Used to be that a neighbor with a pool was a neighbor worth having. Then came the foreclosure crisis.
Turns out that abandoned swimming pools at foreclosed homes aren't simply becoming fetid breeding grounds for flying insects. The New York Times has a story in today's edition that highlights the allure that these cement ponds have for another form of pest -- the species known to scientists as bedheadanddirtyshirtonwheelsicus, or just plain "skateboarders."
Not only are these carefree members of the Everybody-Plays Generation using high-tech methods to locate foreclosed homes with pools -- Web sites like Realtor.com and the virtual globe Google Earth -- but, according to The Times, some out here in California travel fully equipped with gas-powered pumps, buckets, shovels and brooms. Once the kidney-shaped, concrete prey is located it's drained and cleared for a day of play.
Ever mindful of nosy neighbors, the bedheadanddirtyshirtonwheelsicus keenly limits its infestations to daytime use on weekdays, when most people are away at ... uh ... whatever you call that thing people do to get money. There's even a Web site -- skateandannoy.com -- where the uninitiated can get tips, or post links to video evidence of their adventures in trespassing.
Though the skaters who talked to the media claimed to be doing no damage to property, they might be surprised to learn of the threat posed by a couple big words like hydrostatic pressure. Granted, it's more of an issue in states like Florida, where serious rain can raise the water table very quickly and literally pop an empty pool out of the ground, but a couple pool professionals have told me the same catastrophic result could occur here, given a good soak.