Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The 800-Pound Gorillas in My Neighborhood

This week has been trying on my nerves.  While the race car driver who lives behind me assures me that he has retired from racing, his adult son has the week off from work and has been using his dad's garage to work on his race car engine.  So, as a neighbor, I've had to listen to engine revving all week long.  Even when I'm fartlekking a mile or two out in the desert, that engine is so loud that I can hear it as if I'm standing in the garage itself.  I crank up my music in my earbuds, but it still won't drown out the engine revving.  The other day some horseback riders rode past the garage, and the jerk didn't even wait for them to get out of the vicinity before firing up that engine.  If you've ever been to a car race, you know that the engines are nothing like street cars -- they are more on the decibel level of jet engines.  I couldn't see if the riders got into a wreck with their spooked horses or not, because they were behind some trees.

But what's worse is that the family down the street bought their kids a go-kart, and they have shown no consideration of the neighbors by allowing their kids to race it up and down the street every evening.  These are the same jerks who invited snowbirds to come live out of their RV in their backyard, and allowed them to race that yellow dune buggy back and forth in front of my house all day for weeks on end.  That went on until I came out and stood in my driveway with my arms folded across my chest and glared at them until they felt uncomfortable enough to go away.  See?  I picked up a useful tool from my last set of nosy neighbors.  Stare until they leave.  It's just too bad that interventions are always required just to get people to think of someone other than themselves.

The engine of this go-kart is loud and stinky.  Every time I walk outdoors when the kids are at it, I think my house is on fire.  I literally choke on the exhaust fumes and gasp for oxygen.  I thought my neighbor's father's cigar smoke was bad -- the way it got socked in on my porch every time he lit up, but this go-kart exhaust is one-hundred times worse.  My only escape from it is to go indoors, and these kids are always out there racing it around when I'm trying to feed my horses their dinner and put their blankets on for the night.

The parents must have put a limit on how far the kids could travel from home, and made that limit the turnout just south of my house.  So, they race this go-kart basically just back and forth in front of my house, and the houses of the neighbors on each side of me.  One of those houses is vacant and the other one is almost vacant, because that neighbor is rarely home.  I am the only neighbor who gets the privilege of experiencing this air pollution and noise disturbance, so I have no one to back me up if I confront the family about the problem.

The kids scream at the top of their lungs as they do donuts, spin out, and fishtail in the dirt turnouts.  I've gone outside a couple of times to make sure that they weren't driving on anyone's front yard or driveway.  Most of us have very expensive decorative rock in our yards and driveways, and we don't need it to be sprayed all over the street and desert by people speeding through for sport.  Technically, we all own the street in front of our house.  It's an easement for the public to drive through, but I would say that racing back and forth in that easement borders on loitering, not to mention disturbing the peace.

I've thought about driving my truck down in front of their house every night and doing donuts to see how they like it, but my truck's engine doesn't even produce a fraction of the amount of noise that go-kart does.  It's only a matter of time before the adults who live at that end of the street come tearing up the blind hill in their vehicles and hit the kids in the go-kart, since they've nearly hit me and my horses several times.  And if that doesn't happen, it's only a matter of time before these kids roll the go-kart.  I saw them get it up on two wheels, and they actually leaned into it like they were trying to roll it.

I, personally, would never buy my own kids a go-kart or ATV to play on.  I know of too many kids who have broken their necks, backs, or who have been killed on recreational vehicles, most often from either hitting trees or having the vehicle roll over on top of them.  And if Grandpa bought them one, you'd better bet that I'd take them to a location away from residential neighborhoods where go-karts are designated to be, and I'd supervise them every minute of their ride.

The other day I took a horse for a walk out in the desert and tried to get back home before the go-kart racing began, but the kids started up early.  I had to let my horse observe the go-kart from a distance, then mid-range, then close up, before I could safely get him across the street and back to the barn.  It was not a fun experience when you consider that the horse was already jigging out of nervousness before the go-kart showed up.  I actually was more concerned about making the kid aware of our presence than I was about desensitizing my horse to the go-kart.  I was afraid the kid would come tearing up that blind hill and hit us.

It turned out that he was carving a racetrack out of my neighbor's property across the street from her house.  She doesn't live in the house anymore, and the kids know it, so they are trying to get away with playing on that property while no one lives there.  I've been trying to let bushes grow there so that strangers will stop turning around in that spot and parking there, blocking the gate to the bridle trails with their vehicles.  Now this kid is screwing up that plan by running his go-kart over all the bushes to carve a path for his fun.  Neighbors are such a pain in the ass.

