You really want to hear about my faxing weekend? The one where I finally got a few days off faxing work to stop sending faxes on my nonexistent fax machine and chill out at home? Of course you do. Even if my weekends don’t happen on the weekend, it’s all a circus to you anyway, isn’t it? Fax show freak show, right here, right now. Get your tickets at the door. My front door.
I’m woken up at about thirty after noon on Friday, because my weekend started on Wednesday and what do you care anyway? They’re just days. Arbitrary. I’m woken up by some woman who is screaming, yeah, that’s right screaming, herself hoarse outside my window. Why? “We’re moving Zoe out,” I hear a man’s voice explaining. Zoe is my neighbour of, what? A year? Yes, around twelve months, tops. Screaming woman lets us all know how she feels about Zoe moving out. She wants to KILL HER. She want to chop her up into little pieces. Because, in true soap opera style, Zoe has slept with her husband.
Zoe’s brother is there, moving her out, and Zoe is nowhere to be seen. She’s hiding from the frothing harpie. Smart move. “I’ve told you where she is,” brother Grimm says. He shouts it quite loudly, in fact, because screaming woman seems to have some difficulty with volume. But Grimm doesn’t let himself get angry. “Yeah?” screams the woman. “YEAH? Well YOU should be defending her, shouldn’t you? You’re her BROTHER!” She jabs her finger dangerously close to the brother’s eye. He is one of six huge men, built like brick outhouses, moving all of Zoe’s belongings into a grey van which is blocking not just my driveway but five others as well.
That’s nice. Never mind if someone wants to do something other than watch the freaks in the street from their window, taking the car out is not an option. Thanks to a world where everything is provided and every whim is catered for all the “poor little me” people–the public, who have so many rights without responsibility that it’s a joke–thanks to this world, people’s selfishness, their whiney me-first you-never selfishness is on the increase. Especially when it comes to parking. If you can block several other people when you stop your vehicle, then who gives a flying one, eh?
Screaming woman could certainly care less. You’d have paid handsomely for a ticket to this circus today. “She’s nothing but a dirty slag,” she screams at the brother. “She slept with my husband and what are you going to do about it?” Logic clearly isn’t her strong suit but it doesn’t stop her flow. “You tell that ****ing ***re I’m gonna ****ing slice her up until little pieces, the c***! You tell her that!” Her twisted mouth is about two inches from the brother’s nose. Half the street has turned out to watch. Yeah, you’d have been there.
I have a grandstand view from both my kitchen and bathroom windows. Brother’s buddies continue loading the van. Seems no one has to work on a Friday round our way. Funny that. No one needs to work. Got plenty; don’t need to strive for more. Or, indeed, strive for anything. They’ve all got a roof over their heads, food on the table, electricity, water and television. Let’s not forget television, where they all learned to scream and swear and threaten death to each other in the street.
World going into recession? Manufacturing industry gone? Service industries moving to Calcutta? Who cares, as long as you’ve got enough drugs and the latest Playstation games, who cares? No one here. Why should they? They don’t need a job in one of the richest countries in the world. Muggins will provide. Muggins who pays the taxes. Riots at the international trade conventions. Riots protesting the sickening disparity in earnings between the haves and have-nots. Riots by people who have the time to riot. It’s hypocrisy, it’s paradox and it’s going to get worse.
Next time I look out, screaming woman has moved her circus down the street. Her sixteen year old niece sneers at Zoe’s now empty house as she walks past with her dog. As she does so, she mentions Zoe stole her 34 year old married boyfriend a while back. “Did she tell you?” says the girl, with dark rings around her eyes. “I was shagging him,” she tells my retired neighbour down the block, “He was mine but she shagged him anyway.” She swears and shrugs her slouched shoulders. “The new guy will be quieter,” child woman lets us know. “He’s a drug dealer. He’ll be quieter.”
Another neighbour remarks that Zoe had different men climbing in and out of the window at all hours of the day. Who cares? Although why they didn’t just use the front door has got to be a mystery, it’s not one I’m remotely interested in solving. The biggest mystery to me is how I’m going to sell my property when the neighbours behave like zoo animals. Guess I’ll be dropping the price by another five thousand at the end of this month.
While they ramble on at each other, I go back to watching Heaven, an impossible, tragic, beautiful moral dilemma with captivating Cate Blanchett on DVD. The camerawork is mesmerising as it lingers on people’s perfectly lit faces and the perfectly lit world they inhabit. I let the sounds and images carry me away from the world outside. For an hour. Two.
Meanwhile, fights break out between the sideshow onloookers who have now gathered into smaller groups. “You!” “No, you!” The noise moves away from my windows. The van moves away from my drive and then, like a fading whisper of a storm, it’s quiet again. Gary downstairs is outside in the sunshine, cleaning his motorbike for the millionth time this week. “You ‘ave to,” he says. “As soon as you take it aat, it just gets plastered. I got it up to a hundred and two this afternoon.” It’s wrong but in a way you can appreciate. Gary grins and I don’t see any flies stuck to his teeth, so it must be cool.
It’s five to seven now. I drive round to the post office sorting office which has a late collection and I drop off some videos for a guy composing music for my latest short. Then over to the bottle bank where everything is full to overflowing except green so they all go in green. Brownish green, clearish green. I’m not making a second trip. Cuff it. On to an editor buddy’s house to drop off some video for an actress friend’s showreel. He gives me a copy of Gollum’s MTV award speech which is the funniest thing I’ve seen for weeks. While I’m out, the police apparently arrested the screaming woman.
Reflecting, I can’t believe Zoe’s brother’s restraint in dealing with so much anger and abuse directed unjustly at him, as if he controls his sister. Amazing. I contemplate dropping another five thou off the price of my flat. The sooner I sell this place the better. I go back to watching the other DVD I’ve rented, Irreversible, and a man smashes another man’s face into a jellied pulp of bone and brains within ten minutes of this badly photographed neanderthal amorality. It turns my stomach so I switch it off and come here to write.
It’s the longest day of the year and the years are getting shorter. But it’s the weekends which do so many of us in.