----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Becoming a Curmudgeon

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Becoming a Curmudgeon

I regret to say that I am well on my way to becoming a neighborhood curmudgeon, at the precocious age (well, precocious for a curmudgeon) of just 32.

Three things happened today to provoke my curmudgeonly response:

1.) My upstairs neighbors continue to run a cabinet refinishing business out of their garage. I actually think that I am justified in being a curmudgeon on this one. They are using a variety of toxic stains and shellacs, and I have seen them rinsing their paintbrushes directly over a drain that leads to the ocean. Also, HOA and city rules prohibit running such a business from a residential neighborhood. And finally, as someone whose lungs have collapsed and who has survived cancer, I don't think I should have to breathe their fumes every time I walk out my front door. However, I am apparently the only one bothered by their activities, so my complaint to the HOA has gone unanswered.

2.) When I came back from a walk today, there was a carpet cleaner working on the apartment upstairs. He had brought a child along with him (his son, perhaps), but the child had strewn a number of plastic toys all over the steps that lead to my unit and was playing on the steps. I had to pick my way around him and his toys. I shot the carpet cleaner a questioning look, but all I got was a hastily mumbled apology. Thankfully, the child cleaned up his toys and left in short order. Still, it annoyed me. Would you let your child play in someone else's front yard? I doubt it. So why let him play on someone else's steps?

3.) It was a warm evening, so we opened up the sliding doors leading to our patio to get some air circulation. I kept hearing hooting and hollering and strange yelps, but I couldn't figure out where they were coming from, and Mr. Pink was out running an errand. Finally, I walked out to the sidewalk that abuts our patio, and I saw four teenagers who had apparently decided that the sidewalk was their new hangout. I felt kind of bad for them because I know what it's like to want to hang out with your friends but have nowhere to go--I grew up in a town nicknamed "Slow-vato," after all--but I still didn't want them making so much noise. So, I told them to move along. To my surprise, they actually listened to me. There's a Starbucks and some other restaurants right across the street...I told them to go hang out there. At least that way, they wouldn't be making a ruckus right outside my patio.

In some ways, I'm sorry to be so crusty and curmudgeonly at such a young age, but at the same time, I just want some peace and quiet. Is that so much to ask?


  • At 3:29 PM, Anonymous A New Fan said…

    Be a curmudgeon! I think the way you handled the different situations you wrote about, was just fine. If people in a community do not speak up, the community gets a reputation for not caring, for ignoring questionable, boorish, or even thuggish behavior. The community watch program in my town told us that any area where trash remains un-removed is viewed as a good place to hang out for vagrants and/or criminals, whether petty or not-so-petty. So speaking up (gently but firmly) for the basic courtesies is an activity that is too often ignored, these days. As for the child incident, I applaud the carpet cleaner for getting the message and not telling you to 'go somewhere'; but I agree with you: it seems that letting the child set up in front of your door in the first place showed a lack of common sense, even if one does not place much stock in teaching manners. I would offer you one idea for your consideration: contact an attorney about your rights in regards to the toxic furniture business. You don't necessarily have to take any actions they tell you are available, but at least you will know what your rights are. And sometimes, just making those rights known to an HOA is enough to get the organization to change its attitude of neglect. Or you could just start your own business, say, collecting manure, and when the upstairs neighbors complain, you can offer to stop yours if they'll stop theirs! Best of luck,
    A new fan.


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