Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Part II - You still can't fight crazy.

It's like entropy.  You can try as much as you want to create order, but chaos always prevails.

The board meeting

A few weeks have passed since the in-person encounter and subsequent email, so in my mind this issue is resolved (See Part I if you are just joining us).  We have proven to this woman that it is not our cars, they have moved onto harassing someone else, and we've all moved on with our lives.

A few nights ago I get an email from the homeowners association board inviting us to attend the board meeting this Tuesday night.

Why would I attend?  The issue is over.  We've moved on.  Or so I think.

A long day

Today has not been a great day at work.  As I'm looming in on a deadline, each day is a roller coaster.  At 4pm I realize a new crisis has sprung up and I spend the next 2 1/2 hours crafting a solution that will take 3 days and a weekend to implement.  I leave work at 6:30pm (way later than the 4:30pm I was planning on) and I barely make it home in time to play with the kids before bath time.  As we are getting ready for baths, Jeremy reminds me that one of us should attend this board meeting.

Ugh, fine.  I'll go.  I'm taking my wingman.

Jesse, the wingman.

So Jesse and I head up to this meeting.  He's my out if things go bad.  It becomes immediately clear that I will need him.  "ooh the baby, how cute"

There are a handful of people in the living room of this woman's house.  Let me introduce them to you.

Sane Woman #1 - maybe the president?
Sane Man #1 - some other board member
Polite Lady #1 - a new neighbor
Polite Man #1 - another new neighbor, possibly married to Polite Lady #1
Old Lady - very nice, but easily swayed by whatever the most recent comment was.
Other New Lady - couldn't really see her, she didn't talk
Crazy Woman #1 - this really needs no explanation
Crazy Man #1 - Crazy Woman #1's husband.  It is yet undetermined whether he is crazy or if his life is just made easier by appeasing his wife instead of pointing out her crazy.

The meeting has already begun but they stop their business to attend to the issue at hand.

(side note - what issue?  There is NO issue)

The memo

Crazy Woman #1 goes first.  She's written a memo to read aloud.  It's almost 2 pages long.

I politely sit there listening to her and making mental notes.

In her memo she has presented the following "data".

1) Each night the sound wakes her up, she looks outside and writes down which cars are parked on the street.

2) On the nights she hears the sounds, Jeremy's car or my car are parked out front.  But somehow she is sure it is the Toyota that she hears. "It's the louder one"

3) On the nights that Jeremy's car is parked in the garage, she hears my car.

4) On some nights she knows it has to be our car because there are no other cars parked on the street.  (um, really?  when this ever happen?)

5) On the nights she hears no sound, she wakes in the morning to see that neither of our cars are parked within 4 cars of her window.  (Apparently she can distinguish between the red Honda and red Mazda from her 3rd story window.  Also apparently she gets up before I leave, a point I forget to question her on)

6) She knows it's both of these cars because she hears us come home and lock them in the evening.  She is sure it is the same sound.

There may have been some other points, but that's the gist of it.

You still can't fight crazy.

It's my turn.

"First, it's not my car.  I promise you that I do not wake up in the middle of the night just to lock my car.  The only time that I am up is because of this kid (pointing at Jesse)."  (Sane Woman #1 laughs) "Secondly, Jeremy put apps on our phones that are sound activated noise apps and they have picked up no noise coming from the cars at night"

Before I can continue Crazy Man #1 pipes in.  "But that doesn't prove anything.  Those microphones aren't that good, they don't work well"

Me - "So you're telling me that my $700 cell phone cannot detect a noise IN THE CAR, but you can detect that same noise through your 3rd story windows while you are sleeping?"

Crazy Man #1 - "yes.  I know about smartphones."

Sane Woman #1 shakes her head in amusement.

Yep, still can't fight crazy.

I continue.

"Furthermore you claim that it is both of our cars making this noise but NO other cars on the street make it.  Do you know the probability that just our two cars, of two different makes and models, make this noise, randomly, only in the middle of the night, and only independently of each other.  It's astronomical.  That's insane."  (hands waving with big gestures for effect)

Crazy Man #1 - "It can happen.  Another man in the neighborhood, Tom, had to have both his car alarms replaced because they randomly went off."

At this point Sane Man #1 and Sane Woman #1 are both shaking their heads.  I'm fairly sure Sane Woman #1 is trying her best not to start laughing.

Crazy Man #1 has now informed me that he knows about car alarms.  Apparently this is in addition to his vast knowledge of smart phones.

Old Lady says that Crazy Woman #1 has presented compelling "data" and also very politely informs me that there is a rule that I may not know about that states you must park one of your 2 vehicles in your garage because of limited street parking places.  (Side note: I have just consulted said rules and this rule does not exist.  I did not know that at the time, so I did not rebut it).

Crazy Woman #1 thinks this is a great idea.

I politely inform her that I may do that on certain nights, but there are mornings that we get up at 4am to workout and I will move my car out to the street and lock it during that time.  (seriously, when else am I supposed to work out?)

Crazy Woman #1 thinks this is acceptable as long as I park it in front of my driveway and not by the curb which is in front of her window.  Apparently the properties of sound travel still allude her.

I am then further asked by Crazy Woman #1 to park the Toyota in my garage and the other car down the street at least 4 cars so it does not bother her.  Apparently 4 cars is her threshold.

Quick Analysis 

Lets stop here and analyze this for a moment.  I've provided a napkin diagram here for visualization.

You can see in the diagram both houses, mine to the right, her's to the left.  They both sit on the street in the same frontal plane as each other.

From her data she has concluded that she cannot hear the noise if the car(s) are not parked within 4 cars of her house.  Due to the nature of the road, this must mean to the left as the road curves after our house to the right.  I've circled the 5th red 'x' to indicate where to the left the sound drops off.  From her data she has also said it is acceptable to park our car in front of our "driveway", indicated above by the blue circled 'x'.

What this means is that there is an invisible sound barrier (denoted with black dotted line) between my house and her house, such that she can hear sounds to the left as far as 4 cars away, but CANNOT hear sounds to the right that are right next to the house.

This ladies and gentlemen is quite the phenomena.  Someone call a scientist, they are going to want to study this.


I politely do not agree to her request to move my cars and tell her that I will only agree to keep her concerns in mind but I can promise her nothing.

She counters with "Well, what's the point if you won't agree to this"

Exactly.  I'm out.

Cue the wingman

Jesse begins to fuss on que and I excuse myself.  "I can't keep doing this, I need to leave."  I thank the board and exit.

Jeremy is highly amused and mostly annoyed with the story and the insanity of the neighbors.

As I sit here putting the finishing touches on the, hopefully but probably not, final saga in our story I sit listening to Jeremy obsess over the situation.  I'm fairly sure he has made it his personal mission to quell the crazy.  But that's ridiculous, because we all know...


Good night.

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