Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Bye-Bye, Bums?

GateSo the workmen came by yesterday and installed a new gate to replace the decrepit, sagging old wooden gate in the backyard. Not bad, eh? They threw in the fake, weather-resistant, never-paint, never-Thompson’s-water-seal wood for “free.” (Note to self: must remember that pitch for editorial clients…)

Ruby the Corgi Pup is beside herself with doggy joy. Noticing that this gate rides a little higher off the ground than the old one, which had to be dragged open, she feels a glimmer of hope: she can burrow out underneath that thing!

So she runs over there and goes digdigdigdigdigdigdigdig! She’s so excited. Fortunately I have some neglected flagstone slabs, which I’ll have Gerardo and his underling haul over there to serve as a “floor” that she can’t excavate.

A-n-n-d while the men were here, they installed a newly fabricated metal fence and gate to block off the archaic trash-can alcove from passers-by who want to use it as a latrine.

Sorry to be politically incorrect about our drug-using homeless brethren and sistern…but IMHO someone who drops mounds of feces decorated with dirty toilet paper outside your gate is best called a bum.

The fence guy, whom I’ve worked with before with good results and who has high BBB and Yelpish ratings, confirmed that, as I suspected, the line from wall corner to wall corner is indeed my lot line, and so no code is violated by installing something to block people from going into the disused alcove to do their toilet duty.

He also reported, when I described what’s been going on, that completion of the train lightrail up the middle of Conduit of Blight Boulevard is pushing the homeless into our neighborhood. He says  the vagrants who used to hang out along Conduit of Blight NW have been unhomed by all the additional foot traffic from the train riders and by the increased police presence. The city (with, of course, its favored developer) is determined to make the train a showpiece, and so keeping the peace around the train “stations” is a great deal bigger issue than keeping it in the deteriorating tenements that front the train tracks has ever been.

Who? What? Apartment residents? Who cares about them?

One guy who lives over there told me that every car in his apartment house’s parking lot had been vandalized, broken into, or stolen. Imagine what fun it would be to live in a place like that!

Oh. Sorry. I got derailed (heh) for a minute.

So here’s the new bars, which I sincerely hope will help with the issue at hand.

NewFenceOutside About half its length is a gate, which can be padlocked on the inside.

The view from the interior:

NewFenceInsideSo I’m pretty pleased about it. It’ll be a little bit of a nuisance, but it should help some with security. And really, because now I won’t have to padlock the gate into the yard — or drag it across the ground to open it and give it a sharp kick to shut it — the hassle factor should be a wash.

The gate opens outward and provides plenty of room to roll a wheelbarrow in and out. I hope it won’t create a problem when the time comes to replaster the pool…but I doubt that it will. The pool guys got through a much smaller gate the last time the pool was plastered, with no complaints.

Of course, this will just mean the bums will go into my neighbor Terri’s alcove, right next to mine. Our two alcoves are the first ones in from Neighborhood Drive NW that are out of view from the street. If you dropped your drawers in the alcove belonging to the house behind me, you’d risk being seen, even after dark. So Terri’s and my alley entries are very convenient.

She won’t notice — Fence Dude looked at her collapsing gate, which has sunk off its hinges, and said it hadn’t been opened in months. How she gets her trash out beats me…probably drives it around the block to drop it into the communal garbage can. Or maybe she just tosses it all in the blue recycling barrel. WhatEVER. At least I won’t have to clean up piles of sh!t to get to the trashcan myself. If I see it there, I’ll complain to her and failing that, to the city.




Author: funny

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  1. Pretty snazzy….I just wonder where do these homeless folks come from? Are they mentally ill….drugs addicts…alcoholics….all of the above? And how did they arrive at this station in life….job loss….divorce….tragic death….failure to launch? In this neck of the woods less and less is done for the homeless and it is left to the churches an non-profits to provide a patch work of food and shelter…Sad…but doesn’t make your “potty on the spot” situation any more palatable…

    • If you’re a drug addict or an alcoholic, you’re mentally ill by definition. The US has very poor mental health care — even the wealthy have a difficult time getting consistent, high-quality mental health care, and if you’re poor…fuhgeddit.

      Some are veterans returned from Iraq mentally or physically devastated (or both). Some are people who have lost their jobs and have no support system — no one to let them couch surf so they can sleep and bathe while they search for work. Some are ex-convicts who can’t earn enough to keep a roof over their heads for love nor money, because no one will hire them. Some are so batshit crazy that people who should love them don’t or simply can’t care for them, or are afraid of them. Some are people who are seriously, helplessly addicted to drugs, alcohol, or both.

      Also, America doesn’t make it easy to break out of homelessness. Check out this amazing tour de force:

      And even though the right-wing crazies believe all bums are homeless by choice and that’s obviously wacko (, some people claim to choose homelessness:;

      One of Ex-DH’s law partners deliberately spent a summer living on the streets right out of law school as a kind of research project: he wanted to experience homelessness to build insight into what poor people experience. He said it was one of the biggest adventures of his life, and in a strange way he actually enjoyed it; and he said he kind of regretted having to bring it to an end.

      No doubt I’m unkind and politically incorrect, but I don’t want anyone — no matter what their problems are — using my garden gate as a latrine. I don’t want them harassing me as I walk across the parking lot to reach the supermarket. I deeply resent it that it’s unsafe to walk to the grocery store from my house — three stores are within walking distance — and that the presence of smelly, stoned, and drunk bums makes waiting for a bus or train and riding public transport NOT-AN-OPTION for a woman alone. I don’t like it that when I exit the freeway I have to check that the car doors are locked and remember to pull up to the light in the lane away from the sidewalk to minimize pestering by panhandlers.

      You can’t make misfortune illegal. But a culture of basic decency would provide adequate services for people who can’t (or won’t) help themselves.

  2. You shouldn’t feel guilty about pushing them down the line, not when, as you pointed out, you’re not the one that pushed them off in the first place. You’re totally correct that the help for mental health issues are sorely lacking, and while it’s sad that they are not going to get helped by you keeping them out, it wasn’t your decision in the first place to put them in that position. You paid money for your property and continue to do so, and you should have the basic freedoms and enjoyments associated with that, including not having people using your property as their personal toilet.

    Sounds like you feel the proper amount of empathy, are communicating the issue and balancing that with your own desire to enjoy your property.

  3. Very nice setup, Funny. I just hope disgruntled folks don’t throw stuff over the fence because they can’t get into that alcove any more.

    • That has happened in the past, in another part of the neighborhood. And that could happen here…but it would take some effort to get the stuff over the vines that are piled very high on top of the back wall…and now, of course they have to heave it an extra three feet horizontally to get it over the wall. I’m not very worried about that, though…there are plenty of other alcoves for them to make themselves to home in. 😉