Monday, August 25, 2008

Life in the zoo

Yesterday I was sitting here writing about Leonard Pennario's childhood in Buffalo when, gradually, these voices began penetrating my consciousness. You can imagine how loud these voices were. When I am writing about Leonard Pennario it is not easy to get my attention.

Warning: If you are at work reading this, wait until the coast is clear before you click on the Pennario link in the sentence I just wrote. Otherwise your boss will come running!

Back to the voices I heard. Someone was screaming the "F" word, over and over.

Actually, two people were screaming it. I turned and looked out the window of our home office, which is in the back upstairs of the house. The disturbance was taking place two houses over. Two people were in the backyard yelling at each other. They looked to be in their 20s, like a couple you would see on Chippewa .. a good-looking gal with blond hair, wearing shorts, and a muscular guy with a tattoo around his upper arm.

"Debbie's my F#$*&-ing friend! OK? She's a friend! I never #$(*-ing touched her!"

"Don't you F#$(*#-ing lie to me!" The woman yelled this so loud she jumped into the air with the effort.

"CRAZY! You are f#$*#*-ing crazy!"

You can't imagine how they were screaming. They were like the apes in the zoo. Like screeching birds in the Bird Walk. They didn't sound human.

The girl ran up onto the deck of the house. She threw something at the guy.

"Want to be an #$(*-hole?" he yelled. "I'll be an #$(*-hole right back to you!"

On one hand, in a way it was a beautiful fight. You never get a chance to watch something like that, unseen, hearing and seeing everything that is going on. I just sat there staring. I couldn't look away.

On the other, it makes me uneasy. I tend to give people a one-time pass on this sort of thing. Sometimes, I figure, passions just boil out of control. But you just know that if it happens once, it will happen again. And who am I to talk about giving people passes? Who do I think I am, Cleopatra? The truth is, I will be able to do nothing about it. Just as I can do nothing about the boom cars out front. That stuff is allowed here in Buffalo. I will just have to live with it.

On the bright side, when I told Howard about the fight, he said: "I hope they heard it on Tillinghast."

Tillinghast is the next street over and they think they're great because of their Frank Lloyd Wright house. The people on Tillinghast look down on our block as if we're the low-rent district. They are always whining about something.

If the fight annoyed just one person on Tillinghast, it was worth it.


Anonymous said...

THANKS for the Pennario link! Wonderful playing!

Anonymous said...


Jamnjazzz said...


Just like seeing the streakers at Shakespeare in the Park, Huh.

Anonymous said...

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players"

Sarah Bear said...

Depending on what street you live on and if you are willing to tell the truth everyone has an interesting or entertaining neighbor(s). One of my neighbors has been diagnosised with double personalities. Not sure of the prognosis -- think there is a third.

Watching other people has nothing to do with voyeurism. Its human nature to see what is going on.

Becky said...

Voyeurism - in other places or in other times it's called knowing what's going on in the neighborhood. Of course when the volume is turned up it's hard not to pay attention.

Curious - if the confrontation had turned physically violent, would you have called the police? While I would, many people wouldn't, preferring to mind their own business at this point, or being in fear of retribution.

When people are busy putting on a public show they have to expect neighbors to watch and/or listen. Then the participants call the neighbors "Nosey" - go figure.