My Redneck Neighbours
My neighbour just walked past my front door saying loud enough for me to hear: "I've never used your name!" then "And I've never kicked your head in", before he entered his house.
Now he is playing gangster rap and storming around his house and backyard shouting.
Yesterday I was cloudgazing and his girlfriend, whom he regularly screams at for several hours at a time about her spending money on drugs instead of food, came out to do the washing. It was the first time I had ever seen her doing the washing, or for that matter the first time I had ever seen her in the back yard - I suppose her pot addiction has kept her on the couch the last four months they have lived here.
I told her I liked her dog Charlie, and I commented that I didn't know her name even though I knew her dog's name. It was a weak joke, intended just to draw her out. But she didn't respond so I asked.
"What's your name?"
She stared at me, as if the question made no sense, so I repeated it.
"Sarah," she said.
"Oh ok, hi Sarah," I said, "It's just that I've known your dog's name for months but I've never used your name."
She gave me a weird look and went inside.
And today her partner walked past, knowing I was only a few meters away, repeating the comment I made to her and then threatening to kick a head in!
Immediately fear and resentment rose up in me. I wanted to speak to him. I wanted to put him back in his place.
Then I turned the fear and anger over in a short prayer, letting go of the feelings which were replaced by sadness and despair, and I wanted to ring a friend and talk about what had happened but nothing much HAD happened except I had been verbally abused.
So I went to the toilet and washed my face and hands and resentfully daydreamed about asking the young guy for his name (I think it is Kevin) and then explaining that I would need it in case I ever needed to fill out a police report.
On returning to my desk, however, I realized on hearing the gangster rap that this young guy has very little control of his impulses and that speaking to him is not a safe course of action since he is physical strong, emotionally weak, and mentally ignorant. As a result, he is more likely to attack me to take out whatever frustrations he is experiencing than he is to beat his woman. Because I would not offer a sufficient show of force to discourage him he would view me as an easy target for his rage.
He is addicted to drinking and rage and she is a pot addict and codependent, so they are basically aliens from another planet from my point of view. And I have to realize that I must seem odd to them living so peacefully and happily with my cat and books and music.
From that point of view, my redneck neighbours deserve a bit of compassion, kindness and space.