Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lawn Mower Man's House Hits The MLS

Fair comment and criticism

I said to myself, "I know that house!" when it hit the MLS.

Axe marks on living room ceiling are a special feature you will rarely find anywhere...

When I wrote about "Lawn Mower Man" before, there were a few things I refrained from mentioning. Like, in addition to seeing somebody bang on the ceiling with an axe to wake up their sleeping relative, the place was kind of...well, it had an odd kind of dirtiness.

It was like the house had once been filled to the rafters with crappy old stuff, and somebody lived like that for decades, but then later other people came along and cleaned out all the stuff...and yet there was still kind of a "patina of filth" and "minor odds and ends of stuff" from the way the place was before.

Yeah. Exactly like that.

Oh, also, plaster was missing from the walls in a lot of places and the lathes were visible underneath. I don't think they had a working bathroom, but they were making do in practical ways, like urinating into 32-oz. plastic cups from Super America. (If the liquid you drink comes from a plastic cup, why shouldn't it go back into that same cup? Seems mighty efficient to me)

The folks in the house were friendly, decent folks and I must say the lawnmower was a heck of a deal. Peter Teachout, Chairman of HACC, still has possession of it under our neighborly arrangement.

A few weeks ago I was driving on Third Street North, and I recognized the white cargo van parked on the street, and a moment later "Lawn Mower Man" walked past. I stopped my vehicle and called out to him, "Hey, lawn mower guy!"

He turned and recognized me. I noticed he had a new haircut, very short.

"How is it going?" I asked.

"I'm leaving," he said, glumly. "Actually, right this moment. We're done with the house."

"I'm sorry to hear that," I said. "What will happen to the house?"

"Don't know," he replied, peevishly. "Don't care. It's not my problem. I never owned it. [Expletive] it."

I wished him well in all his future endeavors and said it was good doing business with him. He nodded and gave me a grim smile, then walked back toward the house, shoulders slumped like he was carrying the weight of the world...or, well, the weight of several lawnmowers he probably had to abandon in the shed.

At least I have the comfort of knowing that, according to Lawnmower Man the nosy neighbor lady ("Mama") constantly makes calls on the house, so if dealers and gang members move in there it won't take long for that neighbor to call somebody. I hope.

Another house for me to keep an eye on.


Anonymous said...

Hey there,
I just found your blog today and have added it to my "favorites." I live in Minneapolis too and my name is Alex. A guy in the apartment down the hall from me is a drug dealer. Do you have any advice on how to get rid of him?
P.S. I live in Uptown.
P.P.S. The word verification I had to type for this comment was "pusnay."

Johnny Northside said...

You need to call 911 and describe what you are seeing in a very specific way every time it happens. Don't get discouraged, even if the police don't show up. They might be doing things you don't see.

Sit and note all the license plate numbers. Compile a list of those license plate numbers for the day when you finally convince the police what you see happening is really, truly what is happening.

And, if you can do it from a concealed position, videotape what is going on. Then edit the tape to show the drug-dealing highlights, because no public official is going to sit through five hours of tape to see a few key moments of clear drug dealing. You may have to put a lot of time into taping, maybe even days.

Submit a suspicious circumstances report to 311.

Don't give up and don't let up. It's like hammering nails. One good blow is not going to put the nail where it belongs. And one nail is not going to get the whole job done. And sometimes a nail gets away, which is frustrating.

But if you hammer away, and do not cease, you will get somewhere.

Perhaps you might want to tell me the exact address where you are seeing the (alleged) drug dealing and the owner of the rental property in question.

Here's something else to think about. If you're going to live next to drug dealers, anyway, why not own your own property? Then if you want to put lots of locks on your door, install a video camera through a peephole, etcetera, you won't need to ask permission of your landlord.

Join me in the struggle to secure the North Side and reap the rewards of an Urban Utopia.