Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pet peeves

In a posting earlier this summer I believe I referred to Madison Park as an oasis within the urban jungle, or perhaps I claimed that our neighborhood was an island of tranquility in a sea of troubles. Whatever overwrought metaphor I may have used, my argument was based on some sound evidence: comparing the level and types of crimes committed on our .91 square miles of the City to what goes on daily in a lot of the rest of this town shows that we’ve got it good.

Now I think there’s fresh evidence for my point about the relative tranquility we enjoy down here at the end of the road. It has to do with the story ideas for this blog that my neighbors keep coming up with. Let’s just say that these suggestions are not the kinds of things that most Seattle neighborhood blogs would find noteworthy. Not that this is much of a surprise, but I can say categorically (assuming that my neighbors are representative) that unlike many places in the City, ours is not a community with a lot of urban angst, social disconnect, or even anti-corporate passions. We’re apparently not so much “mad at The Man” as we are irritated with each other—and with those interlopers who come here and flout the rules.

Actually, I’d put most of our concerns about the neighborhood squarely at the level where they belong: in the category of pet peeves. This is not to say that there aren’t some big issues that Madison Parkers can get worked up about, such as preservation versus development. But to be frank, a lot of the things that really seem to disturb us are, well, a bit pedestrian.

So evaluate my proposition for yourself. Here’s a (semi-complete) list of the teeth-gnashing concerns that people in the ‘hood get so hacked off about that they think it’s worth my blogging about:

People who allow their dogs to roam freely and, as the British might say, foul the footpath—not to mention a lot of other parts of the neighborhood landscape. This is by far the most mentioned pet peeve.

People who walk or run their dogs and still don’t control what their dogs may leave behind. [My neighbors on the 1600 block of 43rd Avenue East provide the social commentary pictured above.]

People who park their boat and trailer rigs on the street in front of their houses for days or weeks at a time in violation of City ordinance.

People who park their boat and trailer rigs on the street in front of other people’s houses (often on a different street than their own) for days or weeks at a time in violation of City ordinance. (These are apparently people who have been warned off by the neighbors on their own streets).

People who allow their trees and other landscaping to encroach onto the public right of way, narrowing access to sidewalks and, in some cases, creating a hazard for walkers and runners.

People who drive down East Madison Street and at the intersection of E. Howe Street make a u-turn around the traffic island, ignoring the “Do Not Enter” sign, and then heading back up Madison in order to park on the other side of the street.

People who drive down East Madison Street, make the right turn on to E. Howe Street, but then turn right onto 43rd Avenue E., ignoring the “Do Not Enter” sign in order to park facing the wrong direction in one of the back-in angle parking slots by the beach.

People who hire people who use leaf blowers to blow grass clippings and other debris all over the place, often onto their neighbors property. (Okay, I admit that no one asked me to do a story on this. It’s my own pet peeve. But really, I ask you, is it necessary or environmentally or socially responsible to be using our energy resources this way while simultaneously fouling the air and causing noise pollution? And does it have to be done at 7:30 in the morning?)

Anyway, you get the idea. If these are our big issues, we’ve got it good.

[Did I not mention your own personal pet peeve? If so, please post it in the comments section below or email me. We'll get to it.]


  1. So true - leafblowers are evil. What's wrong with brooms?

  2. Funny, that's a photo of our 'pick up after your pet' sign. Unfortunately, it was stolen only days after we got it. Needless to say we won't be replacing it. I suppose people simply do not care if they leave their pet's mess on your lawn.



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