Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Rule One

I am noticing something. People around me have become very confrontational.

Not Sad Grit v Kid Cartel Ltd, obviously. We are now expert in negotiation management and conflict of laws. For example, Shark drags the tinsel out the cupboard. I say, Put the tinsel away. She has a quiet word. I see her point of view. Everyone's happy.

No, it's other people I'm seeing get antsy, and nothing to do with me.

Take this evening. Me and Dig have a date. A date!

Well, I'm dressing that up a lot. Dig has two Standard Chartered $20 notes in his pocket. He can exchange those for cheap drinks at the local expat bar. Driven by this idea of mutual benefit, we agree to down artillery fire and cooperate enough to get ourselves out to enjoy cheap booze. Even if it does taste like industrial runoff.

Saying that we will return home at 10pm, we depart the house about 8.15 for our lovely drink. Let's call it romance.

How we two love birds can imagine ourselves enjoying this balmy Hong Kong night! Canoodling with the local beer, we can drink in the drain smell from the comfort of the town's sitting out area, and relax between the bins and the public toilets, under the town temperature gauge that looks like a left-over chunk of reinforced concrete with a digital measure bolted on top. Who can imagine a more lovely place for us both to sit and place bets on which love bird hopes the other will die first?

But about 9.40, Dig's phone rings. It's the landlord.

He says, in a miserable voice, that the neighbours have rung to complain about the noise emanating from our roof at home.

(For readers who imagine the roof is angular, like an inverted V, I have to disappoint. The roof is flat, with table, chairs, and a boiler. Of course the builders put walls all round, so no-one gets the urge to push anyone else off. Although we have had some close shaves.)

Now, being made highly aware of how this looks - the very responsible parents having abandoned unsupervised triplets after 9pm while we swallow beer with added meths in the local dive - we sup up quickly and hurry home. In the four minutes it takes us to get there, we imagine all the ghastly details of the blood bath that has surely been taking place. So horrendous it must have seemed, that the neighbours are now in hiding and the police are calling in back-up support from the Hong Kong swat team.

When we arrive we find Shark in tears and Squirrel and Tiger marching about the house harrumphing in outrage with the clear injustice that has ended their evening.

Their story is that they took themselves off to the roof to party with a packet of Oreos and some skipping games. (Are your parties ever this wholesome?) There have been no battles, no blood, but an hour of playing with giggling and girly squealing.

We say, good defence.

But sadly no avail. Because the complaining neighbours have a baby. Between cuddles for Shark, and nods of agreement to the outraged Squirrel who's all for going over there and shoving monkey shit through the window, we explain that baby trumps triplets.

First-time parents (totally convinced this is the only baby born in the entire world for millennia) certainly trumps 11-year old triplets (who fail to comb their hair, look a bit feral, and who are guilty of keeping strange home-educated hours).

Because here is the fundamental law, people. Children must not be seen or social after 9pm. From this time, they must be in bed.

Especially here, in Small World Island. Children must get up at 6.40am to catch the 7.20 ferry off the island and take the school bus that secures their place behind a desk with a workbook at 8.30. They will return on the 4.50 ferry, when they may be seen walking on the island back home. From this point, they must be quiet because they are eating tea to 6.30pm and then completing two hours homework. Before bed.

We remind the children that we are nothing if not law-compliant.

On the other hand, I do have quite a large consignment of monkey shit.

1 comment:

peapod said...

Monkey shit trumps all:)