In Defence of The Fence

Every time a bird locks my new neighbour’s chimney as its poo-goo target, the house’s newfangled alarm system makes me rise to arms. And feet. Construction work in progress, the neighbour has not yet inhabited the building – the system boos and hoots for a few minutes and then gets silent by itself. Nothing to write home about.

Every time a larger fly – or was it a backlash of rain – would happen through any of my car’s windows open for some nightly freshness, the alarm would be set off. In order not to wake up the locals, I would have had to leave the vehicle’s alarm off. But in doing so I would have shown recklessness – no dog of violent breed watched my sleep.

Yes, no dogs. Dogs poo and bark. They’re worse than cats. Cats like my car. My car doesn’t like cats – mainly their urine. Neither does my car like my neighbour’s car. Cars like parking spots they hate to share. Hardly anyone likes mail carriers. Mail carriers don’t like dogs. They like mailboxes. We don’t like mailboxes. Mailboxes, filled up with unclaimed leaflets, are liked by thieves. We don’t like thieves. Cops don’t like thieves. Cops like undisturbed peace. Thieves don’t like dogs. Nobody likes noises. Nobody likes birds. They poo and portend rainy weather. Birds like everyone, and so do mosquitoes. We live fenced, alarmed and stiff–aired (car windows up tight). Whenever I see a fence felled, I know it is going to go up, renovated and possibly stronger.

I read once: “The higher your fence needs be – the further you’re away from fellow humans”. That’s absurd. Were you a recluse in an uninhabited area, would your walls climb highest?

Who are the ‘fellow humans’ anyway? An anonymous crowd of high-rise dwellers? Some dog-in-home-owning rabble? Miscreants who block your parking lot? Certainly not. (BTDT.) Did we notice lists of occupants at our entryphones go blanker, blessed be the Personal Data Protection Act? Of course we did. Some experts will stress the word “community” then. It is not enough, they will insist, to have a neighbour. You’ve got to know your neighbour.

Experts are wrong. Knowledge means nothing, you need to love your neighbour – and be requited. A neighbour who hates your birds, brats, cats, cars, dogs, gods or guts – will not watch over your property, mailbox included.

Taken in by “trust thy neighbour” slogans, I did not invest in proper fencing – and guess what. (The photo shows but the tip of the trashberg, yet I can’t reveal more – ‘more’ could feature my neighbours happy face, one probably protected by the Personal Data Protection Act, a thousand blessings.) I can muse whether those who shared the fruit of their bins with me were charitable passers-by unperturbed by my benevolent neighbours, or were there the neighbours who did the dumping and the bystanders who did the watching?

Anynow on, whenever wherever I own anything, I shall enrich it with fences. They shall stand with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, they shall stand on my beaches, they shall stand on my hunting grounds, they shall stand in the fields, and at the streets, they shall stand high as hills, they shall never surrender. Bold and in observance of the law. Which says: You do not need a building permission to erect an enclosure lower than 2.20m. [Good!] Enclosures +1.80m tall can be embelllished with broken glass, barbed wire and other proper deterrents. [Goooood!]

And then let’s put balconies behind bars.
And turn our tailpipes against someone’s beloved flowers.
And buy more mohair berettas.

And a dog.
[I know – a dog. Some sacrifice is required.]

My heart crater rejoices every time I see new ideas for residential dwellings – that include barriers, moats, surroundings, shields to mean “back off! back off! yes, you too!”. It’s comforting to know that even when the designer can’t think of enclosures, life eliminates that engineering flaw and erects many a lock, stop and barrier. It’s reassuring to hum: “old villas do it, new villas do it, even educated folks do it, let’s do it: the fencing-off”. And may our only worry be – what to choose:

– Classic standard fairness…

– Modernity in style…

– A touch of elegant luxury

Or something more aggressive?

And don’t let some Polish sources confuse you. Don’t let some foreigners pervert your mind with de-fenced visions. They don’t have fences but they do secure their homes (that are their castles) in other ways.

Always bear in mind the nobler patterns the West bestowed upon us. Remember the ancient wisdom. Renounce the native errors.

