I am so very sick and tired of hearing ‘I can do whatever I want on my own property!’ The latest instance concerns a neighbour who has stuck some of those new solar lights in front of her cottage, lakeside of course.
Thing is, they don’t have an on/off switch. So what she’s done on her own property means the rest of us will have to see her lights every night, all night, for the rest of our lives.
If we lived in the city, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad; they’d get ‘lost’ in their surroundings. But we live on a lake in the forest. Where the stars are amazing and the moon glimmers across the water. And now there are a dozen lights at eye level a little to my left whenever I look out at night. They stand out like a middle finger.
I can understand the desire for outdoor lights in order to see where you’re going, but then turn them off when you go to bed. Or in this case, cover them. And I can understand the possibility of all-night lights deterring wildlife, but motion-sensor lights would be a better choice, if only for the startle effect.
Please, people, are you really that stupid? Do you really not see that what you do, even on your own property, affects others? On that basis, those others most certainly do have a right to ask you not to do something.
In the same way, your pre-1980 use of spray cans is justifiably subject to my complaint. It’s why I’m at risk for skin cancer now. Your excessive use of fossil fuels was partly responsible for the flood or drought that destroyed my house. (Let’s say.) Your actions often have consequences for me. Not immediately and not directly and maybe you’re too stupid to see any other kind of consequence, but nevertheless, most certainly, what you do affects me.
The really sad thing is that my neighbour doesn’t even notice the lights. She doesn’t believe me when I say I do. She’s that desensitized to her environment. Or that inattentive. She thinks I’m exaggerating the intrusion. I received the same response when I complained about the bright red Home Hardware sign that suddenly appeared nailed to a tree at the end of the lane. And when I’ve complained about any one of a hundred noises – dirt bikes, atvs, leaf blowers, weed trimmers, generators, chain saws. Those of us who see things, who hear things, those of us who pay attention to what’s around us, we’re the ones to suffer. The dullards who go through life with a ‘What?’ expression permanently on their face, who wouldn’t notice, well, anything, they’re the ones living happily. So in order not to go crazy, I wear earplugs most of the time now. And my reading glasses, so everything more than six feet past the tip of my nose is out of focus. The alternative is to become as oblivious as the rest of ‘em.