I have a neighbor who has been dumping garbage on a side lawn of my house, next to the street. 

I know why he's mad at me:  I use an airline respirator indoors because of severe allergies.  There's a motor mounted outside my house that pumps air to me, because the air in my house is contaminated with dog dander, and I've become severely allergic to it.  He hates the sound of the motor.  I've done everything I can to quiet the motor, but he hates it anyway. 

The guy is slightly psycho.  And I think he has problems with women and hates me for being female.

I'd like to catch him in the act.  I thought of getting a motion-activated videocam - but any other ideas?

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The videocam is a good idea, particularly if it has an infrared illuminator which HE won't see but which will make certain that HE IS SEEN.

Also have a conversation with the local police regarding this issue and ask for stepped up patrols of your street.  Let them know about the entire situation and that you are using surveillance as well.

ANY garbage he dumps onto your property should be photographed and the police notified.

Just a couple thoughts, but I hope useful ones.

I wonder if the police would take fingerprints off a bag of garbage. 

I'm worried about the guy because he's unstable and he's focusing on me. 

Check the garbage to see if there's any mail in it which has his name and address; including junk mail. That's generally good enough proof for criminal court (former prosecutor here). Loren's right about notifying the police. If you find any mail, keep it in a clear plastic baggie to give to the police, along with photos and video.

Nothing like that.  He's very wary and sneaky, he probably does these things at 2 AM.

I wish I could stop him from focusing on me.  Otherwise, if it isn't garbage it'll be something else. 

I've had neighbors like that. No contact, and/or trying to be nice didn't work; they were just assholes. My first thought was to drop him a note "I need the motor to breathe , i'm sorry for the noise". If you could get it on video, that would be sweet. Then, you'd have leverage. 

My first thought was to drop him a note "I need the motor to breathe , i'm sorry for the noise".

We've been through that.

Last spring he started leaving notes in my mailbox about the noise of the respirator motor and I explained what it was for (in return notes).  I said I'd soundproof it for him, but that I desperately needed to get my dog out of my house bc I was chronically ill with dog allergy, and I was building a kennel so she could live outside, and that would have to take priority.  I did partially soundproof it, though. 

I was chronically ill for 4 years, it was a mystery until I found out it was from dog allergy by doing experiments like staying at a motel and getting well, then exposing myself to dogs ... But by that time I had become very sensitive and the dander in my house makes me sick even though my dog is outside now, so I have this respirator pumping outside air to me, and I'm a lot healthier using it. 

His notes seemed very uncaring and hostile to me.  He has a surface personality that is mild and sociable, but underneath he is one crazy hostile bastard.  He's hostile from a distance, that's why he leaves notes rather than talking to me. 

He was threatening to call the police in these notes, eventually he did, and the police came to my door.  They were quite sympathetic, suggested maybe the dispute resolution program.  But then there were mechanical problems with the respirator motor and it got a lot louder, so they gave me a noise ticket.  I had to go talk to the prosecutor, who gave me a couple of weeks to reduce the noise.  I quieted it enough so the ticket was dismissed, so it's quiet enough now to pass the city's standards. 

But not quiet enough for my neighbor!  After the city said it was quiet enough, I moved the motor farther away from him and did the soundproofing right, further reducing the noise for my neighbor. 

But that isn't enough for him.  Nothing would satisfy him except for me to entirely quit running the respirator motor.  Last December I got another ranting note from him, saying it was an obnoxious industrial noise and even though it was a lot quieter, it was still there.  Apparently it bothers him when he walks past it, along the street!  and that's enough to cause him to rant at me.  There's no way he could hear it inside his house now, with the soundproofing, and people have their windows closed now that it's winter.  And, he complained that my dog "barked aggressively" from my yard, at someone who came to his house.  He's petted my dog, he knows she isn't mean, and it's totally normal for dogs to bark at people going by ...  I did quiet both my dog and the motor, but I didn't stop running the respirator motor, and that frustrates him (hence the garbage dumping). 

I had already told him to stop leaving notes in my mailbox.  I told him again this time, that he should knock on my door if he wanted to discuss something.  I'd rather deal with the mild-mannered side of him, not the striking from a distance hostility in the notes. 

But actually, I've realized that he may do this keeping-a-distance thing for a reason - because he needs to keep his craziness and hostility under wraps.  And I realized I shouldn't open the door to him, it may not be safe.  I just want this person to STAY AWAY and LEAVE ME ALONE. 

Stuff is definitely very "off" about him.  Years ago, I knocked on his door to ask him if he knew a good general contractor.  He pleasantly gave me some names, I got home and found out they were doctors!  Once his car windows had been broken by someone, I was saying sympathetic things and he just looked at me suspiciously, apparently thinking I might have done it.  About ten years ago an ambulance came to his house, siren wailing ... I went over there, knocked on the door and asked the guy who answered (not my neighbor) if there was anything I could do.  He looked at me, grinned, said my neighbor was very upset over the breakup with his girlfriend and maybe I could help by being the new girlfriend.  I indicated I wasn't interested, and I think this "friend" told my neighbor about it, because he turned hostile towards me after that.  I'd see him glaring at me from a distance, and have no clue about why (no noise, nothing to object to). 

