Thursday, December 21, 2006

White picket fences

Q. How would you be if you threw a street party and no-one came?
A. Meh, fuck knows. You think I'm that needy? Ask my loser neighbours.

A very classy A4 sheet, surrounded by a standard Microsoft Office holly border, arrived in our letterbox on the weekend. (We live in a street with the same name as a poet, though the spelling is slightly different. So let's call our street Tennison St. I've always rather liked Tennyson. My high school's motto even came from one of his poems.) So here we go with the invite (sics included):

"You're invited!"
(I am! Really? Whacko! Someone likes me!)

"What: You are invited to the Tennison St street party for an informal get together, chat, bite to eat, and game of street cricket" (Oh, bloody hell - my neighbours use Oxford commas. I hate those!)
"Where: On Number X's driveway and front lawn
"When: 21st of December, from 6.30pm onwards
"Bring: Some drinks and nibbles to share, a chair and your festive cheer!"

"Oh, Christ", I thought. "Festive fucking cheer? I used all that up decorating the tree on Sunday!"

They did it last year and, living in fear of Christmas laying seige to our door, we went out. This year, I have successfully avoided most aspects of the festive season and had absolutely nowhere to go this evening but the couch. Hurrah for me, yeah?

Nevertheless, I was prepared. The bins went out early, as did Bloke. I came home just before the start of the "street party" and noticed that (since rain was expected - rain? pah!) they had put out a couple of lovely blue tarpaulins to protect the expected revellers, their drinks and their nibbles from the hoped-for Biblical downpour. (Edit: we did actually have rather a lot of rain and a pretty decent thunder storm, but I doubt it was enough to put anything in the reservoirs.)

Naturally, being a crabby, unneighbourly and antisocial harridan, I was determined to ignore it. But I couldn't help it. It was so ominously quiet. When I let Mr Furpants in, I poked my nose around the corner of the house. No adults, four children, standing in the street.

The people at Number X have somewhere in the vicinity of four children. I've never quite worked out exactly how many kids they do have. When we moved in, said kids were remarkably like the ducks in a shooting gallery. I'd be sanding window frames and, distracted by the screaming of ickle durls, would look up. Ickle durls on bikes and roller blades would barrel back and forth through my line of sight, turn around and barrel back again. They were always screaming. Bloke used to refer to them as The Spice Girls, since they always seemed to be scream-singing something incomprehensible and in the hope there were talent scouts living in nearby homes.

So, there seems to be an immensely amusing Tennison St street party going on without me. Or, indeed, without most of the people in Tennison St. About now, I probably should point out exactly how thick the guy at number X is.

His name is John*. For a while, about three of the guys across the road were called John, but then a couple of them moved, leaving Dumb Ass John as Only John.

I'm not sure that Only John has a profession, or even that he works. For all I know, he's Thomas Pynchon in disguise, but I think not. Why? Because I have had three conversationswith Only John and I doubt Thomas Pynchon would have talked to me at all. I'm not Ian McEwan, after all.

Conversation one:
(Soon after Bloke and I move in)
OJ: Hi, I live across the road.
Me: Oh, hi.
OJ: Notice you're renovating.
Me: Er, yeah.
OJ: Got any old scrap metal? I'm building a dog house.
Me: Er, no.
OJ: Oh, OK. Bye.

Conversation two:
OJ: Hi, I live across the road.
Me: Yeah, I remember.
OJ: Notice you're getting your floors sanded.
Me: Er, yeah.
OJ: Can I have the name of the people doing it?
Me: Er, yeah. Here's their card.
OJ: Oh, OK. Bye.

Conversation three:
OJ: Hi! I had a big swarm of bees in my carport about two weeks ago!
Me: Oh, did you now?
OJ: Yeah. And you know what?
Me: Hmm, I think I can guess. What?
OJ: They all flew out of my carport and DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY!
Me: Oh, really?
OJ: Yeah.
Me: Guess that would explain why I just had to get an apiarist in to remove the BEEHIVE FROM MY CHIMNEY, then, yeah?
OJ: Oh, yeah, probably. Bye.

What can I say? Really? Would you want to take a plate of cheese cubes and kabana and a bottle of Fruity Lexia and have a game of street cricket with this guy?

Plus, I'm a sarky harridan with no community spirit, so you wouldn't really have expected anything else of me.

*Names altered to protect ME. Yes, me. Bugger everyone else.

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At 4:52 am, December 22, 2006, Blogger jedimerc said...

A4... that cracks me up everytime. Amazing, we speak the same language (sometimes) but we can't even agree on paper size for printers and copiers (or paper size in general).

Was your motto from 'Ulysses?' ( the last lines are very much what a high school would use :)

If only my neighbors were so cheery and festive... oh wait, they are and intent on dragging me to a New Years party, well, at least the booze will be good.

At 8:42 am, December 22, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Jedimerc, bingo on Ulysses! But no, we don't speak quite the same language. After all, you guys think an arse is an ass and a G-string is a thong ;)

At 9:18 am, December 22, 2006, Blogger Javatari said...

Don't get me started on Neighbours! I've actually had one I'd never spoken to before borrow (well, actually take) eggs, and another ask my wife to babysit her kids! The most I even tolerate from neighbours is a polite wave. I would prefer if they avoided eye contact and just kept the hell away from me and my properly. I'm gonna make a great grumpy old man some day. ;-)

At 9:55 am, December 22, 2006, Blogger jedimerc said...

And thongs are sandals... yes, last time I called them thongs I got some curious looks.

The worst, though, is the expression 'root, or to root'. In Texas, it means to 'go for' as in I 'root for the Dallas Cowboys'. In good ol 'OZ, well... it apparently means 'to have sex with'. I magine my surprise and theirs) when I told some Aussies I rooted for the Dallas Cowboys...

At 10:29 am, December 22, 2006, Blogger meva said...

So, at last, there is an advantage to living on a main road. No street parties! No street cricket! And you never get to meet the neighbours across the road, because it's 4 lanes of traffic.

Lucky me :)

At 3:09 pm, December 22, 2006, Blogger killerrabbit said...

What are oxford commas? Is that when you comma before an and?

No way would I go to a street party to be forced to chat inanely with neighbours...good call avoiding it.

At 12:41 pm, December 23, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Javatari, people just don't seem to get it, do they? After all, you have nothing in common apart from the fact you happen to like the same suburb enough to move there.

Jedimerc, yeah, "root" is a bad one like that.

Meva, winner!

KR, yep, that's it. I've never been a fan.

At 9:56 am, December 24, 2006, Blogger Ariel said...

I reckon the only place these days that good neighbours become good friends is Ramsay Street. I do recall hanging out with the neighbours a lot when I was a kid, but practically never as an adult. (One neighbour who had kids approx same age as mine.)

This cracked me up, RC.

At 11:39 am, December 24, 2006, Blogger PetStarr said...

So this is off the topic a bit, but knowing redcap's taste in fellas, I thought she might like to know that our good friend Emma was apparently living across the road from Clive Owen in London, until recently when he moved. I wish I was joking. The awful truth can be found in the comments here.

At 2:43 pm, December 24, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Ariel, admittedly, I used to spend a fair bit of time with the kids in my street when I was young too. That was before I grew into a grumpy old tart, of course ;)

Pet, nooooo! Right, when Emma comes back, she is so dropped!

At 2:40 pm, December 25, 2006, Blogger Ms Smack said...

ha, hilarious.. although their IDEA Is nice....

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This comment has been removed by the author.

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