The Strange Tale of How I Told Mrs Opposite to Learn Some Fucking Manners
Okay, in person I'm quite mild mannered and polite. Almost to a fault, in fact.
I like turning the other cheek and being magnanimous, and for one reason; it's a stance.
A few weeks ago, I was parking my car in alternate positions in the huge, rather empty off street private car parks we have here, and relishing the security of it all. No more annual break-ins, no more monthly drilling of your locks in that ole East End stylee. I can park numerous places, now, all of them totally utterly parking permit free
, bird shit free
and crime free
Parked up a slightly awkward incline, next to the outhouse where all the rubbish gets lobbed, I returned to my car one morning to find a post-it note stuck to the windscreen
THIS SPACE IS
Well, you know, I haven't worked alongside the great unwashed of Catford / Enfield for ten years to knock my knees together and quail at some retard threatening me on my doorstep. One of the great side effects of
the crisis management and general abuse that so addicts me to
my thrilling job is that I'm scared of no one
. No one.
You can come at me with whatever weapon you like, you can try to hurt me however you want, and there is no way in hell that I'm going to turn away until I've disarmed you literally and metaphorically. That's right. You're going to apologise.
One of my best such moments was aged 24 in the race-riot-strewn estates behind Euston, when a gang of chemically altered teenagers decided to bottle my head in for being gay. I loved the look of horror on their faces when instead of running away, I turned and walked towards them. I made damn sure they
apologised before I left.
I read that inane post-it note, left on the car that, given an option, I'd prefer never to have parked in the same spot twice, and laughed at the world of hurt unfolding in my imagination.
This is probably how squillion decade long neighbourly disputes begin.
I got me a post-it note from my own secret poison pen stronghold, and left a fairly terse message on the miscreant's own grimy windscreen. Something along the lines of 'I don't see a fucking sign, do you?' and 'Learn some fucking manners' (particularly proud of the oxymoron there).
Oh how I prayed the anonymous note writer would go further. I wanted a show down. A full blooded barney at dawn. I was quite happy to go toe to toe and twat the owner of the grimy grey shitmobile. Preferably police called.
Dammit, I have nine months of untapped dead-relationship rage inside me, I wanted to rip my fingernails along someone's face.
No joy - the reply disappeared, grey grubby shitmobile hogged the space possessively, and eventually the opportunistic rage subsided into a mere burst of 'and another fucking thing' rantation if I was having a grim day.
I don't think I've particularly wound my neighbours, so far. I play the radio pretty loud in the bathroom once a day, but it's Radio 4, it's hardly eardrum shattering. My bogus landlady had told me her old schoolfriend, Pilchard, lived upstairs, and had a cat. Poor bloke looked freaked when he walked towards the stairs with some cat litter and a strange woman in a pink fluffy hat yelled 'you're Pilchard, aren't you?'
But aside from my usual slight stalkerish tendencies, nothing to suggest I was a newly planted sociopath in their midst.
Polite beyond the broadest definition, I tried to avoid a meeting with Mrs Opposite this week - Bogus had told me she was an old dear - slightly deaf, and extremely quiet. On Monday, I could hear Mrs Opposite across the hallway slamming her door to run in and out of the flat. This is London, I don't want anything more than frosty civility towards neighbours - so I decided to wait a moment before charging out to begin my two mile morning constitutional.
The coast seemed clear, but as I stumbled towards the hall light, I nearly broke my ankle on some grey dusty car cleaning materials in a grey dusty bucket. So that's what the crashing and slamming had been in aid of. Early morning car wash.
The horror - the palpable gut lurching horror - as I emerged from the front door directly in the path of the mystery note writer's grimy grey shitmobile. As Mrs Opposite looked up from her grubby bucket seat behind the steering wheel.
Me heap big Sarf Lahnnun hard woman, eh? I did my Moron's Best shiteating grin, limply waved hello, and scampered.