Dear Notewriter: Clearly, you’re not a scholar of Indian religious traditions, so just FYI: “Karma” doesn’t translate from the Sanskrit as “sword-wielding mercenary” or “the guy Liam Neeson played in Taken.”
David spotted this oh-so-charming scene while cycling through the well-to-do area of Hampstead, London.
Adds David: “The completely knackered fence is in front of an overgrown plot and right next door to a well looked-after house (possibly owned by old folk who are convinced the neighbourhood has gone to ruin.”)
Meanwhile, Alison was a bit perplexed by this note (and the seemingly undisturbed hedge below) in West Hampstead. “I stared at the hedge for ages trying to work out what was wrong with it,” she says. “Finally I just took a picture and ran away.”
Amy and her cousin were enjoying a casual stroll in Toronto when they noticed this note in a neighbor’s garden — a note which Amy says left her with far more questions than answers.
I’d have to agree with Amy that the stand-out line here is the one towards the end about whether the tomato thief ever makes racist or ageist remarks. (Because…huh?)
Adds Amy: “The lack of grammar made me think that ‘young people’ were a new racial group. And why does the note-writer beg the thief to at least return ONE of the stolen tomatoes — because it’s so precious? And is the last line a threat of being infected by Asian lily beetle poison? I don’t get it!”
“My parents have a large front yard,” writes David in Georgia, “and up until a few years ago, it had about 40 trees in it.” Unfortunately, an arborist informed David’s parents that those trees, while they looked normal enough, had become infested and essentially hollowed-out by insects, killing the trees and turning them into a pretty big safety risk in the case of a storm. At the arborist’s recommendation — and I’m sure, at all no small expense — David’s parents had the trees removed.
Fast forward a few months to December, when the family put up their usual holiday decorations — little trees made of Christmas lights — throughout the front yard. Soon after, David says, the family received two items of interest in their mailbox:
1. A certificate of recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation, “thanking us for our efforts to prevent further tree deaths”
2. This handmade holiday card.
Adds David: “This person obviously put a lot of work into carefully drawing and writing it; the artwork and penmanship are immaculate. If only they’d put as much effort into asking us why we were having the trees removed.”
Maya in the U.K. spotted this magnanimous display on a garden wall on her way home, in a neighborhood “that must be simply full of hundreds of passive-aggressive middle class Brits.” Says Maya: ”I was tempted to steal the daffodils myself, but refrained.”
Meanwhile, Greg’s neighbor in Washington, D.C. decided to go with even an more straight-ahead guilt-trippy approach.
Lastly, Fern spotted this scarily upbeat FYI while vacationing in Key West, Florida. (Adds Fern: “We think the flower just died.”)
P.S. Before settling for a ho-hum Susan Orleans reference, I must admit that when writing this post, I tried — and failed — to come up with an worthy Wordworths-riffing title. In light of my lack of inspiration, I was especially delighted by this bit of brilliance from shwo! in the comments section:
I wandered slyly as a thief
Who flows on low o’er gutter spills,
When all at once I saw a leaf,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the porch, beneath the trees,
I think I will be stealing these.
At least three New Yorkers have independently spotted and submitted this sign in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, so I figured it’s time to give it a proper showing. (Submitter Adam took several photos from a variety of angles, so you can a picture of the whole scene.)
Amanda also provided some color commentary. “The ‘plants’ in question are the small jungle encroaching from the right of the photo,” she says. “Honestly, without the sign, the property would have just looked abandoned. Now it looks more like the home of a crotchety hermit.”
And our anonymous submitter, who happens to live less than a block away from these two houses, even did a little extra detective work. “I’ve tried and tried to find out the back story,” he says, “but so far all I have been able to find out is that the feuding neighbors are also brother and sister.”
Cait spotted this artful example of parental passive-aggression “in front of a very, very wealthy residence” in New York’s East Village. “I get that ripping up the flowers was a douchey move,” Cait says, “but this seems a little over the top.”
To which I’d add: Um, yes. (They had me at the first semicolon.)
Meanwhile, across the globe, another 4-year-old was given a similar learning experience. In Australia, however, they don’t bother beating around the bush.*