In a couple of days my older brother’s coming to stay with us for the first time. He’s bringing his little family from Jozi. I’m super excited, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of anxiety there too.
You see, we’re a bit different him and I, and I have a feeling he might not appreciate the more shabby than chic appearance my street’s going for as much as I do. To be honest, I’m hoping the severe lack of manicured greenery and manufactured houses doesn’t send him packing to the nearest Hilton Hotel.
I wouldn’t blame him. I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had a somewhat dramatic reaction to our hood. On the contrary, we’ve had a few. In fact most people think they’ve taken a wrong turn when they arrive on our street. It’s an endless source of entertainment and one of the reasons I love living here.
The first time my dad visited he took one look at our little lane and refused point blank to park his rental on it. It concerned him so much that he wouldn’t leave someone else’s car there, let alone his own. He ended up parking in the Hilton Hotel’s lot for his entire stay and probably could have bought the rental for what he paid for the 3x6m space. At least his car had a 5-star stay.
To be fair though most people who come to our house are nervous about parking their cars on our street. They use the view from our balcony (we have a pretty decent view) as an excuse to glance over and check if their humble steeds are still awaiting them. Fortunately, for our social lives, all of them have been. Touch wood.
To be honest though, if I was a thief I’d be too scared to steal a car off our road. A nice car on a street like ours either belongs to a gangster or is a trap set up by the police. Well, that’s what Hollywood has taught me anyway.
Our street is always littered with little ones; feeding the birds, playing games, doing odd jobs to earn an extra buck. And I love it. But it’s not the suburban lemonade stand, rock painting for a pittance pretty picture you’re imagining. The backdrop has the ability to make even the most well-to-do youths look like one of Artful Dodger’s little wayward misfits. It’s unfortunate, but true.
Friends of ours swung by to pick us up one day when they saw a group of kids at my neighbour’s door. When we got in the car they seemed rather perturbed. Apparently they had witnessed something dodgy going down at the house next door. The oldest kid in the group had given our neighbour a rolled up rag and he, in turn, had handed over some folded notes. “It must have been drugs,” they said.
Well, I just couldn’t contain my laughter. I don’t blame them. Had I not lived there I probably would have assumed the same. I mean, how could they have possibly guessed that these little ‘misfits’ were returning the cloth they had used to wash my neighbour’s car with, and the money he was giving them was for an honest couple of ours work. I mean how? Really. A dodgy deal indeed.
Look, I’m under no illusion our street wouldn’t be a big collector at a beauty pageant. Hell, it would be hard-pressed to take the medal in the Most Improved category. But I guess I look at it the same way a new mother looks at her newborn baby with a slightly crooked nose, with rose-tinted glasses. My dad once told me that I have an ability to find beauty in the strangest places. I guess our street is just one of those places.