Mr. Deep and I live in a gated estate. We live there for safety purposes as when we moved to Joburg we were told by the relocation company that helped us find a home, that we, as expats, had to live in a gated community. I am not sure if that was really true, but we followed their advice. While the amount of security around us (guards, electric fences, walls and security cameras) has taken some getting used to, we enjoy where we live and find the neighborhood, the security staff and the neighbors very pleasant. But we recently learned that while all appears copacetic in our hood there's an underbelly of sordid behavior, some of which involves the improper use of trash bins. More on that shortly.
Until now, the only means of communication from the management has been through periodic SMS. SMS messages which Mr. Deep and I find quite amusing.
Here are a few examples.
And on the subject of exotic wildlife:
Mr. Deep and I were away from home at the time of the "monkey incident" so we never saw the monkey or had a chance to shout at him. By the time we returned home the monkey had supposedly moved on.
While amusing, these SMS messages did not, by themselves, warrant a blog post. But then the other a day, a comedic treasure trove of sorts arrived at our house when we received our first ever official estate newsletter.
We've lived in our house for two years and never received an official estate newsletter before. So I'm thinking either we weren't supposed to get the newsletter because we aren't homeowners or there was a long gap in between the publishing of newsletters. This newsletter was a printed document stuck into our gate. I don't know who authored the newsletter but the tone, word choices and content all strike me as very funny and as good foreshadowing for future when Mr. Deep and I move to a retirement community in Boca.
Let me share with you some of my favorite passages taken verbatim from the newsletter:
"Rubbish bins permanently left outside homes:
Here's another thing that's mind-boggling. A rather unusual habit has been creeping into the estate lately, which sees residents finding a permanent spot for their rubbish bins outside their property. This has never been encouraged and is viewed as lazy behaviour."
"Rubbish bins taken out too early:
Rubbish bins can only be taken out after 5pm on Sunday afternoons or on Monday mornings as previously highlighted. A growing number of residents have been taking out their bins on Sunday mornings, extra trash and all. This is quite shocking, especially since many people receive private and show day (note: a show day means a real estate open house) visitors. One can only imagine what they think of the estate when they see mountains of rubbish. Residents are really urged to read up on their estate rules. Fines will be imposed."
"Stealing rubbish bins space:
More unruly behaviour. A number of residents and their workers have been caught on camera placing their excess trash in bins that are not theirs. This is not accepted. We encourage each household that needs more bin space to BUY another bin. Please take this as a final warning."
The estate has once again experienced some rather unruly behaviour, which saw an intoxicated visitor who was visiting a particular resident breaching a neighbors property. (note: this was NOT one of our guests for those who may be wondering) The incident was caught on camera and that visitor has since been banned. The resident who let the visitor in was also fined. We remind residents that visitors are solely their responsibility wasted or not and should no way infringe on the rights of their neighbors."
After perusing the newsletter I have a few questions.
First, can you really "steal space" from a rubbish bin? If someone has put his bin out for collection then isn't he announcing that he's done using it for the week? And no, I have never put trash in any bin but my own, but still such a harsh warning warrants the question. What happens after the "final warning" has been issued if someone is caught, on camera of course, putting trash into someone else's bin? Are they fined? Banned? Is a photo of this person hung on the tree in the center of the estate? As for the drunk guest who was banned how is this ban being enforced? Is his photo hung in the security booth so the guards can refuse him if he tries to enter? What if he's wearing sunglasses? Can he still be detected? What if he goes to AA? Is this a lifelong ban or can he be rehabilitated? If the estate has "once again" experienced "some rather unruly behaviour" can we please get the details of the previous incidents? Did it involve a bounce house? Was the hedgehog safely returned to his loving owner? Or did he meet an untimely demise at the hands of the well meaning but "cruel to be kind" SPCA? And can we trust that the monkey really did leave the estate on his own four feet? Or was he a victim of something far more sinister?
I doubt we'll ever get the answers to these questions as the next newsletter isn't scheduled to be published until 2019.