Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bums and Bullies

VBB small animal hospital occupies the street end of the property, with the hedges, bushes, and trees arrayed to one side across the parking area and scattered about the back half of our land. We have plenty of room to air our dogs in the back half (away from the street), and the time spent patiently waiting whilst the dogs finish their sniffing and their other tasks can be spent listening to the birds. One bunch of bushes sports red flowers, and the hummingbirds nest in there. We've had killdeer nesting in the weeds, and there generally are some mockingbirds and jays lending their noise. I invite the dogs to go “out” often, for back there is a haven of sorts away from the crazy and the stress that packs the inside of the hospital.

It's not a national park back there. But then I don't need to pack the travel trailer and tug it for hours to get there. I'm generally better adjusted when I return to the grind. I love the place for doing that for me.

So perhaps you can understand our outrage when each spring some folks find our back property the perfect place to dump pickup loads of garbage, mattresses, old furniture, and tree prunings. We so look forward to spring cleaning time.

Oh, and the relative solitude and peace is a draw for the homeless people who make their nests back in our bushes. Most times they move in after dark, and move out in the mornings, unseen except for their trash left behind and the sure knowledge the local McDonalds has put locks on the bathroom doors, so they only buzz in their customers. The homeless are now left with only our bushes and the back walls of the hospital when they need to go “out”.

For years we were nice guys, and we didn't hassle them unless their behavior demanded it. Too many needles back there, too many broken bottles in the parking area, too many visits from the local police because of too many outstanding warrants, and we'd tell them to leave. We wouldn't kick them out if it was raining. We'd give them some time to find a new nest. But we'd eventually ask them to leave. They earned that.

I won't suggest that we felt sorry for them, for they clearly had earned their lot in life. But we tried not to punish them for their lives. We simply didn't wish to sacrifice too much of our lives to their bad judgment and behaviors.

These are not traditional people. Most have addictions. Many are mentally ill, with most all the varieties that make up that lot. And some are vindictive, dangerous folks. So sometimes we've paid for our audacity in asking them to leave.

Our cars have been broken into in broad daylight a dozen times over the years. Broken as in broken windows, that of course we paid to fix so that we could still afford auto insurance. Shortly after we told one guy to leave, he confronted me in the parking area. It was a week after Easter.

“Damn rich doctors, living in your house on top of the hill. You don't give a damn about the little people.”

Sounded like some of my clients, but that's another story.

“I'll bet you'd kick Jesus Christ off of your property.

I looked him right in the eye.

“You aren't Jesus Christ.”

The woman had lived in her tent in the back of the property all winter. We knew she was there, but she made no mess, didn't walk through the parking lot when clients were around, and you couldn't see her tent. She even had someplace else to ah.....go “out”... for she left none of that mess either. Then a guy moved in with her, bringing his drinking buddies.

When they began breaking bottles in the parking area at one in the afternoon, we tossed them out. The woman apologized. And I told her she was not the reason she had to leave.

A week later, the glass exit door at the front of the hospital was smeared with human feces, locks, handles, glass. It was a thorough, dedicated effort. We figure we know who did it, and he wasn't Jesus Christ.

A couple of months ago, we found a new nest way in the back. They'd rigged a camo tarp over the gap in the trees, so we'd not seen them for some time. They'd built a two room house from tarp and cardboard. One of my canine officers stopped by with a problem with his dog, and he was kind enough to invite them to leave. They left behind several truck loads of trash for us to clean.

A week later, my wife left the passenger window of her car open two inches. The car was parked behind the hospital. Someone urinated into the car. Pretty sure that wasn't Jesus Christ either.

So yeah, we know these folks are not right. And they can respond to normal situations with a variety of abnormal, often harmful and even dangerous behaviors. Like monkeys in the zoo that throw their shit at the people outside their bars, they make do with the most powerful weapons upon which they can lay their hands. And even, or especially when we try to help them, they eventually turn on us. And they hurt us as best they can.

No, they don't know any better. They likely think they are in the right. They likely think they are entitled. They are making do with the most powerful weapons upon which they can lay their hands to harm those they feel harm them. Us.

Kinda like those folks that show up on the net with their virulent, irrational hatred of veterinarians. They are condemned to their own reality. And when we try to help them, and their reality collides with the actual reality, they simply cannot recognize their roll, their blame, for the harm that they feel was deliberately laid upon them. Instead, they turn loose their hate. And we are handy target for their irrational response.

I suppose we should feel sorry for them, but we won't. Still, we won't punish them for how they fruitlessly try to cope with their own lives. But we will look both ways if we think they are around. For folks like that make the world a more unpleasant and dangerous place for the rest of us.









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