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April 15, 2009

Just another day in the neighborhood.

This morning on the bus a weird woman sat in front of me and kept turning around and staring. Not just staring at me, but sort of generally staring at all the people around and behind her with that expectant "I want to find someone to chat up!" face. When you take mass transit out here you learn early on to avoid the chitchatters. You don't engage, don't make eye contact, and treat them much like you would a wild hyena you encounter on your driveway. Walk slowly away, making yourself as invisible as possible. Keep your head down low. Never let them see your fear.

Crazy people LOVE me, though. They LOVE me. Sometimes it is my fault, because for flash, fleeting moments I forget I live in this crackass crazy city and I forget that when someone stops me on the street or the bus to ask me something they are just as often INSANE as they are lost and needing directions. Sometimes they are both.

On the news when something wacky happens in a neighborhood (man stockpiling weapons, nice family of five with a meth lab in the basement, serial killers, etc.) the reporter will interview the suspects's neighbors and the neighbors generally say something like, "Oh he was nice, quiet. Kept to himself a lot." I was thinking about this on my way into work since I am really the only quiet person on my block, the only one who keeps to herself. My neighbors are loud and sadly never keep to themselves. Sunday night it was the party people next door, and this morning it was the neighbors whose car alarm goes off each morning because they still forget to disarm it before opening the car door. On the weekends it's impossible to have a quiet moment in my 'hood because the family across the street conducts every conversation outdoors using their highest volume setting. They have become friends with another family several houses away and instead of using this newfangled "telamaphone" gadget, they just holler down the street to each other and all their collective kids. It's delightful.

Actually, I don't think they know how loud they are. For a while I thought maybe all their kids were hard of hearing since the mom has to yell at each one thirty times a night to come in, shut the door, bring your bike in, etc. Finally it dawned on me that poor mother had children with a rare strain of selective deafness. They seem to hear nothing their mother says between the hours of four and eight p.m. Fascinating! I was going to call my dad and ask if any of his children (though surely not me) had ever suffered from rapid-onset selective deafness but I didn't want to hear his answer so I didn't bother calling.

Anyway, I don't have a human head in my fridge or a drug lab in the garage but I am really the quiet one who keeps to herself in the neighborhood. If any of my neighbors ever get arrested I plan to tell the TV news reporter that they were loud, bothered everyone, and couldn't work a car alarm. And also I will complain about my evil arch nemesis, the ice cream man. Just 'cause.

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Posted by laurie at April 15, 2009 7:34 AM