The leaves of November create an annual storm of HOA compliance
| November's end
sudden cold snap
shop on Broadway
312 words - A Martyr for the HOA
by Timothy Cole, 30 Nov 2019
for Writer's Cramp daily prompt
It was the crackling leaves. Overnight, the sudden cold snap had dropped about a thousand of them into my tiny yard and left them hoary with frost and snappy and crunchy with every step I took.
I had put off mowing and cleaning up the daily debris that only my yard seemed to accumulate. None of my neighbors had messy yards; only I did, and I suspected--long suspected--that I inherited their mess from the winds of the night, and my clutter absolved them from city ordinance guilt. Every November's end brought the foreseeable threat of an interrogation from the leaf litter brigade, the vigilante posse of our forty-eight house subdivision, the home-owner's association of obnoxious men and women, self-appointed but mandated by our charter, to prowl and find fault. Every year--no matter the circumstances: the contrary weather, the dogs and children bent on throwing themselves into the carefully raked piles, or the stubborn trees that refused to give up their lovingly produced fall colors, or the long-delayed arrival of the city trucks that exclusively collected only neat piles located precisely at the curbside--the marching troop of scowling inspectors stood at every sidewalk leading up to every house and found fault or compliance.
There must be an unwritten rule that any review of anything must include some bad with the good. Else, how could anyone judge and process points if there were no scale? Without a bad, there could be no good. You can't have a scale that ascends only from three or four to the perfect ten. There must be a one--or a zero! Perfection cannot exist without failure. And from my little shop on Broadway, I could only anticipate the yellow notice being hung on my front-door knob announcing my failure, once again, to live up to the standards I had agreed to so long ago.