I had dinner last night with my cousin-in-law, and he and I had a discussion about how the older we get the less patience we have for stupid people. Lately, I seem to be surrounded by stupid people. Either there are more of them around, or my stupid-person sensor is extra sensitive these days.
Our neighborhood listserv is filled with stupid people. People who make me yell, "Don't you have anything better to do??!!" at my computer. I think the heat of summer is making the stupid people even stupider. I'm ready to move.
Last summer, the listserv was filled with complaints about non members, misbehaving teenagers, loud music, vandalism and trash at the pool. "Why doesn't the management company do something about this?" people asked. So this summer, the management company hired a pool monitor to make sure everyone signs in, keep the place neat and prevent teenagers from acting too much like punks. Within 24 hours, there was a note on the listserv complaining about the Nazi pool monitor. I think that has to be a record.
Apparently this particular resident didn't like that Jason the super-friendly pool Nazi dared to tell him that glass isn't allowed on the pool deck. The complaints flowed from this point on. Everyone posted things that the pool monitor did or said that they didn't like. It was insane. It also turns out that several members of our neighborhood threatened the pool monitor with physical harm. Charming.
At this point, the moderator stepped in and shut down the thread. Peace reigned for about a week, at which point people started complaining about rude teen-agers ding-dong ditching. Each time someone had their doorbell rung, the person would post the time and date to the listserv. One could argue that the continual e-mails were more annoying that kids playing pranks. But I'd never dare suggest such a thing to this group.
While we were in Atlanta, a listserv announcement arrived with the subject ROBBERY IN HIGHPOINTE! There have been reports of smash and grabs in neighborhoods out here lately - a "cable" truck pulls up in front of a house, the door gets kicked in, and all the electronics disappear. This is what I expected based on the subject line of the e-mail.
Sometime after 10pm the night before, someone had snuck into this resident's yard and stolen 6 - SIX - of their solar-powered landscaping lights. But ha! the joke was on the thieves because they broke two of the lights in the process of yanking them out of the yard. In all likelihood, some bored punk-ass teenagers had yanked the lights out and run off with them. This was not a crime warranting an ALL CAPS e-mail.
The resident then went on to inform everyone on the listserv that she owned a gun and had every intention of exercising her second amendment rights should any criminals set foot in her yard again. Then came the chorus of "me too" e-mails where other residents begged crooks to make their day.
I was thisclose to wading in to the thread to point out that a. the 2nd amendment doesn't give you the right to shoot people who walk into your yard, and b. I wasn't so sure I wanted to live in a neighborhood where amateur Dirty Harrys were going to shoot my kids for chasing their ball into the wrong yard. But then I remembered that it's a bad idea to poke the crazy and deleted my draft.
From there, the threat devolved into a discussion of why we live in a gated community if the gates are never closed and how some people moved here specifically because of the front gates.
Then we had the four zillion messages reporting door-to-door salespeople in the neighborhood. "At 4:10 a guy from Ben's Bug Service rang my doorbell. I told him to go away" read the typical message. And then everyone else who had met Ben the Bug Guy had to chime in. One resident pointed out that our neighborhood has a "No Soliciting" sign at the entrance and asked what good the sign did if all the door-to-door people just ignored it. Another said she called the sheriff's department to report that a salesman was violating the no soliciting rule and that the person at the sheriff's department had told her they wouldn't do anything about it. The nerve.
A reasonable person waded on in to the fray and pointed out that our No Soliciting sign has absolutely no legal standing. The sheriff's department is under no obligation to enforce our HOA's rules. That led to more demands for closing the gates during the day.
This week's furor was started by a message from a resident threatening the "people in the gold minivan - you know who you are" who dared to walk their dogs off leash in an undeveloped section of the neighborhood. The sender complained that the owners were breaking the leash law and being irresponsible pet owners by not picking up their dogs' poop.
The people in the gold minivan replied, in a self-righteous huff, saying that they believe dogs should be allowed to run free and hunt things and that they have lived here longer than anyone else and have always let their dogs run in undeveloped areas and no one has ever complained before.
The original posters responded by threatening to call the sheriff if they saw the dogs off leash ever again.
There were a few more back and forths before the moderator stepped in to remind residents that personal attacks were not allowed. She also pointed out that the management company doesn't even subscribe to the listserv, so posting complaints about the management company and its policies does no good whatsoever.
Things have been silent for the past 48 hours. But I'm not holding my breath that the peace will last much longer. We're in for a string of 100+ days, and those always bring out the stupid.