This afternoon I was shoveling manure and getting ready to put the horses in the barn when I looked up and saw my neighbor trespasser standing at the top of the hill watching me. I looked at him to see what he was going to do. Sure enough, right in front of me, he crossed over our fence line and started hiking down into my backyard. I whipped out my phone and pretended to type in three numbers, then held it up to my ear and said loudly, "Yeah, I have a trespasser. Can you send somebody over? That's right. Thank you."
No reaction. He just kept on coming, throwing the tree branches we had laid across the trail out of his way. I was PISSED!
I marched over to his backyard and stood at the location where he would come out of the arroyo. He popped up out of the bushes and said, "Oh oh, I'm in trouble."
"Yes, you are," I said. "Did you get the note I stuck to the No Trespassing sign?"
He said yes.
"Can you understand why I don't want people trespassing on my property?"
He said yes.
"Then what is the problem? Why do you keep doing it?"
He said with a sweet smile, "Okay. I won't do it anymore. It is your property."
WTF? If it were that simple, why didn't he just respect all of my past requests for him to stop? I didn't trust that he would actually stop doing it, so I went into more detail about the issues, informing him that I have been injured twice when he was walking down in the arroyo and he spooked my horses.
He said, "I've never noticed any problem with them. Are you sure it was me?"
I said, "It was someone coming and going from your house."
He said, "Well, I'm sorry about that. It's just that I've been hiking here for 20 years, and it makes a nice little loop to come through your property. But I promise, I will stop."
I reminded him that he's creating a trail for other less desirable people to take, and then we have to deal with theft and people looking in our windows and people getting bit by our horses and dogs.
He said, "I didn't realize there was a problem. I just come down the arroyo to my backyard. Where do other people go? I've never seen them come through."
It was as if he was accusing me of lying. I said that mostly in the winter, we get these visitors who vacation here every once in a while, and they remember that they used to be able to cut through our land, so they keep on doing it when they see the trail he makes. I told him that they come up behind my arena, past my horse trailer, past my bathroom window, up the driveway, to the public trails.
I'm not sure how he can miss it, because the neighbor who lives one house further down from him has approached my husband to ask if he could plant things on that hill to stop people from trespassing and standing up there staring into our backyards. It bugged him enough to want to take action.
I think this guy was just hard of hearing with poor eyesight and self-involved. He sure put on the sweet old man act when I confronted him. It was hard to rip into him, because when he smiled, he reminded me of my grandmother. His teeth looked just like hers -- yellowing, crooked, and with partial dentures. Hopefully, he'll stay true to his word and take a different route in the future. We'll see.
I'm thinking if he doesn't stop, I might grab my walking stick, chase him down, and walk with him, babbling my life story as we go. I'll just invite myself on his walks and follow him relentlessly. If he truly likes solitude like I suspect he does, he'll learn to avoid me pretty quick, which means avoiding going through my backyard. You've got to get creative with people like this.