After about 10 years of chain link, we have upgraded our fences (at least a few of them) to wood. This wasn’t entirely – or even mostly – about aesthetics. It was about trying to be good neighbors on the one hand, and block the view into our yard from the kinda scary neighbors next door on the other. On the being a good neighbor front, I have finally reconciled myself to the fact that the City of Laurel doesn’t like my hydrangeas that line our property in the front. Too wild and wooly. So they have been tamed by a proper little picket fence, and they can peek demurely over the top but will no longer reach, strumpet like, for passersby on the sidewalk. The tall fence and gate on the side will also make us better neighbors, we hope, by keeping Otis from barking at every single person, dog, cat, and squirrel that passes his domain, because he won’t be able to see them. I had forgotten that he will still be able to hear them (even the squirrel, it seems) and so the payoff on this one is dubious.
We finally decided to spring for the fence, though, after I unwisely watched a few episodes of The Wire. Mixing motherhood with shows about drugs and horrific violence isn’t a good idea, apparently, because I lay awake one night imagining that the poor broken-down old guy in his broken down old van, or the practically catatonic lady of the night (though she seems to provide services in the day, too), or one of the other four or so down-on-their-luck people who live jam packed into the single family house next door might actually be the kind of person who murders with a nail gun and stashes the bodies in Baltimore row houses. All evidence to the contrary, because they seem to be the kind of people who will come over in the rain to tell you you left the lights on in your car. But still, irrational fear is still fear, and so the credit card came out and the fence went up.
Did I mention that it looks a lot nicer than the chain link? I have been dreaming of a nice fence as a backdrop to the fruit trees, and now I have it. All it took was a nightmare about a nail gun.