Oh, by the way, whenever you see an unlocked car in the West, think of its owner “He / she is so lazy.” — Or “He / she is naive (read: dumb)”. — Or “He / she earns 4-8 times more than I do, so can afford any loss of a car”. — Or “His / her nanny state pays for his / her car theft insurance.”

Or simply: “He / she could be my neighbour”.

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8 thoughts on “In Defence of The Fence

  1. Phred says:

    Totally ucked fup. Life?

  2. scatts says:

    Darth, in searching for the thrust, I need to ask if someone really tipped all that crap on your land because it wasn’t fenced off. Or am I missing something?

    If I had property that could be fenced, which I don’t, I’d find fences a bit of a necessary evil. I’d be happy not to have one but then all the other people would start taking liberties and then I’d need to buy a shotgun instead of a fence. I’m quite a good shot so perhaps a mobile double-barrelled fence is the best approach.

  3. Robert says:

    Fences are a necessary evil in Poland. Strange that in the US, UK and most of continental Europe fences do not exist in the front of properties while it is generally accepted to fence backyards whereas in Poland it is common to fence the entire property. We are in the Konstancin area (read Chylice but with a Konstancin mailing address) and everyone is fenced in 360 degrees – are we paranoid, taking reasonable precautions or just copying the ‘landscape’ – makes you wonder. Heck we even have motion detectors connected to the alarm system in the yard.

    People do have the disgusting practice of dumping their plastic bags of garbage in the vacant areas near us and did the same at what was at one time a recycling area. The local authorities eliminated the recycling area because they said, “too many people were dumping general household trash bags and they couldn’t control it’ – what a dumb reason to take away what is a commonly accepted recycling program – why not just enforce the law?

  4. michael farris says:

    “The local authorities eliminated the recycling area”

    What you might not realize is that this is _exactly_ the same mentality that builds fences. This is an old and deep current in Polish problem solving – the way to deal with misbehavior is to limit access (whether it makes sense – as fences sometimes do, or not – as in dealing with too much garbage by removing places to leave garbage).

    “why not just enforce the law?”

    Because most Polish people inherently distrust any law, even the occasional sensible ones. Too many kinds of bad government for too long have stripped the national character of any ability to distinguish between rational and irrational laws leaving authorities to blindly pick which to enforce or not and the population to assume that any law is both irrational and aimed against them personally.

  5. Robert says:

    Michael – you hit all nails right on the head. The questions arise, so what do you do? Retrain the entire citizenry? Enact very stiff penalties re the trash issue (and enforce them, by doing so you could pay the salaries of the enforcement people)

    I have been doing business in Poland since 1990 so I can relate to everything you say and a heck of a lot more.

    What else?

  6. […] Poland housing, property, secure by design, social insecurity, social security In Defence of The Fence: When stakes are high, our pikes are high […]

  7. darthsida says:

    Pardon my late re-comments, sirs.

    Gone back from the seaside, I noticed another advantage of the fence. The thing if close at the shore is where a human male can take a leak, or a canine anysex can take whatever comes out of it.
    Moreover, there were those “beach screens“, brethren of the fence proper. Even when there was no breeze.

    => Scatts,
    the land is not mine, neither’s the fence (or its successor).

    => Robert
    “dumping their plastic bags”?
    Hell yes, people would /will throw plastic bags onto my unguarded ground. But building a higher fence wouldn’t do much good. As once I found a cat. An mouthed half of it, to be more precise. The animal was so neatly cut (in two? could not find other part — or parts of it) that I couldn’t think of any method to do it but by means of some extra-terrestrial laser gun. So, yes, even aliens pitch a dump on me, apparently.

    => Michael
    The city of Wrocław (whose importance, largeness, population and wealth I don’t need to stress) does have any proper waste storage / dumpsite close enough to its outskirts. The law can be obeyed by having waste removed some 50km away from Wrocław (and think of gas prices) or the law can by bypassed by finding a wood or a park near you.

  8. Steven Woodruff says:

    I have no problem with fences. And Robert there are millions of fences in the US. But the Polish fence is special. It can and will, if need be, delay a tank for several hours. Why must Polish fences be made of iron and concrete . I feel as if I’m at the zoo at times.

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