Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I've become the nosy neighbour rat fink

I feel a bit like Irene Cara in Fame, caught up in a situation out of my control where I just wanted to do the right thing.

We live on a dirty block. Aside from east coast people being generally dirty and littery, we also have a lot of students on our block who seem to be moving out on a quarterly basis and throwing everything out on to the sidewalk. There is also a strong wind that blows up from Mont-Royal and most of the garbage makes it about halfway up the block.

I try to keep my sidewalk and gutter clean and that of the sixplexes on either side of me. But in the spring, the street is pretty filthy and a lot of it is the snow-melting gravel and bits of glass that really need the street sweeper to clean up. It comes on the first Tuesday of every month, starting in April.

The problem is that people don't move their cars. And what's even weirder, for some reason, on our southern half of the block, they rarely get tickets. I come home from work and the northern half of the block is swept entirely, while our half is only swept in sections where the machine could find enough empty spaces to turn into. Many times, the space outside our place is one where someone has parked.

I was very excited for the first passing of the sweeper this spring and quite disappointed to come home and find that they had completely missed our section once again. And no tickets to be seen. So I called 3-1-1 the city hotline and she passed me on to the parking bureau, where I ratted out my neighbours. I feel like a heel. The parking authorities used to be one of my biggest enemies back in the Bay Area. I'd much rather be able to just communicate with the people and warn them ahead of time. Instead, they are going to leave their car there next month and get a ticket.

The thing is, this is probably for the best. What with the litter, the parked cars and the people not picking up after their dog, I am turning into a dense ball of civic fury and at some point I am going to explode and beat someone to death with a shovel and then stick their head, smeared in their own dog's feces, on to the antenna of some Nautilus Gym dork's car as a message to others. While perfectly justified in my own mind, I fear that society and the law would frown on such behaviour and I would ultimately come out the loser. So for now, I skulk and inform.


Mile-Ender said...

I'm sort of lucky on my street (L'Esplanade near Bernard) as there is not a smell lingering from sidewalk trash.

However, I feel your angst. The first two years I lived here was in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and on the street I lived sometimes there would be a odd putrid pee-meets-vomit smell that would float down our block.

Summer is coming so I can expand on the smells soon, but for now my street is not bad at all and having lived at my current pad (in the mile-end) since November I knock on wood that the air is odor free.

I grew up in the SF Bay Area, you too? Everywhere from Contra-Costa county to SF proper. Even Danville for a very short time. I think Berkeley had the worst smells but that was back in 1987-1988 when I lived next to People's Park (which is now and for years, Tennis Courts).


mare said...

Don't the street cleaner trucks come every week? (Or twice a week if you count both sides?)

OlmanFeelyus said...

@Mile-Ender. Wow, yes, I was born and raised in Oakland (near Broadway & College), moved away in my early teens and moved back to Berkeley in the college years. Fortunately, the only strong smell we tend to get in the summer on our street is the wafts of weed smoke on Sundays coming off the Tam-Tam, which isn't too bad! :)

@Mare, you might be right. I need to double check. I may be being overly pessimistic. If it's weekly, that is great.