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The Time Is Right To Fight

For a few weeks I felt a burning desire to smash everything to bits. It was the one-two punch of car problems plus my court date with the neighbors, and then finding out my son’s charter school would be moving again. Stressor upon stressor upon stressor! I’ve gone on at length about the car and school business, but haven’t mentioned the court date here in detail. Now that was one helluva morning. First off, I had to arrange for my son to be elsewhere, as he doesn’t have school on Fridays and usually hangs out with me while I work from home. Thankfully a friend was able to take him (and he had a blast with her son). My folks offered to join me in the courtroom for moral support, and to give me a ride. I barely slept a wink the night before and drank tea instead of coffee in the morning so I wouldn’t be too jittery when facing the judge. We arrived early and checked in. The judge/referee outlined procedure to those in attendance and ticked off a common sense list of To-Dos and Not-To-Dos. He first reviewed cases where only the plaintiff had appeared. Thankfully there were only a few, which he blew threw quickly. Then our case was second in line. I approached the bench with my neighbor and we were sworn in together. As plaintiff he spoke first while I quietly waited. I was taken aback by just how frantically he railed against the EVIL of my black walnut trees and their AWFUL fruit (c’mon, it’s not like it’s a stinky durian tree). But this is a man who has paved over almost all of his property. Not exactly one-with-nature. He even brought along a plastic baggie full of walnut shells which he rattled in the judge’s face. And he displayed a stack of photos…of more walnut shells in his driveway. After years of telling me I should cut down my trees entirely the guy finally gave in and had some budget tree company trim the branches over the property line. And then sued me in an attempt to have me reimburse him for the cost of the tree trimming, plus the conciliation court filing fee. Really now? When it was my turn to defend myself I very calmly reiterated that, my understanding of property law - as told to me by a city employee and an attorney - was that everyone is responsible for the airspace above their own property. This means there was nothing stopping my neighbor from cutting down whatever branches were hanging over the line onto his side. I have no duty to protect his property for him (or to protect him from scary walnut shells). After a week and a half of waiting I found out that the judge, and the law, agreed with me. This is a HUGE relief.

One friend made a tempting suggestion but no, I’m not about to yell “get bent” through a megaphone at the neighbors. I am irritated that I had to waste a vacation day to deal with this in court, not to mention the toll the stress has taken on me. And I’ve always been disappointed by the rudeness and outright hostility of the neighbors toward me and my son. It almost seems fitting that I came across the Paris 1919 documentary this morning. How do you make peace when all you want is revenge? But really, I don’t want revenge. I just want to be left alone. Which is all I’ve ever wanted.

This arrived in the mail today.

Bonus: Mizna’s 6th Annual Arab Film Festival opens tomorrow at The Heights Theatre.
Plus: This Sunday, March 14th go out to eat! It’s the Fork the Fire benefit. “There’s nothing like the power of food to bring everyone together.
That’s why over 80 restaurants will rise up in force to help Heidi’s and Blackbird - two Twin City restaurants that lost everything recently during a tragic fire in south Minneapolis.”
And: A band I enjoy but have yet to see live is playing next week. A Place To Bury Strangers will be in First Ave’s main room next Thursday, March 18th, opening for The Big Pink…who are, apparently, some sort of big deal. *shrugs*


  1. gwen wrote:

    I need a megaphone for our neighbors. that’s hilarious. congratulations on BEING RIGHT.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  2. Sharyn wrote:

    Heehee. Thanks!

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

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