There goes the neighborhood.

I live next to criminals, I tell you. The man and woman who live across the street from me are retired and he works in his garage at all hours of the night and day. There is a constant din of welding and hammering and whatever coming from his yard. He has never said much to me since I moved in but has always seemed reasonably nice. Well, I see now how it is.

About eight years ago, when a previous tenant moved out of my house, the trash can disappeared. My city has those big ass green trash cans that the truck can pickup with the robotic arm of doom. My father was going to report it as stolen, but it happened to be a can from another property they own (in the great trash can shuffle of 1995 apparently). So he ended up just paying to get another one. But he kept the paperwork for the original trash can that was taken from my house.

Now Mad Scientist Neighbor has two trash cans. He's had them since I moved in last year. And now amazingly enough he has three cans. All of these cans are from the old lot (the new ones are a darker green and slightly smaller). My father checked the serial number on FrankenNeighbor's cans and sure enough one of them is mine - the one that was stolen eight years ago. Amazing how my parents can be so disorganized in some things and then produce a ten year old document for the trash can at their property. But I digress.

So now I have come to realize that my neighbor stole my trash can. And has been blatantly using it in front of my house for years. Dad even talked to him about it once before about ten years ago when he stole it after another tenant moved out. FrankenNeighbor's excuse was something about how it was city property and Dad could just get another one. As if stealing from the city was okay and not the same as stealing from Dad.

The plot thickens as I think he is also responsible for poking a hole in my Saturn's side window and shattering the glass. It was parked on the street across from his driveway overnight. And when I moved it in the yard (after discovering the glass), his friends parked in that exact same space for the next two days. I would not normally have suspected him and chalked it up to mischievous kids, except that like Dad says, "once you see what someone is capable of, they are always suspect." You aren't paranoid if they really are all out to get you.

So now I have to decide what to do about FrankenNeighbor. I have been on this personal rant about passive aggressive behavior. That might be why he makes me so mad in the first place, that he had the gall to steal my trash can in the first place. And while I don't want to start a city wide fight a la West Side Story, I'd like my trash can back.

I keep running through options in my head ...

1) Take my current can (the one we paid for) and move it to another property and then take my can back from FrankenNeighbor. I've got paperwork to prove it's not his. And he can't really come bitching to me about it since he stole it in the first place. But given his evasive (passive fucking aggressive) behavior, I think he would just do something shitty to me in the future.

2) Go over and tell him that I've got friends coming over this weekend and want to make sure them parking on the street won't inconvenience him. Make him feel back for stealing a trash can from this poor young girl in his neighborhood. Mention how I'm not sure what I'm gonna do for a trash can since mine was stolen so long ago and how it's pretty lame I have to pay for a new one. Wonder in his presence at what horrible person would sink so low as to steal a trash can. Marvel at all his trashcans and mention how that must be a pretty penny to pay for all those extra cans ($5 extra per can per month).

3) Go write a letter and tape it to the inside of my can in his yard. Tell him that he can return my can to me on trash day and we will never speak of it. Perhaps include a photocopy of the document that says the can belongs to me.

4) Go over and ask him "um, what the hell? You have my trash can and you either mistakenly took it eight years ago or you stole it. But since you have three cans it's not like you just assume that they grow on trees. They apparently grow on your neighbors' curbs." This would make me feel better, but probably just piss him off. Rarely does a rant like that produce the response of "oh! You're right! Your vicious diatribe has led me to see the errors of my ways. What can I do to compensate for my egregious errors?"

5) Any combination of the above.