I had never received a notice like this before — so I immediately phoned the HOA. A nasally female voice answered and I referred to the link I had received. I asked her what I was in trouble for. Her loud breathing and annoying keyboard clacking seemed to last forever while she brought the item up for review:
HOA Lady (Impatiently): “Well, it’s a violation!”
Me: “Yes, I know that, but what for?”
HOA Lady (punching the keyboard just a bit harder): I mean we don’t just send these out for no reason.”
Me (starting to forget my manners): “I don’t dispute that there might be a violation here — but isn’t the manner of the offense usually listed?”
HOA Lady: ”You really don’t need to speak to me like that. I just work here.”
Me: “Listen, I don’t mean it personally. I know you just work there — but I have lived here for over four years and I have never gotten anything like this. Tell me what it is and I’ll fix it!”
HOA Lady: “We’ll have to get back to you.”
And she slammed down the phone.
The next day I got a phone call back from the very same woman. Her voice was reedier than the first time, but she seemed to be a little more in control emotion-wise:
HOA Lady (Coolly): “Hello, this is Darla from your Hometown Community Homeowners Association. Is this John?”
Me: “Yes. So what’s the verdict?”
HOA Lady: “I’ve checked with our mobile consultant, and the violation is the tree that’s hanging over your driveway — it’s too bushy and too long and it needs to be trimmed.”
Me: ”I just clipped that thing down to size less than a month ago. It’s not hanging over my driveway at all — just look at the picture — it’s straight up and thinned out and isn’t touching the garage or anything else! Who’s the freak that took this picture? I’d like to have him come over here and look at that tree and tell me it’s too damn long!”
HOA Lady (Superciliously): ”Our field agents are highly trained and are very good at what they do. I would ask you to compare that tree to your neighbors’ trees and you will see that it doesn’t meet the requirements of your Hometown Community Homeowners Association. Perhaps this time you might want to hire a professional to do the job. We have several affiliated arborists who work closely with our design team. Would you care for a list?”
I saw that little Peckerwood last week, too — across the street again, but this time a few houses down. He seemed to be smiling … although truthfully, he was too far away for me to tell. I saw his mustache move though, and was able to note the intense scratching on his official Hometown Community Homeowners Association steno pad — and then he took off, going the exact opposite way he had gone the first time.
Yesterday I got this notice:
Violation. Backyard walls are showing signs of excessive fading or are discolored in appearance. Official wall colors are Rockingstone and Chocolate Fortnight, available at local paint stores. An example of a backyard wall is attached for your reference. Please bring this issue into compliance within 10 days of this notice.
Oh yeah? I think I’m gonna use the paint money as a down payment on my own golf cart, and go into business as a counter-surveillance operative against the Nimrods at the Hometown Community Homeowners Association. I am willing to finance a two-seater if anyone is interested in joining me. Maybe we can phony up a new set of bylaws and wreak social havoc — it would be community organizing at its finest!