I’m a curmudgeon. I freely admit to this. I even celebrate it.
Certain things in life will always trigger a curmudgeonly reaction in me. Music in cars so loud it shatters the tarmac and the eardrums of passersby. Mobility scooters travelling at 40mph on pavements. Student parties in the house next door. And fireworks to name but a few.
So, as you can imagine, this time of year sees me spewing so much bile I’m sweating vinegar.
Possibly it’s wrong this curmudgeonliness, but I really don’t care.
Because when the dickhead students who live next door to me decide to have a firework party at 10 o’clock at night I am so at one with my curmudgeonliness it is practically a karmic state that transcends the rest of reality and certainly everybody else’s opinion.
That’s bedtime for me on a normal night, big wuss that I am. On a night when I am bone tired and exhausted – as I was last night – it is even more my bedtime. It is desperately, essentially my bedtime. So much my bedtime it is listed in the minutes of the Geneva convention that to deny me my rightful bedtime is a gross act of torture and human rights violation on a par with the Nazi’s murdering half of Europe just to gain access to a beach.
It ain’t gonna garner a positive response from yours truly.
Now, I dislike fireworks with a passion anyway and have written about it here, here and here but even I can see – even in the midst of my curmudgeonly prowess – that people have a right to burn their own money if they want to and are brain-dead enough to do it.
But surely people should have the sense to pick a reasonable time? 6 o’clock. 7 o’clock. 8 at a push. But 10 a-bleedin’-clock?
Surely even some self-centred, doped up, away-from-home-for-the-first-time student can see that 10 o’clock is too late? That there might be other non-student people in the vicinity who unlike him who can lie in bed until 1.30pm the next day have to get up before 7am to go to work and get the kids to school? That people who lead a worthwhile, productive life need their sleep?
Not to mention the kids. My poor kids. They must have thought they’d gone to sleep in Leamington and woken up in Afghanistan. The fireworks, the window shattering detonations, the students guffawing and haw-hawing at the tops of their voices from their garden and even the roof of their kitchen extension were right outside my boys' bedroom window.
There was no escape.
Few things can engender temporary insanity more that lying down to sleep, so exhausted you physically can’t keep your eyes open but unable to drift off into the comforting slumber of unconsciousness because of noise and hullabaloo so loud it feels like the mob are actually in bed with you.
I fantasized acts of violence and retribution. Pulp Fiction style speeches just before I let rip with our hosepipe (after remembering to remove the sprinkler attachment). Maybe even a bloody nose or two to wake these student-types up to the real world of men and dominance of the strong.
I was so screwed up and desperate for sleep I even, Heaven forgive me, considered sneaking out to the front of their house and scratching words of damnation into the paintwork of their paid-for-by-mummy student cars.
LET US SLEEP!! -------------------------------------
And that long gouge ensuring the body work is ruined right down to the stupid pimped up tailfins.
But then I thought: no. That would give them a clue as to who their righteous persecutor was. I might be leaving myself open to reciprocal attacks. I would have to protect the identity of my bicycle.
So then I came up with an idea of utter genius. I would scratch their car but leave a message so misleading and cryptic they wouldn’t even connect the car scratching with their ill timed blitz recreation party.
LEAVE MABEL ALONE --------------------------------
I mean what could be more confusing to a student than that?
I felt good – evil but good – just thinking about it.
And then the party broke up at half past 10 and they all dispersed and went home and the street fell back into silence.