by bill - 2010-04-30 ( culture / people / confrontation )
I had a run-in yesterday with the neighbor formerly known as "a**hole motorcycle guy." I had just gotten back from a customer's office when I get a knock on the door. It's "motorcycle guy" saying "Can we talk a minute? I know you've got a problem with me." About a year ago I had gotten in his face about him riding his motorcycle (a dirt bike) on the street, popping wheelies, spinning donuts, acting like your basic juvenile. The only problem is that this guy is in his 40's.
So, when he knocks on my door I realize we'd better step outside away from Elizabeth. Of course, Elizabeth sticks her head out the door, "Who is it, Dad?" I told her to get back inside while I spoke to this "gentleman" who, by the way, had brought another neighbor and that neighbor's ex-con son with him, apparently for backup.
When this sort of thing happens, I get real calm and very alert to everyone's body language and movements. Standing out on my driveway now, "motorcycle guy" explained that his friends were there at his wife's insistence in case his temper got out of hand and he "went crazy." He even somehow worked into the conversation that he used to do "ultimate fighting," though he hadn't done it in four years.
I replied with a smile as if I was impressed, "Oh yeah?" If he was trying to scare me, it wasn't working. I'm half a foot taller, outweigh him by 75-80 pounds, and still in decent shape physically (when my back's not bothering me, which it wasn't). I wasn't afraid for my own safety, but you never know what an idiot/jerk like this might do to your wife, daughter, pets or belongings. So, I was keeping my cool.
Anyway, he accused me of "calling Codes" on him for running the auto repair shop he's been running in his driveway for at least a year. They had done two pop-up inspections that morning, apparently, and were threatening him with a thousand dollar fine, according to him, if you can believe anything he says. "They're telling me that you are the one who called them!" He was bluffing, because he then started to say, "If I find out you're the one who called them... "
I looked him right in the eye and warned, "Don't threaten me." He changed tack, saying, "I'm not threatening you. I'm just saying, if you've got a problem with me, be a man and talk to me. Don't be calling Codes on me." I'm thinking, "As if you would honor my wishes?"
I laughed and said, "Don't give me that. I did talk to you face to face about your motorcycle hot-dogging. You stopped for a while, then started up again." I have no problem with motorcycles normally, but this guy is constantly disturbing the peace, waking us up from naps. I value being in a nice quiet neighborhood, which ours normally is. I should have told him, "You're the one who needs to be a man, be a mature and considerate neighbor and move your 'repair shop' out of the neighborhood, and keep your dirt bike on the dirt not on these otherwise quiet neighborhood streets."
Once the confrontation evolved into an actual conversation, his friends left, saying, "You don't need us, do you?" "Motorcycle guy" let them go then told me how he had lost his auto repair business when his partner put all of their profits up his nose and left him with the bill; and that both he and his wife were unemployed (which I can sympathize with); and he's trying to get a new repair shop built south of here. I was genuinely sympathetic to his plight. Like me, he's just trying to stay afloat. I even complimented his work ethic, noting how he was always out there working. I assured him I'm not the one who called Codes on him. I did admit to complaining to the homeowners association several months ago, and maybe they called Codes. But several times I said, "I'm not your problem. I'm not the one calling Codes." I don't want him burning down my house in "retaliation" if/when he loses his to foreclosure, which these days is a real possibility.
We ended up shaking hands, with him offering to help me with any car problems I might have. Oh, by the way, the guy's name is Steve. I wished him good luck getting his shop together (NOT on his driveway). And I hope that's the end of it. I still don't like him, but at least he was able to blow off some steam, so maybe he won't blow a gasket.
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