Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Man Next Door. Chapter 17.

Daughter: Sometimes when I'm out walking I hear very loud heavy metal music approaching, and I expect a souped-up car, driven by some young man, to appear.

But sometimes it's a man sitting in a gopher who appears, and it's hard to believe that he's responsible for the blast of loud music I'm hearing. As he gets closer it's obvious that the music's coming from the large 80's type speaker, sitting in the front basket of his gopher.

Mother: He obviously wants to make his presence felt. What does he look like?

Daughter: He looks lively enough, and younger than I expected, with beady eyes and longish hair. When you're close enough to see the expression on his face he looks preoccupied, as if in a world of his own, with no interest in how people are reacting to him, as he bops along, jerking his neck forward to the music, as though he's maybe trying to make his gopher go faster.  

And he doesn't just enjoy playing loud music out in the street. I've recognised him as the man using a walking frame who I once saw in Cleveland Street, repeatedly crossing the road back and forth, against the traffic, without looking, enjoying making the traffic stop for him.

Mother: I wonder if he still does that?

What other interesting people have you seen lately?

Daughter: It's not only interesting people that I see out in the street, and on some occasions its not loud music that preludes an appearance, its the trail of little pellets I'm following, and around the corner what I come across is a white goat, happily walking along with its owner.

Mother: Yes, that goat seems quite at home out in the street. And I've noticed how it waits at intersections until its owner tells it to cross.

Daughter: Have you seen it lately?

It's grown so big, and now it has a very long, very impressive beard.

Mother: What surprised me one day was the sight of a ferret out walking in the street, on a lead.

The owner needed a lot of patience because the ferret insisted on scuttling along close enough to the base of each fence to sniff every inch. When the lady had to dodge around a garbage bin or other obstacle on the footpath, pulling the ferret with her, the ferret would then insist on running back to sniff the section of fence it had missed.

Talking about pets, remember when the man next door had a dog.

The first I knew about it was when you told me about hearing him shouting out at the dog one night, after he discovered that it had been shitting in his house.

Daughter: Yes, he was shouting out ...."Shit everywhere!"......"Why don't you go outside?"......"Why do you stay inside?"........."Who do you think you are......a prince?".

"You can stay outside now!"......."And why don't you mix with local dogs?"

"Who do you think you are?"

Mother: Did I tell you about the conversation about the dog I had with the man next door one night, on my way home from Salsa?

Daughter: No.

Mother: Actually, I saw him sitting outside the pub as I passed it on my way to Salsa, and I didn't recognise him until he said "Hello," and got up. I got the impression he wanted to talk, but I was in a hurry, and didn't stop.

It was on my return from Salsa that we had the conversation.

Just as I walked past his house he came outside, calling out to his dog, which was out the front.

"So you've got a dog now", I remarked.

"It looks very nice,".... (but I noticed that it also looked very confused.)

Then the conversation went like this:

The Man Next Door: Yes, it's a nice dog, but it's behaving strangely. It won't drink any water.

It's not my dog. I'm just looking after it for a friend.

You may know her, or you may have seen her around....... A woman with lots of tattoos, and a purple mohawk hairdo.

I first met her soon after she bought a house in this street, and I spent four days in bed with her before I realised that I'd made a mistake about her.

She's still a friend, and I'm looking after her dog while she and her partner travel to Las Vegas to get married.

I see a lot of them at the pub.

How come you're not a pub girl?

Mother: I don't enjoy pubs.

The Man Next Door: I haven't seen your boyfriend arriving lately.

Mother: No. He hurt his back at work, and now he's changed jobs, and moved to the Far South Coast.

It's too difficult to keep on seeing him.


The Man Next Door: The driver of that truck is a wonderful singer. Have you heard him.

Mother: No.

The Man Next Door: He often sings at the pub. Do you like music? 

(Mother was a bit slow in replying, as she thought about what kinds of music she liked, in case he asked her.) 
Mother: "I like many kinds of music."

The Man Next Door: It's just as well you like music. I was afraid you were going to say that you don't like music, and if you'd said that I would've grabbed my dog, and gone inside, to get away from you!

Mother: I'd better go now anyway.

(As Mother moved away she was very surprised when the man next door rushed over and gave her a hug, and a kiss on the cheek, before she reached home.)

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