That they would call an ambulance for something psychiatric, instead of just taking the person to the hospital, suggests he had to be forcibly restrained by the guys in white coats.  Maybe he was violent.  It sounds more like a scarily psychotic state than just "very upset", and I saw him awhile later very dopey, seemingly on heavy psychiatric drugs.   

I'm about 99% sure the garbage dumping is from him, because of the timing - shortly after his December letter, when I didn't turn off the hated motor for him and told him again to quit leaving notes.  Also, months earlier I found some kind of half-eaten piece of fruit in my yard, near his fence, so he did something similar and minor before.  It also fits his sneaky and hostile from a distance practices.  My neighbor on the other side also objected to the respirator noise, but he's actually told me he appreciates my efforts to reduce the noise, and he's sympathetic about the awful situation I'm in. 

He hasn't dumped more since.  But him fastening his hostility on my respirator motor is a scary thing and I wonder what's next. 

My dog is in a boarding kennel right now while I try to sort out my health problems.  I haven't managed to get well living in my house even using the respirator.  I seem to have developed a chronic inflammatory problem from being chronically exposed and I hope it'll go away if I avoid being exposed to dogs for awhile, so I might live away from my house for awhile.  But dogs are very important to me and I don't want to have to give my dog up, who is very sweet and beautiful, if there's anything I can do about it. 

Move.

If misogyny is at the root of this behavior, then it seems to me that the motor is just a convenient point for him to focus that aggression on...there is a potential for violence, so, as much as I hate to say it, moving may be the power move. 

Permalink Reply by Christian 5 hours ago

If misogyny is at the root of this behavior, then it seems to me that the motor is just a convenient point for him to focus that aggression on...

I've seen his anger about a sense of rejection.  Last spring when he was trying the legal methods, I suggested we talk about it and we had a couple of conversations.  A few times he said things like, he was going to be out of town on some weekend, and that he wanted to sell his house and he thought my respirator motor would lower the market value.  I looked very relieved to hear of him possibly going away and I saw him looking very angry about it.  He seemed very angry in general and he said harsh things about how I was turning the neighborhood into an industrial zone, etc.

I thought, what the hell does he expect?  he's doing his best to get me prosecuted for a noise violation, which is a criminal offense here, he's putting me through a huge amount of stress over it and I got quite underweight from all the stress ... of course I feel relieved to think of him leaving! 

He has a LOT of anger about rejection by women.  I tapped into something intense at a very bad time, when I let this "friend" of his know I wasn't interested.  I put it in quotes bc it would be horribly inconsiderate for a "friend" to pass this on to him, if that's what happened. 

I went for a short walk in the woods a few years ago with this neighbor and the woman who was (non-romantically) renting a room from him at the time.  He was going on about how he would like to hang people who don't recycle from the trees!  He tends to couch his anger in self-righteous moralistic terms.   

Yes, I might have to sell my house.  It would be expensive to do that right now, because when I was trying to find why I was so sick, I tore it up a lot searching for mold, the bathroom is torn down to the subflooring, the shower/bathtub isn't connected, and I tore down a below-grade wall.  Mold is what allergist I was seeing, suspected was making me sick.  I did find mold, the sealing around the foundation was leaking and there was a LOT of rot in the below-grade wall.  It would take a good deal of time to get those things rebuilt, I have been concentrating on cleaning dander out.  It would be expensive to sell my house in this torn-apart state. 

Mold can actually cause allergies to other things, I've heard - it seems that being chronically exposed to mold irritates one's nasal tissues a lot and might cause other allergies to develop.  So the rot in the below-grade wall might be part of the cause for my severe allergy problems over the past ten years.  A few years ago when I got allergy testing I had 54 allergies!  Actually, I've also seen research indicating that exposure to animal dander makes one react more to other allergens. 

I haven't been well for an extended time since I found out that I have a severe dog allergy, and not being exposed to dogs for awhile is something I need to try before doing anything drastic.  My recent allergy tests have actually been negative, but I'm sure from my experiences that I do have a dog allergy.  There's a lot of research that shows people can have local allergies in the nose(with negative allergy tests) and it's suggested that this is something that can happen from chronic exposure.  Since my dog is in a boarding kennel right now, I'm looking into renting a place or something for a couple months and not be subjected to allergens, and see if I can get over whatever is going on with this chronic inflammatory state.

It's difficult because I'm extremely sensitive right now.  Last spring I went away on a 3-week vacation, with my dog in a boarding kennel.  I rented a car, and I stayed slightly sick for the first couple weeks.  I drove 7 hours straight going back to my hometown, I could feel liquid flowing in my head at a great rate as I was driving, and when I stopped for a rest I felt quite sick, and that was when I decided that pet allergens in the rental car had been making me sick - even though I'd been driving with all the windows open and wind blowing in my face, enough dander (I think) was getting into my nose to make me sick! After I got back I returned the rental car and I stayed in a pet-free motel for awhile, and I stayed sick.  I found out this place had allowed pets a couple years earlier - so I think the dander from a couple years earlier was keeping me sick.  Then I moved to a motel with a pet-free building that hasn't ever allowed pets, and I got well.  

I likely also have a cat allergy, I might try petting a cat for a bit to check.  I don't know how often people sneak cats into supposedly no-pets apartments. 

Doctors haven't been very informative, little is known about local allergies and how they work, it's recent research. 

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