Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not Helping

We live in a very little street that funnily enough happens to start with the letters BIG.

In this little street we have three blocks of flats and nine cottages. One of the blocks of flats houses men that can only be described as having been through the rehab and prison merry-go-round more times than they've passed Go and collected two hundred dollars.

They all look shrivelled and painfully thin and way older than their baseball cap and gangsta-inspired, Salvos-donated clothing suggests. Despite these setbacks, none of them seem short of female visitors. However these romantic or social forays mostly seem to end up in tears.

By 'tears' I mean full-on screaming matches that barrel the 30 metres down the street and pierce their way through our weatherboard walls straight into Sapphire's bedroom and my ear canals. Invariably, someone from the other block of flats that separates us from Hellrose Place calls the police and the divvy van turns up.

A fair bit more swearing occurs, this time at the cops instead of the girlfriend and the tenant is rather gently ushered into the back of the vehicle. The policeman nods at the anxious face peering through the window next door and tiredly fills out a form stuck to a clipboard whilst leaning on the side of the divvy van which is now rocking wildly from the unwilling passenger's curses and punches inside.

Sapphire and I have noticed that one particular bloke is just about ready for some frequent flyer points for his extensive divvy van patronage.

To ease any anxieties she has about living and feeling safe in our suburb - a rich tapestry of living, breathing and unique humanity in all its forms - we've taken to calling him Mr Divvy Van.

He has never hassled us, or been rude or dangerous; clearly saving up his aggro for his drinking buddies or his female companions. He'll shuffle by, cigarette permanently in his mouth and mutter, 'G'day', or 'Nice dog,' and head down to the main road for a six pack and some fish and chips. We see him at the shops with his mates - never right in the middle of the fracas but nearby and ready for a 'Don't worry about them arseholes mate, phark em!' sympathetic pat on the back and shared smoke on the park bench outside. We also see him chatting to the scared little Lebanese guy who shares the cement balcony next to his flat or eyeing off Tam's motorbike before Daria the rottweiler pops up behind the wooden fence pailings to growl a 'hello'.

One afternoon Sapphire and I were at the high school. The back of it borders our little street and it's a convenient spot for Sapphire to use her scooter on a patch of ground bigger than our pavers as Milly and I do our litter ninja duties.

Mr Divvy Van appeared, having just got off the tram, and was taking the short cut home across the asphalt.

"Nah," he said on his mobile, in a loud voice. "Nah babe, YOU broke up with ME six weeks ago. We're through. I'm moving ON with me life and you keep callin' me. I'm READY to start seein' other women....'"

Sapphire and I pretended not to hear the shouted conversation.

"BABE, I know you WANT me but ya can't have me no more. I'm FREE, see? Ya did me a favour by droppin' me. I want a chick whose less---" he struggled to find the right word "----of a pharkin' HASSLE for me, right?"

Sapphire pinched my arm.

"Ow? What did you do that for?"

She giggled. "It's Mr Divvy Van. He was yelling and looking over at you."

Before I had time to say so what, she continued, "You're IN, Mum, if you're up for it."

Wonderful. Just wonderful. A ten year old child able to best her mother's stunned silence with "Ooh there's your boyfriend."


franzy said...

"up for it"?!??!?


Rowe said...

Sapphire will be nicely street wizened by the time she hits high school, Kath.

Pandora Behr said...

Oh dear. Sounds like your daughter doesn't have an irony deficiency.
Be thankful...

Benjamin Solah said...


My sisters used to point at any girl within 5 foot of us at the shops and say just about the same thing.

deepkickgirl said...

Oh, that's funny! Maybe he be your "downtown" guy, your bit of rough on the side. We don't have to tell Dean, it'll just be between us girls...

Plastic Mancunian said...


Mind you, I'm such a child myself I say things like that to Mrs PM.




Helen said...

I can identify, my mother was greeted with "where have you been all my life" the other day. It was hilarious!

eleanor bloom said...

ha! guess she's none too fearful then!
Although, it sounds like you should be Kath!

Good grief. Him on the phone. How great do men think they are (and obviously he wanted you to think he was pretty good)! Their egos are astonishing.

River said...

"You're IN mum"????
Are you sure she's only ten?
I agree with Rowe...

Cinema Minima said...

Tell her he'd make a great role model for your child.