I was taught to mind my own business. Keep to yourself, don’t cause a stir, don’t raise your voice. I think its different in the city. I’m trying to figure it out. Yes and no.
A couple neighbors are getting into it on their front porch, I’ve heard it before, and kinda have tried to get used to it, reaizing that not everybody handled conflict like we did in my house- cold war, silent-treatment. Some folks just yell it out. This was that, with a little extra language to spice it up. I kept working. 15 min later I got up and peaked out my curtains, still at it, I watched for a minute. None of my business- right?
5 minutes later, my housemate came down, to make an appearance outside and ask me what we should do. This is where I hate being ‘The Director.’ I wonder back at him and let him into my dilemma. We decide to sit on the front porch and see if another presence will quiet the quarrel, now on the sidewalk across the street.
Voices stress a little lower, but F- this and F-that continue on, she pushes him, he’s up in her face. We decide if he strikes, we’ll call the cops. They move down the street, a tirade of wrongs and attitude pounding the asphalt. We sit and small talk about our week, but finally can’t take it anymore as explosive threats and bitterly-wounding words fall like shrapnel around us.
We walk, down the street, across the sidewalk, up the street and intervene. I think, ‘what will I say, will they cuss us out, will they be violent, will we physically have to break this up, will we fail and have to go call cops?’ I say, “hey there, we heard whats going on and think maybe it’d be good to take a break.” I go to the woman and her daughter, my housemate to the man. She told me she needed space and he wouldn’t leave her alone. It got quiet. I didn’t know what to say, so I was just awkwardly honest. “Ya know, I was taught to mind my own business, we all got our stuff and I don’t want to get into yours. But I couldn’t help hearing everything going on and I got concerned for you. You deserve to be talked to better than that, so I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do for you.” She told me a little that was going on, trying to be tough but tears leaking out of her eyes. It had been some harsh words exchanged. She told me that she didn’t like being out for the neighbors to hear, but she wouldn’t get caught inside her house- it was like a trap where he would jump n hit on her. She said she’d rather it was outside so that people would hear, or the cops would come and break it up, at least it would end. She just wanted it to end. Said she’d rather be in jail, right in front of her girl, she said this. After a few more minutes of mostly silence, she thanked me for coming out and said she would go. The young man was quieted, (my housemate said he was on the verge of tears) and made his way off. So much anger, rage and hurt, no conceivable constructive measure to be taken.
She thanked me for getting into her biznes. Now what?