Friday, July 13, 2007

Neighbor Redux

Some of you may remember my post of a few months ago in which I asked your opinion about reporting an illegal sublet next door. Last weekend, an unfamiliar man knocked on our door as I was making dinner. He said that he was staying in Robin's apartment, (which is officially still Jackie's apartment,) but that she forgot to give him the garage clicker when she went on vacation. He needed the combination to the keypad so he could park his car.

I wonder what she is on vacation from. She doesn't work, nor did her "cousin." She may or may not get paid for doing what most people do for nothing, but the idea of a vacation is absurd. She seems to be bringing a lot of work home from the office. Apparently, our illicit tenant is now subletting her apartment to yet another person, and while he seemed nice enough, it worries us. The situation has gotten out of control, and we have no idea who is living next door at any given time. Or whether shots will come through the wall and kill us. Maybe they are cooking crack in the cute little kitchen.

Flip, who was opposed to telling the landlord about the new tenant when she moved in, has decided that it is now time to report the situation. There is no telling how many people have a key to the building or the garage combination. This morning, we were awakened by the baying of a hound quite nearby, separated from us only by a thin wall. I did not need a glass to my ear to hear it. The dog is apparently alone in the apartment, and depending on how long this goes on, it may merit a call to the Humane Society.

As I contemplated all this, I burned my finger while making coffee. I didn't notice that the red light was on, and touched the surface where the glass coffeepot rests. How karmic is that? As I consider burning someone else, I get burned. Flip thinks it's merely carelessness, but I'm not sure he's right. Why does every errant hedgeborn canker blossom end up living right next door to me?


furiousBall said...

I'll tell you as soon as I figure out a hedgeborn canker blossom is.

Tanya Brown said...

Mmmm. Yes, it's not good when people you don't know from a hole in the ground come knocking on the door asking for security codes and the like.

As for the karma, well, if you were thinking of ratting out a total stranger for something which was none of your business, I might agree. However, the situation is now becoming something that is your business, namely an ever-increasing list of people unknown to the property managers living six inches away from your headboard.

I wonder if there's a discreet, "accidental" way to tip off the property managers?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's a phrase out of Shakespeare, but I can't remember which play.

I thought my insults should be a little classier.


I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I came to the same conclusion, exactly, and called the management company a few minutes ago. I had a legitimate maintenance problem, but also mentioned the situation next door.

They knew nothing of the other girl moving out, or any of the subsequent changes in personnel. The building manager rebuked me gently for having given out the garage combination, and she was right. I should have told him to get it from them, and I admitted that I'd made an error in judgment. Since I had just returned from 10 days on Eastern time, I claimed jetlag.

She actually thanked me for telling them about it. I still feel smarmy, but I'd feel a lot worse if something happened to us or any of the nice people who live in this building legally.

curmudgeon said...

Q-"Why does every errant hedgeborn canker blossom end up living right next door to me?"

A-Because they're not reported to the manager.

flutter said...

hedgeborn canker blossom. THAT is friggin great.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


True. I am justifying my snitching by the fact that we live in a "good" neighborhood, and part of what we pay for is the knowledge that the management company screens other tenants. When that system fails, there is no order.


That William gets 'em every time.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


I can only say that I don't think the coffee burn was related at all.

The humane society is a good call. I would definitely do it.

And, as I mentioned before when we discussed this last, I would definitely call the property management about these sub-plot subletters.

They need to be subdued.

Best of luck with it,

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Ian Lidster said...

That's all kind of creepy, and I'd blow the whistle on them, just for the sake of the poor Basset, not to mention yourselves.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I did. It seems I'm not quite as subversive as I thought. Now we'll see if anyone gets subdued, as you subjunctively subgested.


I was out for awhile and haven't heard the dog since I returned, but you can be sure I'll call the Human Society before the day is over if I hear another distressed dog sound.

mist1 said...

I don't see calling because you are concerned about your security and an animal as burning someone.

It's burning them if you just don't like them and are calling out of spite.

EsLocura said...

good for you for letting the managers know, it's not a bad thing when security is an issue. bad karma happens when you do things from a bad heart not when you stand up for your rights.

thailandchani said...

My favorite Shakespearean insult:

Thou fobbing onion-eyed death-token!

It just makes me laugh!

As for those neighbors, I would say the musical residents is harmless .. but if they are mistreating an animal, well, that's quite a different thing!

Leave this note for them... which will probably scare them away forever!

Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be worn in my cap than to wait at my heels.

Well, now that my brain is shredding from trying to remember these insults, I will take my leave which I'm sure I can not take anything from you which you would not more willingly part withal.



~Chani, who never thought those boring lit classes would come in handy one day

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like your assessment, and am going to assume that the fact that I also don't like them is collateral damage, not spite.


I think I reached critical mass when I learned that there was yet another illegal tenant, with a neglected dog. The apartment next door began to seem like a flophouse with rooms by the hour.


Ah, but thou dost putteth me to shame.

Thou whoreson mandrake fobbing onion-eyed death token... I got woids, man, an' I ain't afraid t'use 'em.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I was with Flip earlier about lettting sleeping dogs lie (but you now seem to have a howling one). However, if you feel your security is being compromised then please don't hesitate. You should feel safe in your own home.

Josie said...

The baying hound just gave you your reason to make that call. And, you're right. You did the right thing, especially since unauthorized people now have access to the common area. You shouldn't feel smarmy at all. They should.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No sleeping dogs here, or people either.


Isn't it strange that smarmy people never feel smarmy?

