‘Not My Trash’ — and ‘Not My Trash’

At The Rainbow shares a driveway with its northern neighbors, Charles S. and Mary Lee Trnka.

The Trnka’s are very conscientious people. At The Rainbow is on the uphill side of the shared driveway culvert, and I was told by Charles that whenever the pipe gets blocked it is our fault because the leaves came in our end of the pipe. And anything that comes out of it to cause their lawn problems is our responsibility.

Charles is very meticulous in going over his side of the driveway and picking out the most minute pieces of trash that he finds among the piles of leaves that he allows on his lawn and driveway. He takes all these pieces and very ceremoniously drops them onto our side of the driveway, with the statement “Not My Trash.”

I, of course, look at him, and agree. “Not My Trash.” Just like all the beer bottles and other drink cups that end up on my front slope and drainage ditch which aren’t mine. Yet he knows without a doubt that every bit of trash that lands on his property is something that I sent there from At The Rainbow. We have this whole project to strew trash onto his property, so he can have something to throw back at us.

Returning to the subject of the culvert. When I called a city crew out to help clean out the drainage ditches, the person had nothing to say but compliments for the pristine condition of the At The Rainbow ditch, but Charles would not let him clean out the built-up silt on their side, even though the silt was starting to occlude the exit of the culvert.

Charles also announced that the culvert had never been plugged. Which I found curious, since three years ago, with the water backing up on my side and going over the top of the driveway and across the street and down the neighbor’s driveway, I traced the stoppage to a blockage on the Trnka end of the pipe, and when informing Charles got nothing done I removed a blockage from his half of the pipe which I determined to have started from a creature dragging things into the culvert from his end. The Culvert isn’t quite a decade old, the whole street having been redone for new water mains, but because of his lack of maintenance, the pipe is already heaved and cracked on his half.

Contrary to the Trnka’s belief, Culvert repair is property owner responsibility, though if the owner pays for the materials the city will furnish the labor for free. Since my half of the culvert is fine, if they determine it has to be repaired, I don’t think At The Rainbow should have to pay for repairs caused by neglect and lack of regular maintenance by the Trnka’s on their half.

Now if I flip back to leaves, It seems I am responsible for allowing any leaves into our culvert, since they usually enter from my end. But the Trnka’s aren’t responsible for not clearing any of their leaves, but letting them set all over their lawn and pile up in their drainage ditch. They stay there until a good rain carries them down hill to their northern neighbor, A retired gentleman and his wife who have the neatest and cleanest lawn on the street, leaves swept up and immaculate. They get their culvert plugged by Trnka’s leaves with almost any rainstorm, but that is his responsibility, not the Trnka’s.

Returning to the subject of trash, any trash that the wind blows onto my property, I clean up. Unless you can determine who put it on your property, it becomes your responsibility. Since I can see that Charles is putting said trash on my property, I can call what he does littering, and send the responsibility back to him. So far I have just cleaned it up.

As a real-life example of the other side of the trash equation, several years ago on our trash collection day, I carried out our allotted two bags of trash to the curb, only to find there were already two bags there, with nothing to tell me who had placed them there. I called the city, and was told, sorry, yours to take care of. Fortunately, two neighbors had only one bag that week and let me put our bags with theirs.

It took me awhile to put things together, but I realized the common denominator. The Trnka’s, in their understanding, aren’t responsible for anything. Not the culvert, not maintenance of even their side of the shared driveway, and do no maintenance on the outside of their house, whose peach color is almost positively black on its northern exposure from accumulated mold and moss.

I judge their opinion Incompetent, Irrelevant and Immaterial

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