It's no secret. I love living in Old Town Alexandria. Growing up in suburban Ohio, I never imagined I'd see a traffic light out my bedroom window, let alone be just steps away from restaurants, bars, boutiques, places of historic significance, the waterfront and public transportation. But as much as I love where I live and the conveniences it affords me, there are of course some drawbacks. And I'm not just talking about lack of closet space, parking challenges, and the occasional rodent.

Over the years, I'm finding more and more that people take liberties with your property. Take for example my neighbor's beautiful garden, that comes to life each Spring in a location under her front windows. When returning home from work one day last month, she discovered all of her gorgeous tulips had been brazenly chopped off, taken for someone else's enjoyment. Here's her garden, still beautiful, but now tulip-less.




And then there's the case of my ongoing feud with the garbage man. Last year he informed me that my beautiful shrub "Bubba," lovingly planted by an elderly neighbor in the 90s, suddenly presented itself as an obstacle for his imposing beast of a vehicle. Despite the fact that the the city garbage truck has been successfully navigating our alley on garbage day for decades, a new driver took issue with our poor little shrub, indicating Bubba was blocking the route of his truck.



Here's a view of said shrub, back in 2003. (Please do your best to ignore our former back gate, which some friends likened to a port-o-john. Thankfully that monstrosity is long gone.)


When I challenged the new driver on this (kindly suggesting it may be his driving, not our shrub), he responded that he would have to take matters into his own hands (or wheels as the case may be). Each Monday evening, when returning home from work, Alex and I would discover a newly broken off or pancaked section of poor defenseless Bubba.


Eventually, deciding his vehicle weight and tires weren't doing s sufficient job of destroying this bush, our fine specimen of a city employee actually hacked him off at the knees with a saw! To say we were shocked is an understatement. Where on earth does this sense of entitlement come from? And when space is at a premium, are people more likely to overstep their boundaries? Is this what we must trade for the conveniences of city life? Or does it happen in the suburbs too?

Do you have a story about someone making themselves a little too at home in your home or taking liberties with your property? Any other stolen horticulture? Maybe a Mother-in-Law with no boundaries? Do tell.

In the meantime, I'm rooting for our little Bubba to rebound and show that two-ton truck who's boss. Judging from some recent growth, it looks like the odds are in our favor.


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