neighbourhoods

I couldn’t believe what I witnessed, about an hour ago, coming back from the foodstore with my two kids (and one in my belly), with grocery bags, heat, tiredness, kids and all hanging on to me.
Our neighbour, the one who is posting us warning, legal letters that he’ll sue us if we don’t stop using our fireplace (because it smells and the smell bothers him, apparently) and our air conditioner (because it’s noisy), took two of his three cars (yes, three) out of his garage and parked them all around the remaining available parking there was on our street.
The third car – already parked outside on the street.
It’s Friday.
I figured, people going out tonight to the nearby village, where all the pubs and clubs are, will be driving towards our part of town to look for parking.
The neighbour in question wants to fill up all parking space that’s left on our street to make sure that no drunk people bother him coming back to their cars in the small hours of the night.
At least that was my reasoning.
And how mean, if that’s what it is.

I couldn’t fathom.
How can there be people like this guy?
What mother and father brought him on this earth and then screwed him up so badly?
The fact that this week we received another legal letter from his lawyer, the ‘last warning’ because we still haven’t done anything about our fireplace (and not that we’re using it right now, when it’s sizzling hot outside), seeing him taking his cars out of his little, pathetic garage to deliberately park and block every last breathing space there is on our street, repulsed me beyond apprehension.
The guy is seriously nuts.
I couldn’t imagine him living in Homs, Syria.
He’d go sending legal warnings to the militaries complaining about noise and smells from all the bombing.
The guy will be shot.
At least twice,
Without warning.

I stood there, on our street, flabbergasted, staring at him bringing a car out of his garage and parking, bringing a car out of his garage and parking a second time, slowly, contentedly, blithely.
Why?
Actually, I wasn’t interested in why.
He’s nuts.
There’s nothing to reason about the guy.
It just dawned on me that every neighbourhood is like a theatre play.
And, as every play, every neighbourhood has its special characters.
All of them with very specific roles to play.

The Nazi
Perfect example – my neighbour.
That’s the guy who usually punctures the kids’ ball because they’re too noisy screaming around while they play football.
He’d be in his mid 60s, preferably without any children.
Although you might eventually find out he has a son who is equally obnoxious as his father, but thanks to the graceful mercy God, that son never visits.
The Nazi will be definitely married.
To a female Nazi.
Shall I say a Femazi, in that case?
His wife is the one who’d nervously ring at the door of the young parents neighbours around 2 in the afternoon – just about when their newborn twins have drifted to their afternoon nap – to only frighten the hell out of the little creatures and deprive them of any chance to rest (the parents, not the babies), and to complain about the unpleasant noise they are producing (the babies, and maybe – the parents, too).

The Nazi family is the one that never attends neighbourhood gatherings, or, if it does, the husband always protests, opposes, and objects to any neighbourhood proposal that has to do with collecting money, collective celebration, or anything that has to do with collectivity, or fun.

The Nazis hate animals, gays, lesbians, children, and anything living, breathing, and animate. They especially detest the neighbourhood’s gay couple and its persian cat, and send numerous threats every now and again that if the cat isn’t ‘removed’, then it may endure a dreadful accident.
By accident!
The Nazis hate children, especially children.
Teenagers?
That’s just unbearable for them to stomach.
Anything that goes wrong in the neighbourhood, a broken bench, a stolen apple from the street tree (in areas where those exist), or use of inappropriate language, the Nazis immediately report publicly and in the most humiliating of manners for the children, to their parents.
No idea what they do for a living, but it’ll be definitely something that contributes to their general misanthropy.

The neighbourhood slut
Shall we just say that that’s the prettiest woman in the neighbourhood?
Of course, to the rest of the female neighbours she is definitely a slut.
But it’s quite hard to define that term and who really subscribes to it nowadays.
I think, in general, each neighbourhood has one really pretty female, usually single – so that everyone can speculate on the possibility that she’s doing all the married men in the neighbourhood, while they don’t know that she is actually studying to be a cosmonaut.
The real slut is, in fact, an average, nearing ugly, singleton with the biggest knockers in town.
She’s horny as hell and always asks a married man to help her with her car engine.
The ugly – real – slut of the neighbourhood usually lives with her old, totally unaware of anything, bimbo mother, maybe a father, too, who’s a quiet alcoholic, or works in a factory from dusk till dawn, and has pigeons for pets whom he talks to and plays with on the weekends.
The slut’s name would be something on the line of Brittany, Britney, Sequoia, Kimberly, and the like. (any coincidence is unintentional).
She definitely works as a secretary or a clerk, but with a much fancier work title, like personal assistant’s auxiliary.
And, when she announces her job title, as when she utters pretty much anything else, she slides each syllable, blinking on every other, and finishes with an inadequate, shallow giggle.

The gay couple
These are usually the best dressed men, or the butchiest women around the block.
Unless Jody Foster is your neighbour.
Just kidding.
I’m lucky, in my neighbourhood, we have a couple of guys, who are absolute treat to the eye.
Mark, I think the wife in this case, never misses to flatter me, how well I do to keep working out despite having all these kids popping every 9 months or so.
The gay couples are a blessing to each neighbourhood.
Think Desperate Housewives’ gay couples.
I mean, those who don’t have them, they should change their neighbourhood with one that has gays in it.
The gay guys – they know what shoes go with what dress – always responsive in such crises.
They know what clears coffee stains of satin.
They love animals.
They love kids.
They love gossip.
They love collective fun, peace, cupcakes and tea when it rains, and they love love.
The gay women – I know, I’m stereotyping, but then again, I’m stereotyping about neighbourhoods, to begin with – they know how to build your kids a tree house, how to mend your car engine, and how to put the Nazi neighbours in their right place.
They love animals.
They love kids.
I’m not sure whether they love gossip, but then again, they’re women – I prefer that they do.
They love collective fun and peace, cupcakes and tea (or beer and cold cuts) when it rains, and they love love.

Mrs. Busybody
The gossiper.
The rubberneck meddler.
If you don’t have one in your neighbourhood, then you’re not in a neighbourhood.
Maybe you live in a forest, far, far away.
If you’re the one in your neighbourhood, you should know what your neighbours think of you.
Mrs. Busybody-nice-gal.
It’s not a ‘Mr’, that’s first.
Secondly, Mrs. Busybody nice is the one who knows everything about everyone, but this one is friendly with everyone and you can always get fresh news updates from her – like an online podcast – about everything: who’s doing what at any moment, who’s the Slut sleeping with this time, what’s fresh at Tommy the grocer’s today, whether your kids did study while you were at work, and what is actually Mr. Nazi building in his garage!
Mrs. Busybody-bad-gal is very likely to be Mrs. Nazi, so just refer to Mrs. Nazi’s description should you wish to know more about that character and her role.
Most neighbourhoods have Mrs. curious-nice-gal though.
She is usually widowed, has many kids – now grown up – who’d come around Christmas, and who’d be so loud and tempered but who would throw the best Christmas party for the whole neighbourhood.
Mrs. Busybody-nice-gal would also be a retired teacher, or something nice like that, and she’d love children.
She’d be disciplining them all for everything but, she’d be the woman to give them extra candy around Halloween.
The best combination is Mrs. Busybody and gay couple having a drink with you in your kitchen. You practically forget that your husband hasn’t come back from work yet when it’s already 10 in the evening, or maybe he’s with the kids playing Wii so late in the night when it’s school time.
Irrelevant.

The kids

Aren’t they the best characters of all in our neighbourhoods?
Well, to the Nazis, they’re not.
I remember myself – oh, isn’t it important for adults, to always remember that we were once kids, uncontrollable, ecstatic, curious, wild – the noise we created in our own neighbourhood.
The story I wrote a while ago describes part of what it was for real.
The mad shrieks, the delirious laughter, the out-of-control running, the constant running, the constant laughter and energy.
All that like an out-of-tune orchestra resonating in the neighbours’ windows, causing tremor in the neighbours’ kitchen cupboards, bringing joy in the neighbours’ adult, grey lives.
Ok, except for the Nazis.

The rest of the houses in the neighbourhood are usually filled up with middle aged, average families. Some having problems conceiving a child; some having problems saving a marriage; some whose husband works night shifts; some whose wife is going to die in two months; some whose kids live far away and never call; some who have just had their second child and are beyond imagination tired; some whose son serves in Afghanistan; some who have lost a daughter to cancer.

They all live across each other.
Next to each other.
Each one with their own story, peculiarities, hopes.
In some parts of the world they don’t know each others’ names.
In others – they spend their Sunday afternoons barbecuing together, as neighbours.
Yet, in other parts of the world, their neighbours have just been raided; and in yet others, their neighbourhoods lie in piles of rubble imbued with blood.

It’s a lovely place the neighbourhood.
Minus the Nazis.
But then again, you always need an antagonist – to contribute to the bonding of the protagonists – in the play.
There’s one more, of course, not mentioned: the narrator.
That’ll be, hm, me.
The description?
A secret.

🙂

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