When I was a child, there was a scene from a movie (the title of which is lost to me) where an old woman with beehive hair holds up a parabolic spy microphone, trying to listen to the main character’s argument with his wife. The angry wife screams loudly, seeing the beehive hairdo creeping over the fence. The old woman’s eardrums are nearly blown out by the amplified sound. She gets her just reward for trying to listen in to a private disagreement.

In many ways, this is similar to today’s American government. The NSA is the old woman with the beehive hair, wanting to know your private thoughts and conversations. Her life is so uninteresting and miserable, she has to spread the hate. Perhaps she can report you to the authorities for domestic disturbance or gossip to her bingo buddies and spread rumors about you.

My father owns a house on a upper middle class golf course, and his homeowner’s association is particularly aggressive as a result. One old woman took exception to a repairman parking in front of the house, and tried to get him fined for the offense. The only problem is, the repairman wasn’t even working on my father’s house (he was there for a neighbor’s home), and my father wasn’t even home at the time the supposed offense occurred.

This is the government’s other function, to ensure that minor violations of the law are properly registered, fined, and punished. Park an inch over the line in many jurisdictions in New York, and you will be fined. In Los Angeles some years back, I had my car parked in long term parking at LAX airport. Over the week it was parked there, mud got on the license plate, most likely kicked up by another automobile. The parking lot enforcers fined me $25 for having my license plate covered up. Most people have received speeding tickets for violating a posted speed limit while nonetheless driving entirely safely and with the current speed of traffic.

While the fines themselves can be expensive, depending on the offense, the biggest bother is with actually paying them and dealing with remedial classes, paperwork and the Kafkan nature of the legal system. To avoid points on your license, you will attend a class listening to some droning bureaucrat warning us that stop signs, in fact, mean to stop your car. Gee, who would have thought that? I was once forced to take a bicycle safety class because my bicycle helmet wasn’t tightly secured. That was even more mundane and useless than the remedial drivers’ courses.

Hillsborough county put in place a series of watering restrictions earlier this year, without bothering to notify residents. They did post the restrictions on their website, but unless you go to the county website on a frequent basis, you would never have known. They fined me $100 for watering on the wrong day of the week. They sent me the notice a week after the violation occurred, along with a picture of the sprinklers on at 5AM on a Monday morning. Of course, trolling neighborhoods at 5 in the morning is perfectly acceptable for them. I wonder if they employ old bitties to do this job.

Anyway, they demanded immediate payment. The letter with the enclosed violation informed me that I had to pay the $100 within twenty days of the violation. Note that they took a week just to send it to me. The late fee would be $5000 and an immediate lien on my property. If I had been out of town when the notice came in, I would have been out five grand (I have heard horror stories of this happening to other residents in my county). Nonetheless, I immediately sent payment and signed the forms, which, due to the slowness of the postal service in this state, was received and cashed with only one day to spare.

I also shut off my sprinkler system since I discovered Hillsborough county frequently changes watering days and I didn’t want to get stuck with another fine. Almost immediately, a notice from the HOA arrived declaring my grass wasn’t green enough. You can’t defeat the bureaucracies. The old women are relentless in their duty. And in this case, it is entirely correct.

My HOA board is populated solely by old retired women, because they do not work and they all conspired to vote for each other. My next door neighbor ran for a spot and lost despite spending an inordinate amount of time collecting absentee votes from all of us on the block. It is common to see the old women trolling the neighborhood during all hours of the day (and inordinately early in the morning) searching for possible violations. They can also report you to the county if they see you watering on the wrong day.

I will never forget walking into the DMV trying to renew my license, because the renew online system would not process my license. When I arrived at the DMV, I was informed that my vehicle was uninsured, and they needed proof of insurance before they would renew my license. Since I have had GEICO as my insurance company for the better part of a decade, this was confusing to me. As it so happened, someone at GEICO mistyped the VIN number of my truck, fudging one digit. The DMV’s system had picked up on that and flagged me for non-renewal.

The old bat lady at the DMV refused to allow me to renew my license until the error was corrected, delivering to me a lecture on how important insurance was and how irresponsible it was to be uninsured. I offered to call GEICO right then and there, and have them fax her paperwork with the typo corrected. She informed me that I would have to wait in line again, but they would close in an hour, and I would have to come back tomorrow… I had been there for four hours at this point.

You see them everywhere, these old women, bitter about their life of cats and paperwork. They spread misery and hate one form at time. They are there behind your fence holding up a microphone, waiting to report you for domestic disturbance. They are trolling your streets to report you to the HOA and rat you out to the county for disobeying a law you didn’t even know existed. They waste 8 hours of your life in the DMV, listening to the droning numbers and letters, trying not to catch a disease from the sweat-stained troll sitting next to you.

My opinion of government can be summed up as a miserable old woman hell bent on sharing her nastiness with the rest of the world. But when you pin her down, when you say “get off my lawn, it’s none of your business” she will shirk in fear and cry out for the authorities to save her from the mean young man.

These things rule the world. It’s time we take it back from them.

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