Much to the relief of his annoyed north Charlotte neighbors, Gerard Leeper could be on the verge of inspiring an amendment to the state’s indecent exposure law.
They say Leeper has provoked them for years by standing nude in his doorway. Police had said nothing could be done about the Naked Neighbor of Cardinal Glen, since he was inside his own home. But if lawmakers pass Sen. Brent Jackson’s bill, it will be illegal to expose yourself for sexual gratification in a private place to anyone who doesn’t consent.
The case easily rests at the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to annoying neighbors. When you get good ones, they make life a tiny bit sweeter. Bad ones irritate like splinters.
The anger and angst of such bad situations runs so deep it spawns websites such as Neighborsfromhell.com and Annoyingneighbors.com, where folks vent by posting their frustrations online.
Many are the typical bad-neighbor tales of junk cars left in the driveway or waist-level grass growing in the front yard.
But such offenders are always singled out for scorn, and deservedly so.
I’d argue that there’s a whole class of less-heralded but nonetheless grating neighbors still out there. Let’s see the General Assembly do something about:
1. The Poop Bandit. Every neighborhood has them. You see the evidence all over your yard. But why can’t you ever catch him and his overfed pooch in the act?
2. The Driveway Blocker. You’re not the only victim when it comes to folks who can’t seem to park where they’re supposed to. I’ve seen an exasperated mail carrier pull up behind a vehicle blocking a mailbox for the 12th time and lay on the horn as if she was stuck in rush-hour traffic in mid-town Manhattan. The offender wisely stayed in the house.
3. The Grass Encroacher. He just refuses to believe the property line is where the land surveyors say it is. About 10 inches of your lawn gets a trim each time he cuts his grass. Because that’s his property too. Because his lawn mower tells him so, that’s why.
4. The Fourth of July Fireworks Expert. Patriotism is great, but if you’ve still got the bombs going off at midnight you’re doing it wrong. (And most likely illegally, considering N.C. laws).
I’ve seen this prompt a soft-spoken housewife with an awakened baby to stomp outside and unleash a shockingly ferocious volley of compound cuss words. She became the fireworks.
5. The Early Morning Mower. Who cares how hot it’ll be later on? It’s 8 a.m. on a Saturday. Just don’t.
I’m joking, but I know it’s not so funny when you’re the one stuck with a truly bad situation.
So if you’ve got good neighbors, count yourself lucky. What’s a few stray dog droppings if you’ve got reasonable, generally well-adjusted people next door?
As the folks in Cardinal Glen can tell you, that’s not to be taken for granted.
Eric: 704-358-5145; @ericfraz on Twitter; firstname.lastname@example.org