December 9-11, 2005 Paranoia Will Destroy Ya


The Wide Lawns folks never cease to amaze me with the levels of paranoia to which they regularly succumb. I dont know how people live this way, but this is one of my favorite stories here lately.

Suddenly after the Hurricane we began receiving numerous calls regarding some graffiti which seemed to spring up all over the neighborhood. This was puzzling, as our rotten Wide Lawns children had never before done something so ghetto, at least not in here. Their usual weapon of choice is more along the lines of toilet paper and old eggs. Eggs were so popular for a while that one hysterical resident even suggested with utter seriousness that we install a security camera in the Publix dairy case to see who was buying eggs. Publix was not cooperative with this plan.

We couldnt figure out what the residents were talking about. Whenever we get a complaint like this we have to go drive out in person to check it out, but we never saw any graffiti, yet the calls kept coming. People were getting angrier and angrier about this supposed graffiti problem. One man who was abolsutely incensed came into the HOA trailer, after playing tennis, literally dripping sweat all over the place (eww) , and scarlet with rage to scream at us for not taking care of the problem, saying that Wide Lawns now looked like the New York City Subway. We had no idea what this man was talking about. We still saw no graffiti anywhere.

It got to the point where I wanted to go tag something myself just to see some actual graffiti. The other day we received another irate phone call from an individual who claimed she was calling on behalf of her subdivision and this had to stop. She claims that there was a gang war going on in Wide Lawns between rival gangs, a gang called "Danger", and a gang menacingly titled simply "X" and that they were running amok in Wide Lawns spray painting everything in a garish orange. Hmmmm, I thought, and asked her where she was seeing these tags.

"Oh, they're everywhere!" she replied. "They're all over the trees and electrical boxes."

Supressing my mounting hysterical laughter, I assured her that this would be taken care of and hung up as quickly as possible to avoid peeing in my pants from how absurd this truly was.

The graffiti mystery had finally been solved.

You see, after the hurricane we had a lot of damage in this lovely community. Florida Power and Light had to come by and assess the situation in regard to their power lines, electrical boxes and transformers. Some of our trees were beyond repair, though still standing, and had become a hazard to power lines. These trees were marked with large, spray painted, orange X's, meaning that when the extremely backed up tree cutters were able to get in here in the next few months to remove the trees, then they would know exactly which ones were marked for execution.

Secondly many of the electrical boxes in the community were also damaged and contained exposed wires and other perilous things. In order to keep the jackholes who live in here from killing themselves by messing with, sitting on, or otherwise going near the electrical boxes these too were marked with a big orange "DANGER!!".

Apparently FPL overestimated the intelligence and good sense of those who live within these gates.

And Speaking of Paranoia...

I just learned that the Joneses are moving out of Wide Lawns.

This is kind of sad actually, because the Joneses have provided us with years worth of entertainment and now we will no longer have them around to do really weird things that we in the office can laugh about and ponder.

The Joneses are old. Really old. Like a hundred. They are so old that perhaps it is evil of me to even write about them in a humorous way, except that they are genuinely funny and I have never been known for my political correctness, so why start now, right? The most interesting thing about the Joneses is that they share the same dementia and the exact same delusions, which then reinforces the illusion as completely and utterly real to them. I have never heard of two people having the exact same hallucinations, but they do.

The Joneses have loads of money and one daughter who is a dentist or something and lives very far away. We have, in the past, tried to talk to her about her parents, but she had no interest in what they were doing, which leads me to believe that they were always as crazy as they are now and she just wants no part of it. I could hardly blame her, and so we don't bother her anymore and we all indulge the Joneses in their hyperbolic degrees of paranoia and their raving lunacy because there is just no reasoning with them.

A few years ago the Joneses began reporting that their home was being broken into on a regular basis and odds and ends were missing, though nothing of any real value. They fired their maid and then insisted the home was still being robbed. The thieves were rearranging Mrs. Jones's dollhouse furniture (not taking it, just rearranging it) and they were stealing clothes hangers. Now I cant imagine what sort of thieves would do such a thing. I can just see them now -

"No Leonard, I think the tiny couch should go there, not in the sitting room, but in the miniature den!!"

"Curtis, lets really screw with her head and put the little fake plastic pie on the teeny weeny doll bed instead of in the kitchen!"

And then I guess after they get tired moving around minuscule furniture they decide on the way out they are running low on hangers. The two things - redecorating doll houses, and hanging shirts - naturally are two actions which go together. The Joneses refused to see the absurdity of this and insisted that it was happening, although there were never any signs of forced entry, except in the dollhouse. They decided to have the locks changed. Every week.

My co-worker Stacey's husband was the lucky locksmith who got to perform the weekly changing of all the locks in the house, and I mean all the locks, doors, windows and everything. Every week. The Joneses urgently insisted the house was being robbed. They blamed the neighborhood, they blamed security, and they blamed every housekeeper they had ever had. We kept trying to tell them that nothing was happening and they became frustrated and belligerent and threatened to sue Wide Lawns for their suffering which they believed was caused by our lack of security. Guards patrolled the home several times a day and of course no one ever saw anything. The Joneses were getting frantic because still, with all the padlocks and deadbolts and alarms someone was still taking hangers and moving the dollhouse furniture. They were petrified because these things were happening and they hadn't even left the house. The thieves were coming in while they were home!! They then had security cameras installed all over their property, but somehow the thieves were still smarter.

The Joneses hired an attorney who called us to try to make sense of the situation. He said he thought they were nuts and we confirmed his suspicions. He told us that the Joneses had hired a private investigator to follow around the old housekeeper Josefina Matilda Corerro de la Santa Maria and to presumably catch her in the act of breaking into their house and moving things and taking hangers, however when the P.I. tried to do his job he discovered that Josefina Matilda Corerro de la Santa Maria was long dead. The attorney said he would try to reason with them.

The Joneses then decided to pay a very nice and resourceful Brazilian man named Rodrigo to sit in his car in their driveway all night long to keep watch over them. Sometimes Rodrigo comes into the HOA to visit us, as he house-sits and does odd jobs for a lot of people in Wide Lawns. He told us at first he felt guilty taking their money, because obviously they were insane and no one was breaking into the house, but he then realized that if he refused to do it they would just hire someone else and he figured he needed the money after all, so he just sleeps in the car and they never know the difference.

But even Rodrigo could not stop these crafty thieves. The Joneses called the locksmith again and asked that he seal the entire house closed so that the front door and all of the windows could not be opened. I don't know how they thought they themselves were going to get in and out, and perhaps they hadn't considered this. In their mania to keep others from getting in, it seemed that they were willing to not be able to get out. Luckily the locksmith refused and luckily the other 23 locksmiths in town who they had also called refused too. They threatened to sue every one of them, but all the attorneys they called refused to represent them.

The Joneses now feel that the entire world is against them in one grand conspiracy to threaten their safety and their sanity. We are all breaking into their home and moving the dollhouse furniture and stealing their clothes hangers, all of us, from the HOA employees, to the security guards to the 24 locksmiths and 36 attorneys. Wide Lawns is a scary and terrible neighborhood where two old people cannot live in peace hanging up their clothes and decorating their dollhouses as they please, and so they are moving next week.