Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Where I am glad to not be

I heard the neighbors arguing last night.

They live a block away, but the screaming was loud enough to be heard through their one open window. The man was very very upset; indeed, I heard him scream "I'M REALLY FUCKING ANGRY RIGHT NOW!", which indicated a certain level of anger that is not the "regular" anger of most people. I'm surprised he had voice left to scream with after that, but oh, how he did.

I heard the word "nigger" a dozen times or more. He screamed at her to SHUT THE FUCK UP each time she tried to talk. There was talk of drugs, HER drugs. She was being berated because she didn't know how to behave, because if she behaved then he wouldn't get mad like that, and if she wasn't friends with niggers, who presumably wanted the drugs she's giving out, then he wouldn't have to get so mad.

It went on for ten long minutes. Those ten minutes made me sick and quivery. I've been party to fights like that, and the memory of my reaction to them, the situations under which they took place, the tissue-thin peace that is achieved after one person gives in and just.stops.fighting, is horrible.

What's worse is that there's a little crib mobile hanging in one of the windows. Someplace in that house there's a child. A baby. A baby with a Daddy who screams racial epithets at the top of his lungs while the windows are open, a Mommy who may or may not be inviting a drug element into their home, a family dynamic that includes a father who drinks and drives (he got in his car with a beer in his hand, y'all. I know this because I took a little casual walk past their house to suss out the situation...with a friend, because I'm not dumb enough to do that kind of thing alone), with a Mom who let him back in again so that the fighting could start all over.

Poor baby. Poor people. Nobody deserves to live like that. Nobody deserves to live on the skin of a hot argument that's ready at any moment, any provocation, to bubble up and scald them with the bitterness from which it's made. NOBODY.

I feel for those people. I've been in that situation (minus the drugs, in case you were interested). It was no fun. It was, in a word, awful. I thought I had forgotten how bad it could be, until I heard the neighbors arguing last night, and I wanted to cry.


The neighborhood in which I live is a family place, a quiet place, a place where regular folks live. It's certainly not all Beemers and nannies, but just because it's NOT doesn't mean that the people in my neighborhood are any more or less prone to poor interpersonal behavior than anyone of any other socioeconomic stripe.

It can happen anywhere. To almost anyone. Put two people who are wrong for each other in close approximation for a period of time, and sometimes fireworks will explode, ripping apart the reason they got together in the first place and leaving only raw wounds behind that never fully heal. Farms, cities, town, apartments, mansions, bungalows, cottages, hovels, Victorians, all can be inhabited by unhappiness.

It's a sad fact that my neighbors will probably keep at this pattern of behavior while their child grows up, and that THIS will be the model of a happy relationship that he or she develops. Poor baby. Poor people. To be so trapped, so angry.

Recently a moving truck showed up at a house down the block from me. Only ONE person's stuff moved out. I guess they figured a way out of unhappiness, but only after the cops had been there several times. There was never any audible shouting, never any outward sign of discord, but as soon as that truck pulled away carrying one person's stuff, the cop cars stopped coming to my block.

You just never know people, I guess is what I'm saying. You just can't ever know.


Sorry for the doom and gloom, but this event has stuck with me.

Please - if you are IN a situation like this: GET OUT. If you know of someone who is in a situation like this: help them get out. They might not listen at first, but the least you can do is try.

With that, I'm out. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled idiocy tomorrow, I'm sure.

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