Should I take my gun to this encounter?

Midnight Saturday night moon light presented me with a big problem.


As we drove home late last Saturday night I saw the moonlit glint of a row of freshly-planted galvanized fence posts appear. These posts were between lots owned by me and my longtime adjoining neighbor in the Basin City Industrial Park area.

Or I should say they were supposed to be between the two lots.  I was instantly pretty sure they were 10 or 12 feet inside my lot, even in the darkness. 20 or 30 years ago I kinda knew where I thought the boundary was, somewhere close to the power pole shown in the foreground.

I was filled with dread. This neighbor speaks poquito English, is almost as old as I and is even balder. Just like me, he tries to do a lot of the work by himself. I knew if his new metal posts were cemented in the wrong spot, he was going to have to dig them all up, dig new holes in the correct spots and replant the posts. Not an easy job.

I’ve never locked horns with this guy but I figured this was about to change. I almost hoped I was wrong in my assumption of the property line just so I could avoid the confrontation.

But it wasn’t something I could overlook. I grabbed my long-distance tape and my short-fused wife and we went a’measuring.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I’m actually the dynamite stick with the once-in-a-while short fuse. She’s the being with the longer fuse and even far longer long-suffering.)

Michele struggles just a bit when it comes to doing man-jobs that she has never done before but when I absolutely insist, she unwillingly tries to assist.  This is especially true when doing man-jobs in the dark.

I’ll skip the hilarious and vexing property-surveying exercise we experienced that night. But at this point I’m wondering if the after-hours survey party has anything to do with the late and cold dinners I’ve had every night since.

Bottom line, his posts were in the wrong place. All 24 of them. The correct line is shown in yellow in the picture above.

If I didn’t set things straight immediately and left the poles in place, at some future date he would assume ownership of the extended ground his fence was marking.

The land isn’t worth that much right now but if MicroSoft or General Motors moved in and started buying up ground, I would be out a bundle. I did some quick calculations and figured out that this little slice of soon-to-be-disputed ground would be worth approximately 2.3 billion dollars.

This was the point when it dawned on me that I absolutely had to talk to him. I feared his reaction because of the great amount of extra work this was going to saddle him with. I worried about my personal safety and thought about at least taking my paintball gun with me.

To my surprise,  he was fine. Agreeable. Amiable. He said he had gone by the stakes the old owner of the property had planted before he bought it.

He helped me measure both ends of the property and happily drove stakes into the new boundaries. I apologized about all the wasted work I was causing him but he kept saying “No problemo. It’s ok.”

He was fine with the 2 or 3 days of hard labor I had just handed him. Because of MicroSoft and General Motors, I was very grateful he was so agreeable.

Many people, myself included, would have responded on a bright red scale far in excess of what he did. Santiago is a fine human being, a fine man and a good example. I would do well to be more like Santiago.

I just hope my measurements are right.


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