Yard Renegade


Alas, the Scarlet W of Shame is embroidered upon my chest. 

Finally, a comic I can feel good about. This is a true story. Admittedly, I did have tall weeds growing in my yard. Tall weeds are nice; they attract birds and other native creatures. The cat loves tall weeds. They are much better than a yard full of invasive goatshead. But I got a warning. Oh no! And we spend many hours pulling tall weeds, mowing tall weeds, weed whacking tall weeds: me, The Man, the kids. And the city STILL issued a citation stamped in red: appear in court or a judgement will be leveled against you. My good neighbor then revealed to me that some other neighbors were congratulating themselves on “cleaning up the neighborhood.” By reporting me to the city. Someone did this to me.

I toyed with the idea of erecting a giant, ugly sign in my yard:

Dear “Neighbors,”

I use scare quotes because your behavior was anything but neighborly. Good neighbors, upon becoming distressed regarding the state of our yard, would have rung the bell and asked if everything was OK. And you would have learned that we are impoverished, and disabled, and have far more pressing concerns than tall weeds. But instead, you reported me to the city. Now I am facing a fine I cannot afford and I have to go to court. You have caused a great deal of stress and trouble, so please, don’t go around patting yourself on the back for your part in “cleaning up the neighborhood.” And please, do not ring the bell to apologize. Unless you are offering to pay our fine or take charge of our landscaping in the coming year, I’m not interested in talking to you.

You are bad neighbors, and you should feel bad.


A Human Being Doing Literally the Best She Can

I didn’t do it. But I might, if I end up having to pay this fine.

The incident in panel 2 was really real. Not my finest moment. But if I had to spend another minute in that room I was going to go insane. Not only was the judge an ass, but also I was hallucinating from lack of sleep and couldn’t even follow the jury selection questions, and the trial was going to be 3 weeks long, and it was entirely about whether or not a hospital killed a guy by giving him bedsores. Three weeks of getting up early to hear testimony about bedsores officiated by a guy who I already wanted to report to someone for awful conduct. And then the judge started trying to tell me how I was supposed to feel. Anyway, life pro tip: if you’re crying too hard to answer questions, they don’t make you serve on a jury.

Panel 3 was real, too. It was during a break in the session, and I absolutely was NOT talking to that cop. I was talking to my fellow scofflaw red light runners about what utter nonsense photo enforcement was, and they all agreed with me. And then this cop comes up and starts telling me how important traffic cameras are and how dangerously I was driving, and we had JUST come out of the booth where I had to watch the camera footage and I could see I was not driving dangerously, as there were no other cars or people in the intersection, and if the yellow light had been .2 seconds longer, I wouldn’t have gotten the ticket.

And, you know, I sort of have problems with authority figures, and I got huffy with him, and gave him what I considered to be the facts of the matter. He responded as pretty much all strangers respond when they try to talk to me and I cut them down: he backed away slowly and let the matter drop.

I was really freaking out because I thought my trial was going to be at 7 a.m. or something, and even though I think there’s a good chance the whole thing will be dismissed, I cannot keep it together at 7 a.m. and I feared that I would not be able to talk to the judge in such a way that they would have any sympathy for my plight. But actually it’s at 2 p.m. so maybe there’s a chance for me. I’ll say this much: if I still have to pay a fine after all the work I did, I won’t have any incentive to both keeping the yard up next year.

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