by cheri sabraw
I live on a piece of property where, through the grace of the God of PIP ( Psychological Insulating Protection), I have a four-acre buffer zone from the sometimes crass and inane behavior of others of my species. I realize I am a fortunate person, indeed, to be able to blast my music– Credence Clearwater Revival, the Police, and Pandora 80’s Cardio– as loudly as I desire without a cranky neighbor complaining or finding a warning letter on my windshield.
Here at the Rancho, I can park my car in my driveway, leave my hose exposed for all squirrels to see, and, should turkeys venture onto my patio and drop their goopy calling cards, I can shoot them without fear of retribution.
Not so in Goodyear, Arizona. It may have been the home of a tire company, but when rules are broken, the rubber meets the road.
There, we own a small home in a retirement community where formerly hard-working Americans– who probably had coped with obnoxious neighbors in Michigan, Nebraska, or Minnesota for forty years– have chosen to live out their final days in cookie-cutter satisfaction. I will also observe (men, do not get mad at me because I love you, really) that many of the residents happen to be cranky men over the age of 60.
I must admit my usual naivete shielded me from any consideration about Rules. The only warning that flashed, as we signed the purchase papers, was that our house was located several miles from Luke Air Force Base, one of the training facilities for the F-16 fighter jets. My interpretation of this rule is this: Be advised that at times–every weekday morning at 8:00 am and some evenings during the cocktail hour–the sound of a deafening and gutteral supersonic take-off of either two or four jets that can accelerate to Mach 2–will rattle your cupboards and definitely screw up your putt for par on the 8th hole.
Since I am a patriot, and my nephew is an F-16 fighter pilot, this rule seemed like chicken poop.
It all started when the Moderator of the e-mail group scolded me.
This is the same group that informs community members about where to get the best pedicure and who has a Southwest drink ticket to give away. It warns all of us to take in our small dogs because a coyote is in the vicinity. Further, complaints about drivers doing 35 mph in a 25 mph, bicyclists not signaling before turning, grandchildren making too much noise in the pool, and neighbors leaving their garage doors open, are regular topics. You can see why I am addicted to this e-mail list.
It wasn’t until the Moderator sent me a personal e-mail warning me that I had not conformed to the Rules of Engagement.
Funny, I never considered how living in a Stepford Community would mutate my rule-abiding self into a downright rebel.