Then we moved to a condo townhouse, and things became only a little less defined. I owned many, many acres around my house, but so did 132 other families. On the other hand, all those other people shared ownership of the outside of our house, so they had to pay to fix our roof, for instance, but we had to pay to fix theirs. Bottom line: the property we owned by ourselves still ended at our front door.
But now things are different. We can walk out our front door and continue on a good hundred yards or so and still be on our property, although we would no longer be walking, because we would have broken our legs falling down the steep slope that begins about 10 yards from our front door.
On the left side of our house, there is a little strip of land before we get to the neighbor’s property, although we’re not really sure when that happens, because we don’t really know where the property line is. Is it the short stone wall nearest our house? The line of weird pipes on the other side of the pachysandra? The even shorter stone wall on the other side of that?
And what about the right side of the house? There are trees and then a pond. We’re almost positive the pond isn’t ours because, frankly, we didn’t pay enough for the house to have a pond included. But how far can our dog poop in that direction before he’s pooping on someone else’s pooperty? Our neighbors on that side have an invisible fence for their dogs, but that doesn’t help us, because, well, we can’t see it.
Then there’s the back of our house. There’s another bit of sloping land, then some vegetation and a small stream, and then woods. When we first looked at the house, we asked the seller’s real estate professional, Tammy, how far back the property went.
“See that fallen tree?” she replied. “It’s around there.”
This seemed somewhat inexact. How would I know where to put the cabana for the swimming pool that I had absolutely no intention of installing and which, if I did install it, would be next to a pool that would have only a deep end, because it would be on a preposterous angle. It would be the only pool in the world with a water slide inside the pool.
“But what if the tree moves?” I asked, knowing that trees are one of the few things that are more likely to move when they’re dead than when they’re alive. “Shouldn’t the property line be something more, oh, I don’t know…permanent?”
But that’s the way things are around here. People just sort of trust each other. And I know they say that strong fences make good neighbors, but here in Stamford, we know how to be civilized and respectful and friendly without building fences. Which is a good thing because, evidently, no one would know where to build them.
See you soon.