Lex said...

Not "errant hedgeborn canker blossom"!! Ha!

OK, I was hard on you the first time around, but I agree with Flip now. It's time to say something. That's nuts and I'm sorry, asking for the garage combination sounds like a con.

Blab it. Blab it all. Blab it loud.

The burn was only because you were distracted.

urban-urchin said...

yeah, I still say call.

thethinker said...

I would definitely let the landlord know now. I'm sure the burn was just an unlucky incident.

Sienna said...

Trust your gut instinct...(reporting-is good and safest move)

For every action there is a reaction...they chose to play with've been more than generous..(sorry 'bout your finger tho')

Stay well, stay safe.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


I did call. It's out of my hands now.


Yup. The deed is done.

There's no way to tell what will happen next. I'll just hide and watch.


It wasn't a very bad burn. I doused it in aloe, and then drank my coffee.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I don't like to be a snitch, but I have my limits. They were exceeded.

Thanks for the good thoughts.

CS said...

I guess the errant hedegborn canker blossoms have to live somewhere. But I'm with Flip - it is now time to report. How do you know the burn doesn't reprsent the universes's attempt to light a fire under you and get you to take action?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oooh, I never thought of that. I like it!

The universe has lit many fires under me, some of them actual and not proverbial, so why should I be surprised?

Maybe my burned finger is now fine because I made the call.

meno said...

You are not a snitch. There needs to be some control over who the hell is in your building.

I hope someone takes care of the poor doggy.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


So do I. The baying had stopped when I got home, so the dog seems to be gone.

I don't think there will be any developments over the weekend as the management company is closed.

eastcoastdweller said...

Few, scarce, blessed indeed are the souls with good neighbors.

I used to be neighbors with a guy who would share fresh fish with me from his weekend excursions.

Now that house is occupied by lowlifes who ruin Saturday morning with loud music and who attract gangs of punks to play basketball in their front yard, accompanied by constant, loud and vicious cursing.

MsLittlePea said...

I think you did the right thing. I can't wait to find the perfect situation in which to say: hedgeborn canker blossom.

Deb said...

Canker Blossom is from A Midsummer Night's Dream.. I love that one.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Apparently, my neighbors have relatives on the East coast.

You may have to take up fishing -- or learn to set land mines.

Sweet Pea,

It's hard to think of a conversation in which it wouldn't be appropriate.


I'm sure you're right! "Canker blossom, you thief of love."

I'm going to call you every time I need to know something.

velvet said...

Now was definitely time to blow the whistle on this hand-me-down illegal sublet because security is now an issue. There's no a question that it needed to be done.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm pretty sure the management company will do something, not because of our security but because they're losing money on the deal.

kim said...

id wait till i was good and pissed over a major infraction and then all bets are off and i wouldnt feel guilty about it :) cuz just telling on them seems like being mean spirited and tattling?

Jocelyn said...

I'm always glad I read your posts. You are a rare treat in this world of blogging.

But for your closing question alone, I am grateful to have read this post.

Burn the neighbors, btw; that's my vote.

lacubanagringa said...

Dude. Call. Now.

PS - Did you ACTUALLY give that guy the combination???

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Does hitting our car in the garage qualify when the one who did it isn't even officially a tenant in the building? Because if it does, bingo.


Thanks for voting. My intent wasn't really to burn them, but to protect us, and to get back a measure of the quiet enjoyment of the premises we are supposedly guaranteed under our rental arrangement.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cubana Gringa,

I did, yesterday.

I also realized after I spoke with management that I hadn't actually given him the combo, as I stated. He already knew it, but was having trouble making it work.

I simply told him that he had to wait for the red light to flash on the keypad before keying in the numbers, a trick I learned from the cleaning crew that comes every week.

The CEO said...

As usual, everything worthwhile has already been said.

I mentioned once before that this entire situation would have never occurred of the management company had cared about their job to begin with. Depending on the tenants to tell them that other tenants have moved out simply means that they should give someone their place rent free to manage the property on site. Consider the revenue they lost with the number of people moving in and out, plus the implied threat to the decent tenants not performing illegal acts and possibly being enticed into allowing more violent crime to be perpetrated on unsuspecting johns by pimps in the property. Not that I have an opinion, naturally.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's a small building with only 9 apartments. It wouldn't make fiscal sense to have an on-site manager.

The company manages many properties, several of which are owned by the same person.

They don't depend on tenants to tell them anything. They just got lucky.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I think you should call the landlord and maybe even move. Having lived (five years) in Venice beach "pre-gentrification" mid-V13 arising, it's simply not worth the drama. I mean, I slept in my bathtub for three days during the LA riots.

Plus the barking dog? Enough said. It's time to start looking for different pastures.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Oh, btw, crack smells really, really bad when you cook it. I learned this when I lived in Oakland across from a crack head. Really bad. You'd know it if they were cooking next door to you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I would like to move, but can't decide where. We love SF, and this is otherwise a great neighborhood, but we miss having a house and garden.

Thanks for the intelligence on what crack smells like. So far, so good, then.

We're still waiting to see if the landlord does anything about the situation next door, but so far, there is not even an eviction notice on the door.

CS said...

See, there you go, and the universe is now back in balance. Momentarily.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Interestingly, nothing has happened. I would have thought that the management company would get on it as they (and the owner, who employs them) are losing money on the deal.

But there is no eviction notice on the door, nor have I seen any evidence that they do, in fact, give a damn.

And the dog is either dead or gone, hopefully the latter.