There’s one house on my block that stands out.
It’s the only one that looks like a scene from Odets or Osborne, telling stories of dead-end jobs and the hopeless pursuit of love, sex, and money.
How do I know this is true? Because I can’t walk out on the play, the theater is across the street. And most of the dramas take place on the front porch -- hard to miss when your windows are thrown open on hot summer nights. Whatever happens in that house, it's never soto voce.
The cast of characters might number 8 or 10 or more. I have no idea who is related to whom, but I know the house teems with children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and whatever follows that.
Here’s a bit of dialogue from yesterday’s scene. Man, presumably on the phone: “What do I mean what do you mean? I’m on the porch. I’m sitting on the porch. You can think that, but I’m on the porch. No I haven’t. No I didn’t. Think what you want. Think that. Think that. No I didn’t. No I haven’t. I’m on the porch. I’m on the damn porch.”
Well, everyone will tell you I can be a little dense and tend to tune-out during long conversations, but even I could grasp, the man was on the fucking porch.
Maybe two hours later, close to midnight, the door slams several times. A woman this time, screaming, “Get your stuff out of here. No, I mean it. Pack your stuff and get out of here. No, don’t even try. I want you out. No you won't stay. I want you out. Do you hear me. Out. Out. I want you out of here.”
Once again I had a surprising understanding of the situation: My friend better get off the damn porch.
Funny thing is, the patriarch of the menagerie is a very sweet, soft spoken gentleman. Don’t know what he makes of all the drama. The other day, the cops were banging on his door at 6 a.m. yelling “Search warrant, open up.” Police cars and officers were around the house from the time I left in the morning and for most of the afternoon.
I didn’t quite know what to say when I ran into the patriarch that evening as he came home from work.
“How’s it going?” (Okay, so I’m not Osborne.)
“Oh, you know, it’s going.” (But then, neither is he.)