Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taking Care Of Your Neighbors

Last night, a few houses on our block - and the reflector signs on the traffic circle by our house - got tagged. This pisses us off like crazy. The tags don't seem to be from any known local gangs, just random crap. It's just some people being disrespectful, ignorant, petty and childish. But it really hurts, to have someone deface your property for no known reason.

One of the houses tagged is right across the street from us. Two women in their 80's live there. Their house is modest, but always well cared for, with a neat lawn, carefully-groomed rose bushes, and small pots of geraniums on the porch.

It broke our hearts when one of the women said that she was worried she had been targeted for her race. She and her housemate are black - and while the neighborhood as a whole is a historically black section of Seattle, our block is sometimes called "the white block" by people passing by. We reassured her that their house was not targeted for any reason at all, that there were at least two other houses tagged on the block at random, and that it was a good thing Scott hadn't seen who it was or he woulda knocked their blocks off. She smiled at that.

We ran down to Lowe's and got some GoofOff and rags and a wire brush drill attachment. Then, with our neighbor George, we got to work. We scrubbed and sprayed and buffed for an hour or two. George's kids and some other of the neighbor kids came out and scrubbed with us. Finally, it was looking a little better.

While I was cleaning the reflectors at the traffic circle, a thuggish-looking guy drove by and said "That won't last, man". I said I guess I'd just come out and clean it every time it happened. But as we were all scrubbing our neighbor's garage, a young black woman (I only mention her race because of our neighbor's fear that the graffiti may have been racially motivated) walked by and mentioned how horrible it was that this house had been tagged, but how great it was that we were helping out by cleaning it up.

And that's what we told our neighbor. We need to watch out for each other. They aren't capable of getting out there and scrubbing graffiti off of their walls, but we are. You do what you can to take care of the people around you. Not because we expect them to do something for us, but because we're all in this together. When someone shows disrespect for our neighbors, they show disrespect for us, and we stand together and do what needs to be done.

After we were done, and had hosed down the driveway and promised to come back to re-paint the garage door if it needed it, our neighbor thanked us and wished us a blessed day. We knew that had already happened.


A Lewis said...

Man oh man, I'd kick some serious you kno what if I could get my hands on those thuggish necks. You guys are the bomb...exactly what the ladies, and the rest of our world, need.

LSL said...

What a story. I absolutely love this post. Thanks for making me believe again!

Scott said...

Nice going, guys! It's nice to know there are still neighborhoods like yours out there who watch out for each other.
What a nice thing to do for those ladies.

madhouse 6 said...

a) what total and complete fucking assholes.
b) i'm impressed you knew what to do to help - i wouldn't have had a clue, but i would have have been right there helping clean it off if you showed me what to do.
c) bravo to you guys for taking care of your neighbors.

Paul said...

We've had the same problem in our neighborhood this summer -- they're marking the parking meters, mail boxes, trash cans, and buildings. What do I have to do to get you and Scott -- and your GoofOff -- to come for a visit?

Oh -- I really think it's great you helped out the ladies across the street! I hope they bake you cookies or something.

Sizzle said...

It's that kind of thing that creates community. More neighborhoods should look out for each other like that. Graffiti is so annoying. I get it on my building all the time. UGH.

Anonymous said...


But really, those taggers must be beginners, lol. You should see the crap around here! So elaborate and I sit here and think "if they could just go back to art school or something and make something else of themselves", you know?

Tagging. Never ending... it gets very depressing.

Peter said...

Great post.

Do you BBQ in summer with the whole street/block too?

Chris said...

That's really awesome, guys.

We don't have gang tags -- we have rednecks with McCain/Palin signs. And Ray won't let me set them on fire :(

Scottk said...

Thank God , or whatever higher power you wish to thank , that people like you and Scott really do exsist. I know you didn't post this looking for praise but, you guys are just awesome folk.But really, how bad can a guy named Scott and a guy who loves a guy named Scott really be ??

Daniel said...

Thanks for sharing this story.

Curtis said...

Bless your heart! I'd be honored to have neighbors like you.

Jason said...

O.K.- you guys deserve "Gays of the Year" or something!!!

How sweet of you to help those ladies. It is sickening how people don't respect the property of others.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Good for you guys, those ladies will not feel so alone against the world now, so sweet of you both!

Why is it that losers have to go around and make everything look as trashy as they are.

I used to live next to an old couple in their 80's, when it snowed I shoveled their driveway so they would not hurt themselves, you can not believe the number of people who were against me doing it because I did it for free, I often received the comments "ask for money or just screw them and let them do it on their own". I always think "I hope someone looks out for me when I get old".