Won't You Be My F-ing Neighbor?
Here is what it sounds like in Fishtown or rather, here is how my neighbor’s sound, the people across the street who are invisible—I never see them. I only hear them; they are like animals. There’s a little boy who screams and screams, he wails, he may not even be crying, he sounds like the ghost of a little boy—so mournful and unhappy and fucking loud. Then a woman, maybe his mother, who uses the same hard voice with exclamation points to say everything. “Haley! Get in the house! Now!”
Oh, I just turned off the lights in the living room to be less visible myself and saw her. She’s slightly overweight with blond hair on top of her head in a peroxide bun. She’s wearing a gray t-shirt and white pants. “Get in the house! Get out of here now! I’m bringing your stuff in now. Get back from the door! NOW!” Some guy walked by yesterday while they were caterwauling and said loudly “I’m glad I don’t live on this block with you people screaming all the time!” They have a little dog that sits in the window on the second floor, looking out. The kid is not crying now. She’s bringing in his furniture. I thought it was the house beyond down from them with the tall fence. She has such a hard voice, probably from yelling all the time. I don’t know what Haley looks like, only that she’s bad because she is always being shouted at and she’s always off down the street somewhere.
When I first got home, someone was playing AC/DC cock rock music. I didn’t even notice until the family started yelling that they hadn’t been home before that. They came back and the music shut off. One disturbance replaced by another, all with the occasional back noise of the Norris Street bus swooshing by, leaving exhaust fumes in its wake. And the constant sound of people’s footsteps walking in front of the house. And the tinkly-tinkly maddeningly repetitive sound of the ice cream music as it makes its 500th round through the neighborhood.
Dear God, something else is wrong with the little boy again. How could he possibly be this distressed all the time? Wa—wa—he literally cries, Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! He can talk though (sort of—it’s hard to understand what he’s saying most of the time because he’s crying). I can’t be good for a child to be weeping more than fifty percent of the time that he’s awake. “Give me it! Give me it!” He’s crying yet again. For at least the tenth time in fifteen minutes. I think his name might be “Shane” or “Shame.”
The woman says, “Where you going? Where you going? Hale! Haley, if you don’t act right, you’re going in. I mean it. You’re going in.” She has to repeat everything at least twice. It sounds like she has rocks in her throat. I think “going in” is one of the worst threats she has. I wonder what it’s like inside their house.
Someone just ran down the street calling, “Piece of shit! Piece of shit!”
A one hypodermic needle, two used condoms morning on the way to the train stop the other day.
I guess maybe we are a curiosity to them, if only because we don’t sit on the front porch and yell at each other. Give us time. We’ll get there. I wonder if it will be offensive for me to go sit outside with my laptop to connect to the random Internet signal and post this to my blog. I’ll fit right in.
Omigod, okay, I'm outside right now and I have made a startling discovery. The crying little boy is really a little girl named Haley. She's bare foot on the sidewalk wearing a pink shirt and pants, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her brother or friend or whoever is playing with her by bouncing the basketball on the chain link fence. She cries whenever she doesn't get her turn. I guess maybe it's not so traumatic after all. I don't know. I don't know why she cries so much, but I know that I will start crying if that fucking kid doesn't stop banging the basketball against the fence.