Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Camera is Mightier Than the Sword

Every spring it's the same old problem here in the teeny tiny condo. There is a junior high on the next block and we have a courtyard between the two buildings of our complex.

The teens love to walk down to the Red Mile grab a slice or a burger and then meander back to our courtyard to enjoy it. Problem is, I don't enjoy them.
They are loud, profane and usually feel free to leave their garbage behind. I watched, astonished, as a young man opened his foil wrapped burger, lifted the top bun and threw the tomato and lettuce on our lawn. Then he proceeded to eat his burger, wad up the wrapper and throw it on the lawn as well.

Excuse me? This is my home.

They smoke, (leave their butts), skateboard on our cobblestones, (breaking them down), scream with laughter (disrupting the Nameless Man on his conference calls), swear like sailors (sorry to offend any sailors) and throw their garbage around.

Yesterday I watched from my balcony as two young girls in short dressy cocktail type dresses walked up the alley, munching on a slice of pizza. One looked stealthily around, and then assuming she was free from prying eyes, threw her pizza crust into the flower beds that border the back of the condo property. So, I said, "Hey. Do I come to your house and throw stuff all over your yard?" She was shocked when she looked up to see me standing there but I`ll give her credit. She reluctantly teetered back over to pick up the crust and drop it into one of the 6 garbage cans directly across the alley.
Earlier, three teens with skateboards were skating around and swearing. I went out and said, `Guys, this is private property so I`ll have to ask you to leave.`Immediately, their self appointed buttonhead acted all, `Wha?" and "Us?" and "There's a sign? Where? What sign?" and giving me all kinds of attitude. I asked flat out, "Do you live here?" and of course the answer was negative. They eventually swggered off, their progress somewhat impeded by the waist of their pants holding their knees together. Is that still in style?!

Since I work from home, I see and hear a lot of what goes on around here during the day. Far more than I want to, let me tell you!
In years past, WD and I have backed each other up as we have confronted and chased these kids away. Two of them covered our entire intercom system at the parkade entrance with Pepto Bismol pink spray paint. Nearly the entire unit, they missed the pinhole camera that lets us see who is calling for entry. Heh heh. They sure were surprised when the police showed up at their school with their pictures. Unfortunately, there was no recourse for the little monor darlings. They never even had to apologize, let alone pay to have the paint cleaned out of the intercom buttons.

I have called their school after one young lad mistook our courtyard for a urinal. Although the administrator I spoke to was apologetic, they never sent the kid back to scrub off the pee which is what would have happened back in my day. If you got in trouble, you got it at school and then again when you got home. Am I dating myself here?
Every spring is another session of futility but I think I have finally hit on the ultimate weapon.
They aren't ascared of me, all 5'2" of middle-aged me with my head barely clearing the balcony rail asking or TELLING them to get off this property. When I was on the board of directors here, we hung signs and put up gates blocking access to the courtyard. It didn`t do any good at all.

So now, I have escalated the fight and brought in a weapon. I now walk softly and carry a Canon.

Today when Tikki alerted me (by incessantly barking as is his wont) we had uninvited guests, I took my camera and headed out to the balcony. I pointed it at them and then advised them I have taken all their pictures and if I see them here again, any damage or vandalism found AT ALL will be blamed on them.

I'm sure taking their picture would violate their rights somehow. Privacy law maybe? So, I didn't actually take the pictures. I just pointed the Canon and let them run.

After I soothed my sore muscles in my arms from all the back patting, I was thinking about how much was written and talked about the situation in China but, until we saw the photos from Tiannamen Square it never grazed many of our conciousness.
My situation is of course not approaching any dramatic level but it's pretty interesting to see how even tough, mouthy teens are terrified of a camera. Somehow, you are much more accountable when you have been filmed. Unless you are a Hollywood starlet in a hotel room. Then you have a fledgling career.

I'll let you know if I have to get a tank.


  1. I can totally relate. The building where I work is between two high schools. One of my duties is to ensure the lawn and walkways are free of litter. At least I'm getting lots of fresh air and exercise......

  2. I came over here to read your post hours ago and just now finally finished (due to b.s. from a job).

    I can relate also (along with bl) because teens and interlopers in general are all slobs! And using your camera to nab them is an excellent idea. I sure hope you don't find yourself taking a picture of them lobbing eggs at you while you're sticking your face over the balcony.

  3. Bag Lady, don't discount the thrill of observing teens in their natural state. *sigh* We were never like this, were we?

    LOL POD, I could run back and forth like a duck in a carnival shooting gallery!