Shelter Island’s “Well, I Don’t Like It” Building Commission

First, I want to go on record that I love my mother very much. I’ve known her for years and she’s as lovely and decent a woman as you would ever be privileged to know. However, Mother has a peccadillo about people changing the appearance of their home or yard without clearing it with her first. She’s a member of what I call The Shelter Island “Well, I Don’t Like It” Self-Appointed Building Commission. I understand there are many members in this group, but they never meet because they can never agree on changes.

For example, there’s a very nice home down the road from her that has two adorable lighthouses flanking the driveway, one has a green light on the left (port) and the other has a red light (starboard). I just love it, so cute for a nautical theme. On the rare occasions when one of the lights is out, I never worry since the little lighthouses are only decorative and not actually guiding any ships into port. Not so for members of The Shelter Island “Well, I Don’t Like It” Self-Appointed Building Commission! What follows is not fiction. These are excerpts from actual conversations.

Mother: “Oh, their green light is out. I wonder if they know it. They’re usually so good about that.”

Me: “Don’t worry. I’m sure the next person who drives in will tell them.”

Mother: “Well. how long will that be? Maybe you could write them a note and leave it on the door.”

Me: “Don’t be absurd. They will eventually notice or be told that one of the lights has gone out.”

Mother: “They should probably change the red light at same time since that one will go next.”

Me: “I’m sure they’ll increase their vigilance over the red bulb in anticipation of it going out next.”

Mother: “Unless the red one went out recently and they already changed it and now it’s the green one’s turn to go out.”

Me: “There’s no need to worry, Mom, we won’t come home this way again ever.”

Mother: “Don’t be sarcastic. And I like going home the other way better anyway. I love that two-story Victorian with the beautiful wall paper in the living room.”

Fast forward two days, we are driving home and passing her favorite Victorian house.

Mother: “Stop! Back up the car!

Me: “What!? What is it?”

Mother: “They took down the paper! They took down that beautiful wallpaper and painted the living room some kind of peach! It’s too peachy! I hate it! Why did they take down that paper? It was perfect!”

Me: “Calm down. It’s their house, they can do anything they want.”

Mother: “Yes, but they have sheer curtains, everyone can see in. Nobody’s going to like this color.”

Me: “You’re killing me, Mom. Just close your eyes the rest of the way home.”

Mother: “All right, but don’t drive by the gnome house.”

Me: “Why not? You love those seven dwarf gnomes in the yard.”

Mother: “They got rid of the gnomes.”

Me: “What? The Sleeping Beauty gnomes? I love that set.”

Mother: “They put up a shiny red ball on a pedestal.”

Me: “Okay, I’m pulling in. If they still have the gnomes, I’ll try to buy them.”

The Shelter Island “Well, I Don’t Like It” Self-Appointed Building Commission & No Kill Gnome Rescue Association lives on….

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