There have been a few times when the go-kart broke down.  I'm guessing they flooded the engine, and had to push it back home.  Then I'd get a few minutes or hours of peace and quiet until someone fixed it, and they'd be at it again, tearing up the neighborhood.

I know they know they are doing something illegal, because one day I heard kids' voices and walked up my driveway to investigate.  I couldn't see anyone.  Then I heard a kid say, "There's that lady.  Don't let her see us."  It turned out that they were hiding behind a tree with their go-kart waiting for me to leave.

Also, any time the kids spot me outside, they get off the street and drive really slowly along the dirt shoulder.  I suspect their parents instructed them to do that if there are any witnesses around, because these are fairly little kids who don't know the law, and their parents can clearly see them racing up and down the street.  This is why I'm hesitant to just confront them.  They are the type of people who know they are doing something illegal and are disrupting other people's lives, but they just don't care.  Those are the worst kind of neighbors to have.

I know most of this activity will slow down or stop once the kids' winter break ends and they return to school.  I'm trying to be patient, but it's hard when one thing after another keeps disrupting my activities.  After a while, something has to become the straw that breaks the camel's back.  There are plenty of rural places for people to drive off-road dune buggies and go-karts around here.  These people are just being lazy and inconsiderate by taking over my residential neighborhood with their noise and air pollution because they don't want to trailer their recreational vehicles out to appropriate locations, and I know it's only a matter of time before they cut the fence to the bridle trails and take over there too.

This is so discouraging.  I just can't live anywhere without people ruining it for me.


Crystal said...

I too hate people, we are lucky our nearest neighbor is a couple miles away though.

lytha said...

I know it's not possible but I always think how you'd love it here because noise is not permitted, in fact, I'm not even allowed to recycle my glass between 12 and 3 because that is considered quiet time in this country. And noise is just not allowed here, even outside those hours. I was told I'm allowed to vacuum my house between noon and three, but that's it, nothing louder. Kids go down my street in go-carts, but they are the homemade type with just wheels and a seat, and although that can scare a horse, it doesn't disturb the peace.

I want to move back home, I cannot die here. But the thought of the unlimited noise really worries me.

ellie k said...

Maybe you need to scatter a few nail above you drive way. I know you can't but sounds good anyway. We had a couple motorcycles racing up and down our street evenings. Our neighbor put a row of nails in a board and tied a rope to it, as soon as the cycles run over it and realized what was happening it was too late, our neighbor pulled it in the house and went on watching tv. When he was confronted he said "no he was watching tv and didn't hear anything" The bikes moves to another street away from us.

Dreaming said...

There is nothing more irritating to me than senseless go-kart, 4-wheeler, whatever driving, around and around and up and down. In the west, where plant life is so hard fought, it is a crime when folks go out in the desert to drive around. Going up and down roads... doesn't make sense to me!
We found our perfect house. It had a barn for me and a huge workshop/garage for the Mr. We would have had a great view. We went out one more time to check it out and heard our neighbor's kids on their machines (ATV's??) going around the course they had constructed in their pasture, which abutted the property we were considering. No Sale!

achieve1dream said...

That is horrible!!!! Can you not call the cops?

We had someone who used to do that up and down the hill beside our property, popping wheelies. I didn't do anything about it at first because they didn't do it very often or for very long, but one day they scared Chrome and he almost went through a fence. I was pissed!! I called the cops and they came out. I asked them on the phone not to come to my house because there were problems with retaliation from these people, but to just drive up and down. They did that and the people never rode their four wheelers there again. Someone else used to ride a racing four wheeler up and down the street right in front of our house in the middle of the night (after midnight!!!!!). My husband confronted them one day and threatened them and he must have been scary because they stopped too. I don't recommend that though because of retaliation. I would much rather call the police, but at that time of night we would have had to call 911 and we didn't want to do that for noise disturbance. A bunch of kids used to ride four wheelers down the roads here at the new house, but instead of staying on the pavement they were intentionally going through the ditch. Their version of mudding I guess. They were ruining the drainage and causing the road to flood... my dad dumped a whole box of nails or screws in that ditch and never had a problem again LOL!!! I'm normally not the type to do something like that, but I still thought it was funny and I'm glad it made it stop. Now I'm not recommending you do anything, but just letting you know what worked for me. ;) Good luck!