Sometimes, it's not so bad. During the days, no problems. The occasional sound of traffic, or cars going in my alleyway, or construction.
But on the weekend, my place is tuned into the mandatory radio program, "Young Edmontonians Are a Bunch of Fuckheads."
I hear the yelling and screaming of boys barely old enough to vote as they tear through the alley, either in cars or on foot. They shout the type of language I have nothing but contempt for: Unimaginative obscenities, racial and sexual slurs, and just general asshole talk.
I hear 82nd Avenue being turned into a drag strip, as these people get into their cars, beyond the point of controlling their alcohol-fueled rage and rambunctiousness.
I see people punching cars, kicking over trash cans, rooting through the dumpster on a regular basis.
It's times like this where I really miss the house. Even though it was on a main drag, and we'd occasionally hear and see people dragging themselves through my front yard, jumping over the fence due to their better judgement supressed by five shots of rum and Coke. Every now and then, such as just a few weeks ago, we'd occasionally let someone into the house just to call 911 or the police because of drunken bullies in the area.
It was nothing compared to the sights and sounds I have observed this past month.
Hell, Colin and I moved into the House of Stylin' on July 1, 2001. We were two blocks away from the infamous Whyte Avenue Canada Day riot, and we slept through the whole thing. I walked down The Ave the next morning on my way to work, amazed at the fact that four out of five businesses' windows were smashed, all while I was asleep a few hundred feet away.
And it's nights like this, reading in bed, listening to the hoots and hollers of liquored-up teens and motorcycles zooming down the street, that I really wish that I could be back at the house.
Or that City Hall would shut down half of the bars on Whyte and relocate them to downtown, where this happens in *other* cities.
* * *
I've been reading Dave Eggers' You Shall Know Our Velocity recently. And there are some things in this book that I really have a yearning to do now.
Like a social experiment where the two protagonists take flowers or wine to a random stranger's house, under the assumption that these items can get you access into any home or business.
"Shock would be softened by blind confusion then affectionate bewilderment, and soon we'd be family."
Granted, in the book, the plan goes awry, but the premise is still there: What would be the outcome of doing something like this? In a perfect world, you're expanding your boundaries, while enabling someone else to do the same.
It's an act I've *really* got to remember...