Monday, December 14, 2009

Return Of The...

...I don't want to say it.

I don't even want to think it.

I was already planning on writing an 'annoyed' post this evening when I came home and had to ask to be excused to get into my own house. That was before... the evil return...

I read once that, counter-intuitively, blog posts that complain are more popular than those that don't. Can't quote the source, as usual, but if that's so then this post should be more popular than the recent update on my artwork that I have been planning.

So the problem, as usual, is my stupid neighbors. Their latest thing has been sitting on my doorstep. A doorstep which is, by the way, not even six inches wide. They've never done that before, but all of a sudden it's become the latest fad and they have been sitting there in increased numbers and with increased frequency until it's become an almost daily occurrence. Usually with these things they go on for a couple months and then they stop- like the soccer games in front of the house, the gang of screaming, foul-mouthed children who used to scream and say foul things in front of the house, the bar that gets loud and then quiet again. All of these things are currently not in favor.

But this one of them sitting on my doorstep really bugs me. It seems so incredibly rude, and you'd think if I had to ask them once to please move so I could get into my house they might get the point that I don't like them there, especially when I look at them like I want to throttle the life from them. At the beginning, they would say to one another "Ushi! Sitting in front of someone else's doorway!" like this was something clearly scandalous, and according to Evani, my primary source on all Brazilian cultural do's and do-not's, it is not okay to sit in front of someone's house, so that the owner has to ask you to move your fat ass out of the way so he can get in or out.

I considered making a sign, politely telling them not to sit there, but Evani thought that might stir up unwanted trouble. She suggested making something that would prevent them from sitting there, something analogous to a mechanism that prevents pigeons from roosting in the cornices of buildings so they don't shit all over everything. I was planning to do just that; in fact, I had a simple, ingenious device all planned out and I measured for it this morning.

Then I came home this evening, and there was a cluster of women talking loudly right in front of my doorway. I had to ask them, also loudly, to get their attention, to excuse me so I could get to the door. The woman sitting right in front of my door, a daft woman named Ana, got up and stepped forward just enough for me to squeeze by. As soon as I locked the gate behind me, she went to sit down again. What is with these people? I told her to please not sit there. There was a moment of silence, as they all considered what an unpleasant and uptight person I am, and, miracle of miracles, they moved away.

Evani now thinks I don't need a sign, and I also don't need a pigeon-stopper. She thinks the word is going to get around that the asshole gringo doesn't want people sitting in front of his house (can you believe the nerve of that guy?) and the problem will be solved. I hope so. But if I see one more person in front of the house I'm making the sign. And then I'll make the pigeon-stopper. And then, if that doesn't work, I'll electrify the whole thing and we'll have ourselves a barbecue.

So I was all ready to sit down to write the above, having calmed myself down, having set up the Christmas tree with Lucas, having read him a book, when I looked out the back and the storm clouds descended once again.

It's the Return Of The Flying Shit Sack.

After I wrote the above-linked post, at the end of April, there was only one other balão as Evani calls them. They stopped pretty much right after I talked to my neanderthal neighbor Mario, which leads me to believe that he knows exactly who was doing it. I heard the final sack land out back as I was working at about one in the morning. I went out and pondered how I could create a pigeon-stopper for this situation and decided to leave it where it landed until the next day. When I got up, miraculously it had disappeared and they stopped entirely after that.

And now, after a nine month lull, we get another charmingly fragrant gift from the anonymous neighbor. Hey, thanks! I took the foul, filthy thing and tossed it in front of Mario's house- this has become a popular neighborhood dumping ground, which is probably why the people who live there have gravitated to the front of my house, which doesn't have a pile of trash in front of it. And if there's any connection between my telling Ana not to sit in front of the house and the return of the balão, then this is all wonderfully circular...

When I disposed of the stinking thing I told the three people hanging out in the street, one of whom I kind of know, that someone in Mario's house is crapping in plastic bags and throwing it onto my property. That should get around. They were all sympathetic and offered advice.

Anyhow, I'm pissed. In case you couldn't tell. I'm going to talk to Mario again, which usually gets results, and if it doesn't, I'm going to start to complain. Official complaints. And there's a couple TV programs I could call that love to broadcast scandalous nonsense to huge daytime audiences here in the city. If I could get one of those things on video, soaring through the air from his house to mine, they'd play it twenty or thirty times in a row, with ongoing vituperative commentary. A public shaming! I think that's why Mario's so responsive, he doesn't want me to do stuff like that. He's got enough trouble on his hands.

Aaah, I feel better now. Maybe that's why this kind of post is so popular.


markuza said...

Well, if the comment stream is any indication, maybe whiny posts aren't as popular as happy posts. I remembered where I heard that- it was on 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me,' which may not be the best source of news, although it is backed by a major news organization. I do have some good news- since I wrote this post, the neighbors are steering clear of our doorway, and no more stinky bags- at least for now!

andre said...

Alerta Total! I have a great image of how they might handle this, for a good long distance laugh. I used to have this problem at my house in NO, squatters on the stoop, not only squatting but eating and drinking and leaving their trash. There was also a woman that Andre called A Cagona, who didn't bother with the sack, if you get my drift. I complained bitterly and loudly to all and none, including our district's so called quality of life officer, but like the other fads on your street it seemed to end of its own accord. Good luck.

Pedra said...

There's something about your writing that just totally cracks me up. It's like you're able to really get your thought process down in a cynical and hilarious way. Anyway, I told Vilma what was going on, and she saw me laughing my ass off as I read this post and she told me that the only reason I'm laughing is that I'm here in the US and not there in Salvador. I feel your pain man. I hope the sacks stop flying.

markuza said...

Margaret- yeah, I know this stuff doesn't only happen in Brazil. I had a friend who lived on Haight Street (yep, that Haight Street) and the steps up to his house always had many many people on them. One day he took an empty ice cream container that still had some slurry in the bottom and decorated all the steps. But hey, at least you had a quality of life officer! Too bad s/he was useless. The shows I was thinking of were 'Bocão' and 'Na Mira' - have you ever seen them? I want to write a post about them.

Cheryl - hey thanks for the high praise. I would love to hear Vilma's perspective on what is weird in the US. Personally, I bet you would have found that funny here too :)

Day three, no FSS - fingers crossed!!

Regina said...

Some bloggers lose their jobs when they write something revealing. Can you lose your neighbors?

markuza said...

Are you asking if they can fire me?