I can't attribute this saying appropriately, despite my internet research - but it popped into my head as I watched Painters paint railings in my neighborhood this week:
'You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig'.
Meaning: You can't disguise the true character of something by trying to cover it up.
And, it made me chuckle. Because everyone is so busily invested in trying to make this neighborhood appear healthy... Everything is 'normal', nothing is wrong, nobody is culpable; Which makes the residents all happy. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth. Before I started complaining about the 'non-existent moat' next to my house in September, a little girl who lived here got bitten by a rat and was hospitalized for three weeks with infection. She almost died. But, we have nice, shiny new white railings.
The Soto Leeson Laundromat next door is still allowed to spew their noxious fumes at my front door, and my landlord is using mafia-like tactics to strong-arm me into signing another year-long lease with them. However - we have nice, shiny new white railings...
Squirrels drop dead around here like snowflakes fall, but at least we have nice, shiny new white railings....
The 'moat' has been drained and covered over (literally and figuratively) with Hay, but we have nice, new white railings.
I guess I should be grateful for that.... Hey, that pig doesn't look so bad after all... Put a string of Pearls on her, and she'll be ready for the Prom yet !