Welcome to the Neighborhood, Paul Bunyan

[Attention: I wrote this in a crabby mood. You've been warned ...]

The suckiest part of home ownership is that you can't choose your neighbors, nor control what they do to your block.

 The house across the street (the one on the left) sold for $800,000 a few weeks back to a guy with a Beemer X5 who insists on driving up the curb to park his baby "off-street." Off-street, in this case, means in his front yard. (There is a plenty of street parking, plus a parking lot and garage in the back of his house with full alley access - so go figure. Maybe he likes taking his car "off-roading" - or he doesn't want to walk upstairs to his house since it's a bi-level lot?) Tree_During.jpgWe admit that we thought this behavior a bit odd, but we rationalized on his behalf: Maybe he was still moving stuff in.

We've been spoiled and have great neighbors. Maybe that's why we were naive and held out a little light of hope. Silly of us. He extinguished that light today - with a chainsaw.

Why do people want to cut down beautiful, old established shade trees? It's happening everywhere I look. My mother's neighborhood was once lined in mature trees that gave the neighborhood a welcoming elegance that belied the modest homes behind the lush foliage. One by one, every single big tree came down, always with some homeowner wielding his used-once-a-year $400 chainsaw with a creepy glint in his eye - and now? Her neighborhood has quadrupled in average home price - but the place is all cement and asphalt, burning hot in summer, stark and desolate in winter.

Despite the upswing in value, that neighborhood's lost much of its charm. What would the value of the houses be, I wonder, on a lushly-lined, shady street of trees that looked like something out of a storybook?

Now the arbicide has come to my block. At least one enormous pine and eight huge shade trees have been taken down in the last year, the latest being that of Mr. Lumberjack Beemer Driver.

Tree_After.jpgHis tree was gorgeous, a willowy California Pepper that had been there decades: It was absolutely beautiful. That tree provided abundant shade on hot days, added aesthetically to the neighborhood, smelled delightful, provided oxygen, didn't intrude upon the sidewalk - I couldn't help but gasp. Why on earth would someone want to cut it down?

And then it hit me: He didn't want the leaves falling on his Beemer. I know it's none of my business, but it's so frustrating: We need more trees, not less!

All I can do is sigh, shake my head sadly, keep my mouth shut - and kvetch to you, oh internet. Thank you for listening. You're keeping me from taking a felled tree branch and going Samsonite-gorilla on his stupid SUV.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >