Despite the fact that we ceased to be students some time ago, Roscoe and I still live in the student ghetto. Our miniature porch faces onto the backyard (or rather the basketball court cum parking lot) of a frat house. Across the street is a hovel which houses, by our count, five young men who enjoy shoving foreign objects through all their extremities and tattooing the rest of their visible epidermal layer.
Our neighbour, who rarely turns down an offer of banana bread. Photo credit: Munir Hamdan)
They also take pleasure in blasting angry death metal music while I make dinner. Most of the time I don’t mind strains of “%&#K THE WORLD AND EVERYOOOOOOOOOONE” followed by intense guitar solos, but after a long day I have been known to don the ear protecting head phones worn by most construction workers.
With the exception of discovering a partially eaten hamburger on our lawn or having to walk the long route to the park while the metal heads try and film “a sweet sweet trick” on the sidewalk and part of the road, both the frat boys and the metallers are good neighbours.
The end of the school year is approaching for university students and so the other night the metallers were throwing a party. Roscoe was on call at the hospital so our family friend Gordy* was over to have dinner and help me guard against a ghost break in. Living in an eighty year old house does unfortunately come with downsides.
So Gordy and I were just returning from our after dinner walk to the river when I noticed all the people milling on the metaller’s lawn, beside a minivan which was also on the lawn. University cities love to ticket vehicles parked on lawns, it’s an easy way to add to the city budget. However this was the end of the metaller’s year, so even though I didn’t necessarily share their love of head banging guitar solos and swear words I didn’t want their revelry to be marred by a seventy dollar ticket.
So I marched my five foot two self right over to the group of them. “Oi!” I said.
Just as a reference when entering a new culture it’s important to use language from that culture to help integrate yourself with it’s people, hence my “Oi!” to begin the exchange.
“Oi!” I said as I approached a young man with spacers in his ears so large that a baby’s fist could have gone straight through them. “You’ll get a ticket if you park there, that’s my house.” I gestured to the red brick building across the street. “You’re welcome to park in the driveway as long as you leave me space to get to work in the morning.”
All of the young men turned to face me. Collectively they had enough hardware in their young heads to open a store. “Thank you so much!’ they exclaimed.
Gordy stood the whole time a short distance away, ready to jump in at any moment should the youths turn and pull a shiv out of one of their many zippered pant pockets.
“I can’t believe you just walked up to them like that” he said. Maybe it was brave, or maybe it was my near sightedness and forgotten glasses that prevented me from seeing the hypodermic needles full of meth they were holding, but in my experience if someone walks up to you offering free parking and you want free parking, you almost never can go wrong. So Gordy and I listened as screamo metal wafted in through hundred year old windows for two hours afterwards and then Gordy left for the evening. The ghosts of course then moved in, rattling our thirty year old fridge until it was all but on it’s side and tapped tree branches on the windows.
*Although Gordy is arguably the second biggest fan of The Great Unwashed his name has been changed because at some point I may want to talk smack about him and so it’s best if he has only an inkling that Gordy might be his nom de plume.
Talking smack about people may very well be The Great Unwashed’s new schtick. After finishing both the partially clothed in church post and the award post I shall be doing a new series entitled “Diana may in fact be a lemur”.