Here is a tale of much fucked-upness.
So, I get home from work today, and my Downstairs Neighbor (DN) is waiting for me. She asks if I've heard from LandLord (LL). I have not. She gives me a *look* and says, "well, she's called me three times to tell me my car is parked in front of the neighbor's house. It isn't. I told her the first time it was your car."
Let me back up. Between us, DN and Mr. Plain(s)feminist and I have four cars. Now that Mr. P is living here, both of our cars, and one of DN's cars, are on the street in front of our house, because LL has not yet fixed our garage doors, which stopped opening last month. So, for the past week or so, Mr. P or I have been parking in front of the house next door. I've felt badly about it, but it couldn't be helped; there is no other place to park. I mean, no matter where I park, it will be in front of someone else's house, and I figured that it was temporary, and that the garage would be fixed soon, so it wasn't too big of a deal.
NextDoor Neighbor (NXDN) has "issues" with her parking space, and is very uncomfortable with anyone parking in front of her house. She hates to use her garage, you see, and was clearly beside herself that anyone would park in front of her house. Anyway, I had no idea that she was so upset until today, when I heard that she had been calling LL to complain. Rather than come next door and knock on the door and ask us if we could please park down the street a little further, she called LL. (When I spoke with NXDN today, she suggested that perhaps I wasn't used to living in the city and didn't understand city etiquette, which entailed not parking in front of someone else's house. I pointed out that I'd lived in several cities, and that where I was from, when a neighbor had a problem with another neighbor, they would go next door to discuss it with them.)
Let's examine this, shall we? What kind of privilege does one need to have to not think that maybe calling someone's landlord to complain about them might have consequences for the tenant? And further, what would make someone call the landlord rather than just calling the next door neighbor?
When NXDN called LL, she mentioned the green car, which was mine. DN has a green truck. LL called DN to complain about her green truck. DN told LL it was my green *car* and not her green *truck*, and that LL should call me. LL didn't. Then she called DN twice more over the next several days to tell her to move her car (which was not parked in front of NXDN's house). Meanwhile, when DN calls LL, LL doesn't return her calls. When I call, though, LL returns my calls immediately. And while LL doesn't get most things fixed promptly, she does seem to make an effort to fix the things *I* call about. (DN's garage door didn't get fixed until *I* called about it.)
While I was talking with DN, then NXDN, then DN again, I later learned, LL was on the phone, now finally having decided to yell at Mr. P, who reminded her that if she'd fix the garage door, we wouldn't have this problem (which shut her up).
So the consequence of NXDN calling LL, in this instance, is that DN, one of the best neighbors I've ever had, and a friend, was blamed for my error and is now beside herself, sick of the shit and ready to find another place to live.
You know, I get the territorial behavior over the parking space. I get that NXDN wants things to be the way they always have been, and that she is threatened by people who obviously don't seem to know the rules of her neighborhood and who are messing up her evenings by forcing her to park in the garage, which she's afraid to do at night. I get it because I am exactly the same: I want my parking space, and I don't like parking in the garage, and I feel annoyed when people do little things that make me change my routine. I want my things where I want them, and I want other people to respect my space. And I know that this is petty.
And I also get that she, too, knew that this was petty, and that this is why she called LL instead of tracking me down. It was easier and less direct to call LL than to confront me. It's like when the people down the hall are having a large party and someone calls the police instead of telling them to turn down the music. No one wants to be the "turn down the music" neighbor.
And I get, as well, that in her comfortable life, NXDN didn't think about what it might mean to call the white landlord of a Black tenant to complain about something. She saw "her" space with my car in it, she noticed that DN occasionally parked far enough back that, when I parked behind her, I was in front of NXDN's house. She felt angry in the way that only privileged people can get angry (and I know this, because I've been there, too); angry about something to which she felt entitled but which was not actually hers - there's no law that governs the street - that was suddenly taken away from her.
So NXDN has her parking space back, and DN is in the process of deciding how long to stay here.
Meanwhile, DN offered me her parking space for tonight, so that I could move my car from in front of NXDN's house. (What was that about etiquette?)