Sunday, August 7, 2011


I'm a wee bit unhappy with some of my neighbors. They're not close by neighbors, living as they do in a more affluent section of town, but they're close enough that if they played golf at the public course where I play, had a beer at the local gin mill, or picked up chicken at the local KFC like I sometimes do, I'd run into them from time to time. But, of course, they do none of those things. They can afford better.

Now, before you think this is going to be a slam against rich people, think again. The ability to go from poor to rich has always been one of the Great American Dreams and I will never fault anyone for having achieved it. Nor am I envious. I like my public golf course. They know me at my local pub and treat me just fine so I'm happy when I go there. And I really enjoy KFC. Honest.

Okay. Okay, KFC is crap. But the rest of it is true enough. Mostly.

So, why am I perturbed with my almost neighbors? I'ma tell you.

There's a VA hospital not far from where I live (for those of you non-'Mericans, that's a Veterans Administration Hospital). The hospital's even closer to where my well-to-do friends live. The hospital and the upscale neighborhood existed side by each without incident for years. And then the Vietnam vets started getting old. And the Iraq and Afghanistan vets came home needing medical care. The hospital census exploded. With inpatient and outpatient counts through the roof, hospital parking was at a premium. The VA had no choice but to build another parking structure. But, of course, it takes time to build a parking structure and their need was immediate.

Enter the Huron Hills Church. They were only a mile down the road from the hospital, had extra parking space available and were happy to lease it to the government as a temporary staff parking lot. The hospital purchased two vans and arranged a shuttle service, ferrying workers back and forth between the church and the hospital. And everybody was happy.

Well, not quite.

Much like Ted Kennedy objected to the proposed energy-efficient windmill farm in Nantucket Sound that would have obstructed the scenic view from his Hyannis Port compound, the residents of Glazier Way in Ann Arbor have objected to the "howling, screeching shuttle buses" that pass through their otherwise serene neighborhood ruining their reverie. The noise is apparently more than the residents can bear.

"We and our neighbors are the victims of the noise and traffic generated by this commercial enterprise," said the president of the neighborhood association in an article in Ann "The buses literally wake us up every morning and annoy us all day long."

Well, boo fricken hoo. Excuse me while I shed a tear for the "victims."

Then there was the woman who, in a comment appended to the story, objected to the look of the vans. "That paint job is pretty 'loud' too, "she said. "Maybe something less obtrusive?"

The paint job she objected to can be seen in the top picture in this post. Those "obtrusive colors," are contained in a representation of a red, white and blue American flag. Having served under those colors for three years, I can't quite find it in my heart to agree with her, and I expect the patients of a Veterans Hospital might have the same problem.

But that's not important. What's important is the serenity of the residents--the victims of Glazier Way. Never mind that these shuttle buses are only a temporary inconvenience. Never mind that these shuttle busses are using a public road. Never mind that these shuttle busses transport staff who take care of sick and injured veterans--perhaps preparing their meals or cleaning their treatment rooms or checking vital signs or changing their IV bags. Perhaps they're there just to hold a veteran's hand as he dies. None of that matters. To them.

But like I said, I have nothing against these folks just because they're affluent. In other circumstances a poor person might act this way I suppose. But poor or rich, I do have something against dickwads. And now I know that some of them live on Glazier Way.