Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Snapshot of my 'hood

I live in the land of milk, honey, and boob jobs. Where every sentence ends with an up lilt, as though everyone is always questioning … something? The verbal stops, pauses, and connectors aren’t the silent denoters of periods, commas, and em dashes; instead they use punctuations of “dude!”, “like”, and “right?”

Southern California is one of the most laid-back, yet uptight, areas of the country. (I feel I speak with some authority on this, seeing as how I spent 3 years of my life traveling these states of our nation.) Because of this, you get a weird mix of people. Sometimes the weird mix is found in one person, sometimes in a neighborhood.

Take my neighborhood for example. Almost every night, sometime between 9 and 10, there’s the rollerblader. Now, rollerblading isn’t uncommon especially round dese heah parts. The late night rollerblading? Still not uncommon. However my guy does it shirtless. And LOUDLY singing along to whatever is on his iPod (typically some mix of Ice-T, Eminem, Snoop, and the like). Another denizen of my tract is actually a friend of mine – he goes night walking. Sometimes he does it with his mandolin. Sometimes he does it while tying a pillowcase around his neck, and pretends he’s the folk crusader, rescuing damsels with his righteous chord progressions. (Okay, he doesn’t REALLY do that, but he DOES think about it.)

Then there’s the typical mix that all neighborhoods, even apartment complexes, have – the newlyweds, the crotchety old man, the prozaced-out eternally happy Mom, you know … the norm. Then there’s the family next door: they are kind, kind, kind. The teenaged girls are nice, with just a touch of rebellion. Their male cousin lives there as well, and he is one of the nicest and down to earth boys ever (and he’s 13). Then there’s their youngest son, who will either turn out to be a serial killer, or a lawyer. (The jury’s still out on that one.)

With all these people living in close proximity, you’re bound to overhear something you may not have wanted to know. But then there are the people who are out, walking their dogs, talking on their cell phones; it’s the OC version of multi-tasking.

In a quiet neighborhood, especially when the night is settling into its skin, voices can echo. And carry. And you’ll hear things the speaker probably wishes she had waited to ask until she got home. Things like,

“Have you ever moaned with your mouth open?”

Why, yes. Yes I have. You mean, you haven’t?

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