Article posted Thursday, June 9, 2011 11:13am

Dear Mary Pat,

My husband and I live in a relatively new condo development. Apparently, we don’t pay as much attention to the owner’s handbook as some of our neighbors do. We understand that it’s important to keep a certain level of uniformity, however, what we can’t understand is the self-appointed police force made up of several “concerned” neighbors. A nearby family was told that their American flag wasn’t in compliance with the handbook. Another neighbor was followed home and yelled at for going 5 miles over the recommended speed limit. Did the pretend police force have access to a radar gun? Give me a break! No one drives recklessly in our neck of the woods since children are usually around. I’m really glad we don’t have a dog since I’m pretty sure DNA was collected when one of our four-legged neighbors left a little something behind in one of common areas. The neighborhood watch went into overdrive. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FBI was contacted.
My husband and I travel quite a bit, so thankfully we miss a lot of the drama of the neighborhood, but the watch seems a little excessive. It’s like they are hoping to find infractions. What gives?

Regulation Overload

Dear Regulation Overload,

I know why developments create standards. People don’t want to spend good money on real estate only to end up living next to that house. You know the one I mean…there’s always one in every neighborhood. If everyone else has white shades, that house has leopard print. If everyone else has two cars, that house has two working cars and five other cars that belong in a junkyard. But neighbors flying an American flag? How could there be anything wrong with that? I think that’s crazy.
I suspect that your neighborhood police force has a little too much free time on their hands. Seriously. Who wants to spend their day spying on neighbors and looking for things to go wrong? I think it’s sad. I hope that your neighbors find a hobby and start living their own lives.

Good luck,
Mary Pat