Pulling up the drive, she immediately knew something wasn’t quite right. It didn’t take her long, but when she realized exactly what was off she couldn’t miss it, but she could barely believe the sheer audacity.
Her entire house, once a cheerful yellow that she’d loved, was a completely different color from when she’d left it. Well, if her controlling neighbor wanted to play this game, she could play. She cooked up an act of revenge so petty and savage that soon, the entire neighborhood was clapping back.
Diane Albers had been a people-pleaser all her life. She had been a devoted wife and mother, always putting her family’s needs before her own.
But after the dust had settled on her bitter divorce and all her children had left home, she decided that she needed a fresh start in life. After all, everyone was always telling her that life only started at fifty. And boy, were they right.
Figuring that she could work from anywhere, Diane sold her house and took the proceeds and her small divorce settlement to Newton County, Georgia, where she began to look for the home she would live out the rest of her days in.
She found a charming yellow house in the quaint, leafy suburb of Trotter’s Walk and instantly fell in love. But, she’d neglected to consider who she’d moving next door to.
Ready for the new chapter of her life, Diane packed up her things and moved in and everything seemed to be going well. She introduced herself to all her new neighbors and exchanged phone numbers.
But, not a week had gone by before her closest neighbor on one side, Dick Hopkins, began to exhibit some very strange behavior.
Right away, Dick started making unusual comments about the color Diane’s house was painted. Every time they bumped into one another, he had another remark about her yellow house.
Diane thought it was strange, at first. But then, one day, he handed her a business card for his son’s business and she began to suspect that she had inherited an issue that wasn’t just going to go away.
After weeks of dropping hints that Diane should get her house repainted, Dick had had enough of being discreet. New neighbor or not, the color of Diane’s house had irked him for years now.
Finally, he had a chance to remedy what he thought was a blight on his peaceful neighborhood. He began demanding outright that Diane painted her house a more sensible color… or else.
Diane politely refused to give in to Dick’s demands. She loved the color of her house — it was cheery and made her smile every time she pulled up the drive.
Besides, it was her right to have her house any color she wanted. But Dick was about to take his craziness up another notch. Now, this was war.
One day, Diane opened the door and was greeted by a policeman, who was accompanied by her delightful neighbor. He had a smug look on his face, but the policeman couldn’t do anything about Diane’s yellow house.
“But it’s destroying my house’s property value!” Dick simpered, uselessly. “Is there an HOA?” The policeman asked helpfully. Diane smirked. Checkmate.
You see, the neighborhood wasn’t part of a Home Owner’s Association, and Diane liked it that way. Dick, defeated, began hanging around the house, trying to catch Diane off guard so that he could bully her into compliance.
He tried reporting the color of her house to the city, but they also insisted that Diane hadn’t broken any bylaws. But now that Dick had lost the battle, surely he would leave it at that?
One day, Diane decided to install a six-foot fence around her yard for some privacy. She didn’t feel comfortable with her neighbor always nosing around. When she went to inspect it, she noticed the cameras again.
She’d always wondered why the previous owners had installed them on the yellow house — Trotter’s Walk was a safe neighborhood. But it wouldn’t be long before she found out what they were really for.
Of course, Dick had something to say about the new fence. He had been waiting to take a jab at Diane and immediately saw his opportunity. Dick got the county involved, who agreed that the fence was too high and ordered Diane to shorten it by two feet.
She had no choice but to comply… after all, the law was the law. She cut it down to four feet and was ready to put the whole thing behind her. But that was only the first shot across the bow.
A few weeks after the fence debacle, Diane was excited to get out of town and visit her daughter for a few days — she hadn’t seen her since she had moved away eight months ago.
On her way back home with a few happy memories and a light heart, she was also happy to be coming back to her little yellow house. Only, when she drove down her street, she almost drove right past it.
Pulling up the drive, she was dumbstruck when she saw that her entire house was a completely different color from when she’d left it! How had this happened? Suddenly, she knew exactly how… she couldn’t believe the audacity!
Looking through the security footage, she saw the van with “Hopkins’ Painting Services” pull up. Fuming and incredulous, Diane felt absolutely violated. Her old people-pleasing self had wanted to keep the peace, but Dick forced a vengeful side of Diane to emerge.
Diane drove to the local hardware store and loaded up on what she would need. She bought paint rollers and selected the most Dick-infuriating palette she could find.
Back home, the job didn’t take long — she didn’t need it to look good. Dick had a problem with her fence, so it was time to serve up some grade-A malicious compliance.
For three hours Diane painted furiously, keeping an eye out for Dick’s car all the while. She leaned over and streaked hideous neon green, pink, purple, orange, and yellow all over the portion of the fence that was facing Dick’s house. Of course, when he saw what she’d done to spite him, he was livid. And the best part?
There was nothing he could do about it. “I’m just exercising my First Amendment Right,” Diane said sweetly in an interview. And it wasn’t lost on anyone that she had painted her side of the fence an even shade of grey-blue.