Life can be a stupidly peculiar old thing. It never ceases to surprise me. The assholes of the world are somehow absolved from time to time by a never ending streak of creativity that cracks at the air like a bull-whip when you least expect it, sending you either teetering on the brink of some grand realisation, or setting you loose like a balloon dancing playfully in the warm currents of mirth and good cheer.
I’ve mentioned my neighbours in previous posts, the ones to the right if facing out of my bedroom window, who are of an interesting extraction, Eastern-European I’m guessing. The Dad who likes to tinker with mechanics, and religiously warms his engine every morning beneath my bedroom window at the same ungodly hour of 5:45 before finally letting me get some peace and quiet again. The same Dad who went through a spate of leaving his rubbish bin in front of my garage on my drive because he’d decided that exerting his masculinity and thus claiming his psychological territory over the newcomer (me) was somehow a good idea. He picked the wrong little lady to play neighbourly footsie with I can tell you. I know an asshole when I see one. This strange act of neighbourly courtship lasted until I decided that instead of moving his rubbish bin back in front of his garage repeatedly, that I would hide it around the corner of the street. Eventually he desisted.
They are a colourful family, with a constant army of people seemingly wandering in and out of the premises on a daily basis. The mother, a lovely woman, the sort that gives all the neighbours in the cul-de-sac a Christmas card from the family, and warns you personally of any impending danger owing to son’s parties.
The walls are very thin in these houses, and being smack bang in the middle of a terrace I hear it all. So when Mr.Mechanic came home one evening a few months back and decided to let the fury of hell out on one of his family members I was here, experiencing every unintelligible word argued at a million decibels, believing that at any moment there was sure to be a fatality. Four hours later the dust settled, and I hoped, hoped I did, that he had decided to move out as I had seen him drive away with children in tow. Sadly I think elderly Mum and Dad had told him not to be such and idiot and go back home, grown-arsed swine that he was (I can only imagine that is what happened). It was quiet for a good few days after that. Good to know they all got it out of their systems for a while.
Then, there are the neighbours to the left. The woman who, in an effort to look like a Lucile Ball china doll with her drawn on eyebrows suggesting an expression of permanent surprise, instead looks like a short china troll with a mantelpiece you could proudly display a carriage clock on. The man, who is so accustomed to speaking at a shout to his young psychopathic children sounds like he has permanent vocal strain. I hear them too, through my paper-thin walls being run ragged by three little demonic forms that are often seen parading starkers out in the elements, much to my own children’s amusement. Highly inappropriate family full-stop. Not that I am the model of perfection by a long shot when it comes to reprimanding my own brats, but there is a limit. They of the flashy Christmas lights wrapped around their Yucca Plant (more of a tree really), left on all night, every night over the extended Christmas period which began somewhen last November, and which flashied right through my front door and my bedroom window above making the whole house light up like a fucking Christmas tree!
When I eventually managed to catch them to express my grievances, and after my eldest son decided to announce to them at full voice that “My mum finds it really annoying”, smiling as he did so, we struck a happy medium wherein they would eventually switch the damned lights off some nights in the tight wee hours of the morning, and leave them on other nights on non-flashy mode. Some nights, however, they clearly forgot altogether, or just couldn’t be arsed.
Having become accustomed to a certain kind of discordant wailing drifting through my walls from their humble abode of loud TVs and even louder children on pretty much a daily basis, imagine my utter surprise when I heard a highly pitched manly voice singing from the room on the opposite side of the wall as I took my morning bath today. I stood transfixed for a time, trying to tune my hearing into the melodic but almost familiar cadence of song typical to the Indian Subcontinent, echoed in the roots of flamenco music that I myself grew up listening to. I thought at first he was taking the piss, as the man looks like an ordinary white British bod, then I contemplated the possibility that it was the TV blaring, except that the singing softened and became louder from time to time as he obviously paced about the room.
As I continued to listen however, I soon realised that not only did he appear to be fluent in whatever language he was singing in, as he would stop periodically and talk animatedly, not sure to whom, but that his singing voice was most accomplished. It was almost pleasant to listen to. He carried a complex melody that I could only conclude came from a thorough knowledge of that style of music, and language notwithstanding. I stood throughout the whole rendition, one foot in the bath, the other on the bath mat, with a stupid grin on my face and my own look of surprise arching above my then very awake eyes. For a moment, the man was redeemed in my estimations, and I wondered if he kept this a secret from he Missus as I’d never heard him sing at any other time? It was clear he was alone. I know they both like a curry owing to the frequent visits from the home delivery guys from the India Star just over the fence in the shopping arcade, but this was a total eye-opener. Maybe they hadn’t minded my own singing now and then after all. People are peculiar creatures.