April 16th, 2006
Toilet Revenge

Bouldin Creek
Hubcaps, giant chickens, scarecrows made from cattle skulls, and purple houses–that’s look and feel of Bouldin Creek neighborhood. Bring on the toilets!

An Ohio family was denied a permit request to build a privacy fence around their backyard because one neighbor felt a fence didn’t fit in with the “open look and feel” of the neighborhood. So the family decided to add their own flavor to the neighborhood’s look and feel by decorating their yard with toilets filled with plastic flowers and toilet bowl brushes painted to resemble swathes of flowers.

Funny because in my South Austin neighborhood a yard full of decorated toilets would fit right in. In fact, I’m surprised no one’s done it yet. (Once this story gets out, I’m looking forward to some fine examples.) I do think the toilet idea is clever and hope the Ohio family wins their battle to build their fence, but…

Bouldin Creek
Hubcap and CD decorated privacy fence

My own neighborhood of small bungalows is also in a fight over look and feel. Our concerns are the opposite. We don’t want people to build soulless McMansions with huge garages dominating the streets.

So I find myself on the opposite side of the fence from the toilet yard people. Although, I think that in their case their permit should have been granted, I don’t believe that owning a piece of property gives you the right to disregard one’s neighbors. In our case, I don’t think out-of-state land speculators should be able to pave over my neighborhood and make a quick buck at the expense of the people who have lived here and made it a community. Rights must be balanced with civic responsiblity. I think a lot of problems would solve themselves if we thought in terms of stewardship rather than ownership.

Bouldin Creek
Our bungalows have character!

If I wanted to live in the soulless suburb I would have bought a house in Circle C where green lawns are mandated despite watering restrictions and clotheslines are forbidden.

Bouldin Creek
Giant fiberglass chicken. Some people keep real chickens, too. And the mayor pardoned our neighborhood goat so that he could be kept as a pet and rather than be deported as livestock.

by M Sinclair Stevens

2 Responses to post “Toilet Revenge”

  1. From M2 (Austin):

    When B and I visit your neighborhood, we always moan about what we’re doing in the semi-soulless northern suburbs when our tribe is obviously down there.

    We’re thinking about moving to Seattle, and I’m insisting that we keep the house in case I don’t want to stay. Yesterday, B said, why keep *this* house? Why don’t we sell it so that, and if we don’t stay in Seattle, we can move to to M’s neighborhood, where we belong?

    It’s a radical thought, but it just might work.

  2. From Pam:

    The toilet-bowl/fence story is hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

    Pam, I especially liked one related story’s headline–“Pottied Plants”. — mss