Saturday, October 17, 2009

Right Neighbourly

There was a very assertive rap at the door this morning. At first I thought it was our neighbour from across the road seeking redress for my perfunctory call on them of the previous afternoon complaining about their kids’ pranks. (More about that later).

But no, it was two Jehovah’s witnesses with accents like the restaurateur in ‘Lady and the Tramp’. Their conservative suits and the copies of The Watchtower they flourished gave them away before the older of the two told us that he had ‘a vair-ee e-special a-message’ for us. I was sitting at the table eating my cereal, my unruly slept-on new hairstyle protruding maniacally from my skull (more about that later) and my husband made it to the door before me. Before the ‘vair-ee e-special a-message’ could be delivered he informed our visitors that we were a household of atheists. ‘You donor looka like atheists’ replied Jehovah’s Witness senior just before wishing us a ‘nice-a day’ as the door swung closed on him, his colleague and their publications.

What do atheists look like? we wondered. Admittedly I look nothing like Julianne Moore or Uma Thurman, two of the more prominent contemporary female atheists (more’s the pity). My spouse does however share facial hairstyle preferences with Hemingway and Darwin! Perhaps he just meant we didn’t have obvious horns or cloven hooves!

I am a person who earns her living in the world of personal development. I usually pride myself on taking a win-win approach to conflict resolution and not subduing the other party with bombast. What price my principles? The detonation of six ‘fart bombs’ on our front veranda it would seem! The little wretches over the road have been regularly setting off these putrid things outside our front door for the past two weeks. Usually I’ve only heard about it after I got home from work and although we’d started collecting the wrappers as evidence I was never home to catch them in the act. Our son had, and chased them for a block a few days ago. On Friday the little imps failed to connect the presence of my car in our driveway with my presence in the house. Early afternoon came the ‘pop’ sound that my kids tell me heralds the emission of the rotten egg gas and then the farty discharge itself. White splashes on our tiles also accompanied the eruption.

I sped across the street fuelled by indignation, knocked very hard and repeatedly on their door and when it opened, blurted out ‘Can you tell your kids to stop letting off joke shop fart bombs on our veranda? Once we might consider a joke but not six times!’ The poor woman’s smiling face crumpled and she said ‘Yes, yes, I’ll tell them’ and went in. I heard her ‘balling them out’ seconds later. My kids were delighted and suggested that I do present as a tad formidable in full flight. Perhaps I can harness this righteous fury to help in the battle against global warming or whaling ‘for research purposes’ next.

Oh, the haircut. I have thin greying hair and a fat face. I do not have anyone giving my tresses the daily attention that Julia Gillard and Juanita Phillips so clearly enjoy. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve decided that a short layer cut is the only practical coiffure for me. Last week I succumbed to delusion again and asked to have it left longer, in a sort’ve bob. (My fantasy is to have hair like Betty Churcher). No amount of fiddling and ‘product’ replicates the way it looked when I left the salon and after sleep I resemble Larry Fine (of the Three Stooges). Vanity, vanity all is vanity! More on foil foibles and the politics of greying in a future blog posting!

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