Monday, August 13, 2007

Restraining Order Fu!

I think I really can tell David Lebovitz how to get a restraining order. Maybe I can even write Restraining Orders For Dummies*. Because I filed to start the process for My First Restraining Order. As landmarks go, it's considerably less fun than the first time the tooth fairy comes, or the first day of kindergarten. And instead of cute pictures of me all gap-toothed, it comes with pictures like this:
I ended up calling the police after a little chat with my neighbor the other day (this picture is not from them coming to my house). I was nefariously (as only a poor living skin and bones whore would do) loading my kids and two visiting nephews into the car to take them to the zoo and saw my neighbor backing her car out of her driveway. She stopped it, turned it off, got out, walked over, and commenced to spit in my yard. I promptly moved to ask her to cut it the f*** out. It led to this conversation:

Me: Please stop that. It’s not nice. [in the past, pointing out that something isn't nice has, actually, worked to get her to reconsider, so I usually give it the old college try]
Crazy Neighbor: [ptooey, ptooey, ptooey] Shaddap! Shaddap, you bitch! Shaddap!
Me: Stop that.
Crazy Neighbor: You ruin my yard! You ruin my yard! [Other neighbors walk onto the sidewalk to see if we’re okay. I wave to them. They wave back and make dialing motions with a sort of questioning gesture. I shake my head.]
Me: I wouldn’t hurt you [thinking, though: however much I might like to kick your ass, it would be inappropriate to beat up an 80-year-old crazy lady for spitting].
Crazy Neighbor: [ptooey. Ptooey. Ptooey. Ptooey.] I spit in your yard until you use Weed ‘n’ Feed! You use it! You do it!
Me: Uh… [seriously, what do you say to ultimatums regarding Weed ‘n’ Feed? Emily Post doesn’t cover that one]. What?
Crazy Neighbor: Shaddap! Shaddap! Shaddap! Shaddap! Whore! Whore!

I thought about it (while watching live fish being fed to piranhas at the zoo- at this point, I should properly introduce myself to the keeper), and decided that it was time to start filing police reports in case I decided to get a restraining order. The police came, were very sweet, and urged me (with enough information to make me agree) to get a restraining order right away. In the past, they've suggested that it might be a good idea, but never so forcefully and anxiously, so I went downtown to file for one, and enjoyed a good session of Restraining Order Scavenger Hunt. In which I also got to have a 6 foot guy lurching around on the sidewalk tap on several people near him and say, pointing at me, "Wooo! Would you get a look at that?!" Really, I can use a boost as much as the next girl, but it's just not the same when the guy then walks into the bus stop because he clearly is so out of it (I exaggerate. He almost staggered into the bus stop, but managed to miss it). It made it an obstacle course and a scavenger hunt. With metal detectors at every building en route!
So, if you need a restraining order, go to the District Court, not Municipal Court or City Hall. I'm just saying.

So tomorrow, I get to go to court with my crazy neighbor. It should be interesting.
*For reference, I don't intend to make light of people who have a more serious need for a restraining order than I do, but in this case, it's a little easier for me to make jokes about it. The system forces victims of harassment (domestic violence or other forms) to devote time, money and energy to simply getting an anti-harassment order, and the onus is on the victim to document, file police reports and in general, be harassed by the workload of proving they're harassed. To an extent, it's fair, as otherwise it would be easy to denounce someone, KGB-style. Still. I have family willing to watch the kids, neighbors willing to testify, enough money that the $63 fee for filing isn't onerous... but it makes me mad, because obviously, there are many people without those resources.


AJD said...

80 or not, she makes your 'big' sister want to come out and strenuously remind her that even crazy people don't get to be that nasty.
And to start thinking of creative ways to say know, friendly things like "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean I'm not out to get you if you don't leave my sister & her family alone".

Meg said...

That's... sweet. In a sort of scary way. I'm glad you're on my side, not hers.