idiots, that fucking twat parking like that again”.
Now, I’m all for an easy life but even I can’t ignore that, so I respond “Roger, I couldn’t help but overhear that, are you calling me an idiot?” he replies; “er, no, just everyone else”, “oh right” I say, “and what about the fucking twat, who was that?”, “well okay yes I was talking about you”, “is there a problem? Can I come round there to talk to you about it?”, “YES, GET ROUND HERE”.
I walk round and I’m faced with a very angry old man, red faced, clenched fists, he points at the side gate “get in there” he says clearly trying to limit the exposure of the exchange.
Now I’m crap in situations of confrontation but, as a matter of fact, I couldn’t really say much anyway, I was just pummelled with a verbal assault “why the fuck do you park like that?”, “you live like a fucking child”, “you’re a prat, nothing but a prat” “you live in a dirty shit hole” etc.
Halfway through the attack his wife came out and had to physically stop him from punching me, at which point she suggested I should leave. Now as I didn’t fancy the embarrassment of being knocked out by an old age pensioner I obliged and as I walked off up the drive he shuffled out in his crocs and, with clenched fist aloft, shouted “BASTARD”. It was wondrous. I wish I’d filmed it.
The whole thing was quite baffling. One could argue I am, on occasion, a bit of a prat and also have been a twat from time to time, but there’s no way I’m a bad neighbour.
So I wrote a letter. I’ve not posted it, but I want to. Those who have read it say I should just let it go. And so, I am asking the internet to read it and offer their views.
After having a few days to reflect on the incident on Saturday, I am still unable to make any sense of it. I probably feel a bit like my Nana did after watching Lost in Translation.
As far as I can tell, you, a seventy year old adult man, essentially called me a twat, an idiot, a child, a prat and a bastard for three reasons:
- How I park my car on my drive.
- How I maintain my garden and the exterior of my home; and
- How I choose to live my life.
First of all I should point out that none of these points are your concern, particularly item three, mainly because you’re not my father, at least I don’t think you are. I’ll ask my Mum but let’s assume you’re not.
Despite these things not being any of your business I still feel compelled to respond.
As I tried explaining during our lovely little chat, the reason I do, on occasion, park my car so the driver’s door is in front of the fence is simply to allow myself to get out of the car. If you genuinely were involved in the design and build of these bungalows, as you once told me, you only have yourself to blame. You clearly overlooked the fact that cars have outward opening entry and exit points called ‘doors’ or perhaps you were convinced Sir Clive Sinclair’s C5 would be an outstanding success? If you’d stopped shouting and covering me in tiny droplets of saliva for approximately 12 seconds you would’ve heard my simple explanation.
I don’t like gardening. If I’m being honest I’d rather scrape dog muck out of the sole of a shoe with a complex tread pattern than mow a lawn and yet every week or so I’m out there with my flymow pacing up and down whilst thinking about harnessing the power of electric eels or similar. I do it to keep the landlord happy. I also clean things, paint things, fix things and, you know, do things to stop neighbours getting cross. I’m obviously now incredibly pleased I committed the time to such activities and didn’t instead, go to the pub or repeatedly punch myself in the face.
I dread to think how you would react to a bad neighbour, one who didn’t mow his lawn for months, someone who sold illicit drugs from his doorstep or left rusted white goods in his/her front garden. Or perhaps a neighbour who shouted “TWAT” at you at the top of his voice because he didn’t like your parking.
You also spoke of me living like a child. I can only assume this stems from me having hobbies like surfing and cycling and not the fact I have been building a to-scale Duplo® elephant in the spare room. The reality is I like to live a balanced life; my priority is my family, then work, then my hobbies, then lots of other things like dressing up as a kinky archer and then, somewhere right down the list, is property maintenance. I find this hierarchy allows me to live a somewhat happy, fulfilling existence, if it’s considered childish to some then so be it.
Surely living a life of mundane routine where one obsessed over the length of blades of grass or washed his car after every drive would be imbalanced and could make a man prone to irrational outbursts of uncontrollable anger.
You also called me a prat. The definition of this is; “an incompetent or stupid person; an idiot”.
You’ve made this judgement based on trivial things like the frequency of my lawn mowing or polite conversations about weather, the fact is I’m far from stupid, I once came 3rd in the Norway Inn quiz and have a 2/2 university degree.
You’ll also recall; at no point during our encounter did I rise to your abuse, even when you attempted to get me to relocate to a different part of your garden so you could attack me with your fists. This had nothing to do with me being terrified of a violent old man, it was purely because I’m aware that we live in a close-knit neighbourhood where the walls have eyes and ears. Who’s the prat now Cedric?
Of course it would probably be unreasonable of me to take matters further for what happened on Saturday despite not receiving a grovelling apology. There is clearly an underlying issue causing such irrationality and anger but know this; If I find myself at the end of any insulting, abusive and/or threatening language again, I will call the police and under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 you could potentially find yourself being issued a £5,000 fine or even serving a 6 month custodial sentence for similar conduct. There’s no gardening in prison Cedric, there’s no Kia to drive hastily to B&Q, just big hairy prats with an insatiable appetite for OAP bum holes.
The irony is, I am very reasonable, fair and amenable and if you’d approached me in a friendly and polite manner and asked me to avoid parking at the end of the drive for no other reason than it bothered you, I probably would’ve done, but I’m not going to be bullied Cedric, that ended in year 10 when Martin Wakeling moved to Northwich.
The good news is we’ll probably be moving out in the next few months, your little outburst has left an underlying feeling of discomfort in our home. So, in some unjust way, your bullying has worked. I just hope Karma ensures the next tenant is a homosexual environmental campaigner who likes loud parties, hates gardening and has ten roaming cats with diabolically loose bowels.
Dan (The “prat” from next door).