East Dulwich, London, where I am currently staying and pet sitting for a very handsome cat named “Ollie”, is not what you would call one of the more “rousing” areas of London. Its a mostly middle class neighborhood made up of townhomes with almost all of the shops, restaurants and pubs located on one main street that runs through it. (In the UK this is known as “The High Street”. A bit like “Main Street” in the US, but not exactly)
It has a quiet charm though. A very quiet charm. When I took my first stroll down the street in front of my little basement studio flat, I thought my ears were plugged, it was so quiet. (I was walking down the street with my finger in my ear doing that “hnnng..hnnng” thing you do when the pressure in your ear changes.) Quite a change from Clapham and York, where at all hours of the day and night very noisy happenings were constantly…happening. I must admit it was a nice change. You see, I’m a bit of a grouch when it comes to noise invading my space. Most of the time I am fine with the city noises…it just becomes a background hum. Oh sure, you get the sirens, car doors slamming, children practicing the violin, couples fighting, foxes fucking…etc. What makes me grouchy is music. Loud music that I can hear through the walls. It makes me insane.(My daughter could tell you stories)
For the past two weeks here in East Dulwich it has been blissfully quiet. Perfect for writing. Until last night, when the neighbors hosted a backyard party, complete with sound system and flashing lights and at least 50 people in their late 20’s. It started at 4 pm in the afternoon. I had planned to spend the day catching up on blog entries, but the minute the music started that plan was shot. I kept getting angrier and angrier until finally I frothed myself up into a hot shit rage. I was stomping back and forth in my flat, (which consisted of two stomps toward the bed, turn, two stomps to the desk, turn….its a very small flat) and then the phone on the wall chirped which meant someone had pushed my flat number at the gate and wanted me to let them in. I knew damned well nobody was coming to see my grumpy ass, and sure enough…they were guests for the party. The music was too loud for the hosts to hear *their* buzzer, so the festive partygoers at the gate pushed mine, hoping for a kind person to appear and let them in. They did not get a “kind” person. They got me. To their credit, they took one look at my tight lipped angry visage and thanked me most graciously for letting them in. (Yes, I let them in. But I scowled so they knew I wasn’t happy about it). Back in the flat, I stewed a bit more, but as the minutes went by I found myself starting to feel bored with being angry. (Its just so much damn work to keep up a good rage.) What if instead..what if I just sidled over there and joined them? Would they care? Would they even notice? Eventually I talked myself into it. What the hell, if you cant beat em, join em, right?
And join them I did. I walked over into their backyard, and moseyed up to a table they had set up as a temporary bar, and a young man handed me a glass of what I later learned was called a “Pimms Cup”. ( It’s like a gin liqueur, mixed with lemonade with added fruity bits. I did not like it, but I drank it) He asked my name, and I explained I was staying next door, and since the music was keeping me awake, I will just join the party. What the hell, I figured I might as well be honest. But then I blew that shit right out of the water, because whatever part of my brain where most of the ridiculous resides in decided to take over and I realized I had answered him with a British accent. When I clocked it, I thought for a second, then figured awww hell, just roll with it. Then he asked me where I was from, and I pulled “Chiswick” out of my ass. Not Clapham where I had stayed for two weeks…noooooo, I came up with Chiswick, a London town I know fuck all about except for the fact that its where the character ‘Donna Noble’ from “Doctor Who” is from. I spent a little over an hour at the party. Managed to ditch the Pimms and get a beer, got them to play “Bohemian Rhapsody” and everyone sang along. Eventually I got bored with being “Rebecca from Chiswick”, and went back to my flat. The party finally ended at 1am, and in the blissful silence I got back to work. It is now 6:38 am, and I have been up all night writing, including this little story. So, I’m taking my butt to bed. Good night, East Dulwich.