Monday, April 12, 2010

The Cheeseburger Truck

I'm not religious, but when my father comes to visit, I pray with all my heart that the little wasters in my neighborhood can be on best behavior for a few hours. Each time my father calls to say he's a few minutes away, I begin the conversation in my mind with my neighborhood's knuckleheads, and I ask for three simple things:

  1. Try not to kill anyone in front of my house, or on my block, if possible. Please. This may sound like a no-brainer, but in 2008, two of the city's homicides took place just feet from our front door, so I have reason for concern.
  2. Keep the drug dealing to another corner. There are lots of corners in this city.
  3. Keep it to a dull roar. My father is mostly deaf, so this is a very reasonable request.

I'm not asking for a lot, right? My father is already not thrilled that we live where we do, so I hate for him to witness any of the all-too-typical antisocial behavior that occurs near me. Don't get me wrong, we go many days, and often weeks, without any significant annoyances (or worse), but the summer-like weather made for a very bad week here in my neck of the woods, and had me on edge.

My father arrived on Friday afternoon, and the plan was to spend much of the weekend in the backyard taking care of some home repair projects: our gate and back steps were dilapidated and needed some major work. The weather on Friday was more springlike than it had been all week, so my prayers had been answered: the wasters were cold and quiet. But maybe they were worn out from the week's free-for-all? I have no idea.

Saturday was chilly, but much sunnier, and it started off well. The gate had been finished, and my father started working on the steps. I was very pleased that the idiots kept quiet, including the two young fathers who are prone to loud behavioral issues. Around 5:30, though, a few of our chronic jagbags pulled up to the corner and held a "who's car stereo speakers are louder?" contest, which my deaf father could hear. And feel. We hear loud music all the time. The drug dealer who lives up the street gets a lot of company, and all of his friends have loud stereos, so we hear them coming and going. But this was far more aggressive. The entire block was shaking. I could hear a couple of the turds yelling at each other to "turn it up! Let's see how loud we can make it!" A very short time later, several police vehicles descended on the corner, which caused an immediate decrease in volume. Two of the jerks wandered off too fast, and the cops rounded them up for questioning. They held on to the guys for quite awhile, and I was certain that they were going to get arrested, but alas, that was not to be. The quick police response may have sent a message to the idiots on the street to keep it down for the rest of the weekend, because, for the most part, that's how things went. For that, I am thankful.

The ice cream man went by at about 10:30 on Saturday night — the latest I've ever experienced* — which didn't bother my dad, partially because he's deaf, and partially, I think, because the convenience of food in a truck has a certain allure to him. So, when I told him there's also a cheeseburger truck that comes around, his opinion of my neighborhood definitely went up a notch or two. My father thinks the Cheeseburger Truck is a handy service, "in case you don't feel like cooking, you can run out and get a burger," he said. Of course, that occurred to me, too, but my problem with the Cheeseburger Truck is that it plays THE most annoying song in the world, which involves clapping, and a voice that calls out, "Hello!!" and that alone works like a repellent for me. Also, it attracts my neighborhood's wasters, and they order everything on the menu, which, in case you were wondering, takes about an hour to cook. All the while playing the irritating song with the clapping and the "Hello!!" I do not want to wait for dinner with those people, while listening to that music. But, I digress. The Cheeseburger Truck did not make its rounds this weekend.

There was a rowdy group of people who walked passed the house around 4:30 am, which woke up my dad; and later, there was a verbal domestic problem involving a woman screaming "if he's gonna stay out all night, he can just stay out," around 7:30 in the morning. All told, not a bad weekend. Especially since the back gate and the stairs look fantastic. My dad said he'd probably come back again this coming weekend to help finish a few other projects. I was planning to make a nice dinner, but maybe I can skip all that work, in the hopes that the Cheeseburger Truck comes around?


* I'm officially old because I spend a lot of time criticizing the up-and-coming generation. I know that each generation is guilty of complaining about the next, and, historically, the next generation is generally okay. But I have my doubts about this generation, at least those who live near me. The problem with the late-night ice cream truck is that it indicates a lack of concern on the part of the area's parents. Who cares if the kids eat ice cream after 10 pm? Who cares if they ever go to bed?

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