As a child in poverty, I have lived in a lot of interesting places.
As a young home schooling mother of two, in a one income home, I have rented in a lot of interesting places.
And as a late bloomer first time home buyer, I am currently living in an interesting place!
I’ve seem some crazy stuff, some awful stuff too but I’ve also seen a lot of nonsense. I don’t know about you but I LOVE nonsense!
It’s not really scary, at worst it’s just…frustrating and there is usually an element of humour in it, somewhere! That’s the best part .
My favourite community for nonsense was Williams Lake, BC.
A mill town, in the interior of the province, it’s a kind of backwards place. They have some social problems and some race problems and some housing problems and some…lets just say they have some problems!
Most places do, right? It’s just that in a place with a population of just under 11,000 people, those problems are like RIGHT THERE!
It wasn’t a horrible place to live and nothing majorly bad happened to us. Williams Lake has the honour of being the place where I met my very first circle of ladies. The ladies who loved and accepted me so generously and in doing so taught me so much! So, the city has it’s place in my heart for sure.
But the nonsense! Oh my!
The rental rate was at .1% vacancy. We were living in a crappy trailer, in an even crappier trailer park when our lives took a turn!
- Frequent drunk male visitors to our neighbour, Elsie who was the neighbourhood bootlegger. Her customers would make their way down the hill from a visit with her, fall and then just roll to the bottom. It was awful to watch at first because… human dignity…but after a while, I’m ashamed to say we’d usually just laugh and call the cops to get the guy off the road and safely into the drunk tank for the night. This happened more than a couple of times a week!
- The old man and woman across the “street” who’d have rip roaring fights about ???, who the hell knows! But they were mad and they were loud and they were outside and it usually ended with Kay yelling “Oh go to bed!” at Dolphus, while the rest of us giggled and took that particular phrase as our own. I even say it unironically these days, ha ha.
- Peeing! Everywhere there was peeing! During Stampede Week, I saw a rather large lady drop her drawers behind a very thin sapling, in the middle of town and just let loose. The next day, some dude in the trailer park walked behind an empty trailer and took a leak all the while yelling at me ” I wasn’t pissing, Lady!” when I freaked out at because he was RIGHT there by my freaking window! And he WAS SO pissing! But the last straw and the thing to make me laugh was the next day when I looked out that same window again and saw some thing else relieving itself. A deer. A bloody deer, just squatting there all casual like, peeing on the grass. Even in my pissed off -ha!- state, I could see the joke in that. A Universal joke.
- Stampede Week again, middle of town, again and this time we see a commotion in the bushes. Someone is struggling to stay upright. They lose the battle and a MOON appears. The whole town is mooned by some drunk guy falling down, pants around his knees, bare bum hanging out, in the bushes. I still think of that and laugh. Bare bums are just funny and I don’t know, I just felt such affection for the guy. This is how you know I was acclimatized to all the nonsense!
- Speaking of drunk people- are you noticing the trend?- The kids and I were having a quiet night at home when “BOOOM!!” the whole house shakes and rolls on its wheels, my 15 year old cat flies ( like literally flies) out of the bay window and we watch one of Elsie’s clients, maneuver himself out of her parking spot in a 1000 point turn. This was really helpful because it gave me time to call the 5-0. They caught him at the bottom of trailer park hill and he was so drunk, they weren’t sure how he was even alive. His blood level was so crazy high that the cops came back to tell me what it was in amazement, lol. Of course I don’t remember the number but it must have something really high! Now there is nothing funny about drunk driving BUT there is something funny about his slow getaway that enabled him to get caught.
- Elsie loved my daughter and my daughter loved her. I was totally OK with this relationship because Elsie was always appropriate. Well, usually appropriate. There was one night when she came creeping onto our porch with a bag of candy for her at 3am and when she didn’t get an answer, tried her very best to break in by jimmying the lock! My 15 year old son had to tell her he’d send Jig over in the morning and she went away. (After suggesting that maybe an afternoon visit might be better)
- Elsie was a sweetheart but a tough lady and she had exacting standards of behavior that she expected her many boyfriends to uphold. Elsie had boundaries like nobody else and when one of her boy toys crossed them, well we’d all be in for a treat. I cannot count how many times we watched Elsie running out of her house screaming with fury while she beat some dude with a mug. Or a broom. Or his very own bicycle..Elsie was tough! I really admired her for that. Don’t worry, we always watched, phone at the ready in case the situation turned murderous but honestly, we were cheering her on.
So there you have, some neighbourhood nonsense. Thinking about this all kinda makes me miss the “dub”. There were some issues yes, but those people were still human beings who treated us well and accepted us for who we were. They taught me a lot and really helped define my sense of justice, integrity and powers of empathy. I became a better person for living amongst them, that’s for damn sure. They made me laugh, they tested my patience and inner compass and they showed themselves, warts and all so authentically to me. What a beautiful gift ❤