“Somebody should call the city,” I said to my neighbor, Claudia, one morning as I encountered her out walking her dog and husband. I wasn’t too keen on making that call myself but my perception of Claudia was she had a lot of free time and was the perfect person to dig through all the bureaucracy involved in “calling the city.”
“Somebody should,” she said, putting the suggestion back on me. “And the most important thing, is to make clear that the occupants of that house are in violation of the zoning laws. Millie, no!”
Claudia pulled Millie her French Bulldog off my clogs, which the little beasty was licking like they were covered with meat juice.
“She can lick,” I said. “It’s actually kind of nice. The attention, I mean. Who, other than a dog, will lick your shoe?”
Claudia pulled harder on the leash and resumed her legal argument. “So, the rule is, you can only run a business out of your house if you have one employee. That means one extra car—not thirty—and you can’t have deliveries all day long like they do. It’s one delivery.”
Not only did she have time to call, she knew the law.
“The occupants of the house would seem to be in violation on both of those counts,” offered Claudia’s husband, Bob unnecessarily. At least I think his name is Bob.
“You got that right,” I said, agreeably.
But there was one thing I hadn’t mentioned and now seemed like good a time as any. “I’m annoyed with all the cars, sure. But I have to say they’re quiet inside that house. That’s the one good thing. Whatever is going on in there, in a way, it’s better than the all-night porn-shooting parties that we thought were going to happen. At least I can sleep.”
They both stared at me like I was the rudest, most inconsiderate person they’d ever met. Millie went back to licking my clogs.
“Of course, that’s not the point,” I said. “They’re breaking the law.”
“Right,” said Claudia. “So the next thing is to contact the city and tell them we have some law breakers. They’ll shut ‘em down.”
Bob nodded his agreement.
“I’d like to think it could be that simple,” I said, looking at them both with a mix of admiration and skepticism. Their enthusiastic optimism and belief in the effectiveness of government officials doing what was right was endearing but I couldn’t help feeling they were delusional if they believed our elected officials would do anything at all.