Brightened Horizon

Heard one of the sweetest sounds ever when I returned from work. The complex’ custodian was power-washing the courtyard pavement.

His blasts loosened and dislodged however long-held dirt and grime from our common area. Earlier he had painted over wall scrawls left behind by children whose parents lightly supervised their spawn, if that.

This sprucing up, this freshening up, stems directly from this address’ owners/investors taking fullest advantage of the current ability to mulct rents. Before owner/investors were just happy to realize decent returns on their properties. None were what could’ve been called sticklers for pristine cleanliness.

But if top dollar is to be asked, and pocketed, the property had better gleam.

Now, though, taking full advantage of the affordable housing shortage and getting beyond dream amounts of money monthly, what better than a little upkeep to reflect the sudden values? Besides, making the place clean and shiny now will ease the next round of exorbitant rent hikes. After all, if the place appears “immaculate,” why not charge for perception?

As an owner who resides in his property, I’m all for this burnishing. It’s esthetically pleasing. Moreover, it’s one more facet that adds to the property’s appreciation, an element which benefits me absolutely.

A side-effect of higher rents that could edge into a socio-economic topic: better tenants, neighbors with wherewithal.

Until owner/investors could become picky, and pick and choose, pick and exclude, too many of them were hungry for the immediate gratification of quick money. While plenty of hardworking couples and families filled units, sometimes ready cash push aside whatever had been the criteria.

Among our good neighbors there were instances of navigating among socially maladroit individuals and communally challenged extended families. Few of us are at ease amid those who’ve run afoul of the legal system. Fewer of us want those exercising such fluid conduct in proximity, much less next door.

Bad enough they lack the propriety to perhaps conceal their monitoring ankle bracelets. Worse, they find their transgressions bragworthy. Like getting caught and sentenced is an accomplishment. Apparently, some have no compunction about blaring the act, acts, and processes the law-abiding majority of citizenry rightly regard as deficiencies.

For a while if there was one neighbor among us like that, he or she was one too many.

There were two sure-fire indicators that we had less than desirables as neighbors. First, the security doors. Second, what was done with strewn toys left out overnight.

People accustomed to living nearer the margins disregard safety measures. Years ago, just after I relocated to Las Vegas and new responsive management followed me, the complex installed security doors. Before, open breezeways allowed any two-legged vermin to saunter through the residential communal spaces. And, gauging by what those shitbirds left behind, more than a few did.

Security doors abruptly lessened such intrusions. But as I’ve written in earlier posts, security doors work best when the locking mechanism is engaged. Not that they’re infallible. A determined enough miscreant will defeat almost any hindrance there to thwart him. No. The secondary purpose behind the doors intended to dissuade casual thieves seeking easy opportunities. Seeking the easiest score, they’re less likely to bother themselves trying to bypass a difficult entry when perhaps an easier, softer one presents itself elsewhere.

For the longest that’s what the security doors did. That’s all they needed to do. They provided greater peace of mind because the general nature of thievery demands inconspicuousness and speed.

Rattling a locked door may be just as effective as raising an alarm.

People who’ve worked for their possessions and comforts, the basis of safety underlying both, understood the doors values. We practiced diligence keeping them closed. Not just that but also making sure the bars engaged. Who doesn’t know that every door with a lock may not be locked?

Either less industrious or altogether indifferent neighbors didn’t share our concerns about persons or property.

Again, during a period of searching for and grabbing quick money, several owner/investors, possibly through the management companies hired to oversee the properties, lightly, if at all, vetted prospective renters. I think a revealing indication of any tenants’ desirability is if he/she/they have transported their worldly goods in large black plastic garbage bags instead of having packed them in boxes and suitcases.

Those residents became the likeliest culprits behind the spates of jimmying the security doors’ locking mechanisms. An owner, out of necessity I couldn’t wriggle off the hook for paying my share towards repairing or replacing damaged safety gear. Why, yes, I did resent the imposed expenses.

Softening owners’ burden, though, it also helped immensely management upgraded surveillance. Not only in the parking lot, but in residents’ communal areas. Lenses observing the parking lot are conspicuous. The eyes upon us inside are surreptitious. These were installed without notice.

On one hand, I’m conflicted about the intrusion into our “private” spaces. On the other, video evidence has led to many evictions. This being Nevada, those were speedy quite legal actions verging on bloodless.

How many Californians who migrated across the Mojave were stunned by that Nevada judgment? Unknown numbers come here believing the Silver State wouldn’t just be welcoming, but easier than any lay they’d enjoyed on the Coast. Living in Las Vegas is different than dropping by and having fun here.

Shoved from these premises have been sullen, lazy, stupid, uncaring people – doubtlessly imminent pavement dwellers – who placed their convenience ahead of others’ safety. Their indifference possibly could’ve endangered us all. And according to form they wouldn’t have cared.

Before moving onto the second example, toys strewn in the common areas, let me state relocated Californians are not the bane of Nevada. The vast majority who’ve moved to the Silver State have brought affluence and energy with them. Those two attributes have incited some Nevadans whose poky lifestyles and attitudes have been disrupted. Or, the new arrivals ease of living and open outlooks has made mossback long-timers defensive.

Having grown up in Suburban Splendor, I’m no stranger to seeing toys and such being left where they were dropped outside. Preferably on lawns and in driveways. Despite the absence of their owners, the quiet scene reflects a sort of incipient vitality that will be again sprung once mealtime ends or slumber yields into morning and playtime. Seeing unattended playthings in concrete settings such as our Las Vegas residence skews the image, certainly, but the meaning remains the same white picket fences or not.

Yet leave it to Las Vegas to turn the heartening sinister.

The toys and the children who enjoy them aren’t ominous.

Once darkness falls and the kiddies are presumably asleep – let me hedge here. Given that a sizable portion of Las Vegas parents work Las Vegas jobs demanding Las Vegas hours as well as torrid daytime temperatures from now until September, some of the younger set may find themselves playing outdoors during late hours familiar to night owls. Anyway, the kids’ implements can be and are sometimes repurposed into aggravating objects.

The bike, the trike, or Razor doers not become an obstacle on its own. Adolescent strategizing is careless. Any irritation provoked is coincidental. It takes malicious adults to leave childish articles where they can become hazards.

Until rents started skyrocketing, neighbors of ours dedicated to irritating neighbors of theirs intentionally staged bikes and the like where they’d be regarded and dealt with as impediments. At these times, responsible residents more often than we liked either had to maneuver around or disentangle then remove children’s items that cluttered bottom or top staircase landings. Or more infuriating, clogged breezeways leading to the parking lot. Sometimes busted lights added to the challenges. Again, improved surveillance provided irrefutable proof that led to swift dispossessions – but still! What sort of adults find any reward in such horseplay?

How empty their lives must’ve been. How lacking in self-regard they were. And naturally being summarily tossed from this address doubtlessly further fueled their own created piques.

So? Tough.