Argument Observed From My Window

I would like to apologize for the “heavy” language below, but please understand I am only trying to be accurate and capture the natural rhythms of south Florida English.

A couple weeks ago we had good weather so I was sleeping with my window open. I think I was sleeping shallowly anyhow, but something woke me up. I looked at my clock and saw that it was past one, and then I realized that people were screaming at one another in the street. And I have only live here for a month.

This one is best told with a timeline.

1:07 a.m. – Confused as to why I woke up I look at my clock. I realize people are screaming in the street. I listen with annoyance. I head the words “cheating whore” and begin to listen with interest.

1:08 – A door slams and all is quiet. Assuming the argument has been taken inside I roll over and fall asleep.

1:21 – I am startled awake again. I hear an exchange that goes something as follows:

Man: “Yeah? Then what were you doing there?”
Woman: “Christ, Jimmy, I was working! Do you know what that is?”
Man: “You’re a nurse! His house ain’t no hospital.”
Woman: “His fucking mother was dying. And I work at Hospice. Do you even know shit about me?”
Man: “I know his house ain’t no Hospice-tal.”
Woman: “You’re fucking crazy, that’s all I’m saying. You’ve got stupid ideas in your head.”
Man: “And all I’m saying is if you and him are together you could be a man about it and tell me.”
Woman: “What?”
Man: “I said you could be a man about it and . . .”
Woman: “Shut up, I heard you.”

1:24 – The door slams as they take their argument back inside. I lie awake in hope that they come outside again. For fifteen minutes. Nothing. I fall asleep.

1:49 – They come outside. I wake up to the following exchange:

Man: “Don’t you take your shit outta this house, you ain’t going no where.”
Woman: “Well what the fuck then Jimmy, if you think I cheated on you why do I got to be here?”
Man: “I’m not done yelling at you.”

Until now I have been lying in my bed listening, but I decide I need to watch this, too. I crawl out of bed just in time to see them step back in the house across the street from me. I look out the window for ten minutes. Nothing. So I go back to bed just as they come outside again. I hear the woman scream, “don’t you fucking dare,” and I scramble back to the window. This is the most fun I have had in a while.

2:01 – I happily observe the following event:

Woman: “Don’t you fucking dare you coward!”
Man: [holding a cat] “What? You want your shit outta my house, I’m just giving you a hand.” [he throws the cat which, the second it hits the ground, takes off running and vanishes into the palmettos bordering the wetlands (full of alligators, snakes, and wild boars) surrounding our subdivision]
Woman: [after a moment of quiet] “You asshole! She ain’t never been outta the house before. She don’t belong in the swamp, she’s gonna die in there!”
Man: “Whatever, she’s just going to work at the Hospice-tal.”
Woman: [truly stunned] “You’re an idiot!”

2:04 – The woman storms into the house and the man after her. A minute later she comes out having changed into jeans, sneakers and a long sleeved shirt. She is carrying a golf club.

Man: “What the fuck Dena, you can’t go in there. It’s night!”
Woman: “Then you go get my cat.”
Man: “Hellll Nnoo! I’m not going in there.”
Woman: “Then let me the fuck alone.”
Man: “Just dump some champaign in a bowl, the pampered little fuck’ll come back.”

2:08 – The woman looks to be considering smashing the man with the golf club.

2:09 – The woman disappears into the palmettos. The man stares after her for a minute, then lights a cigarette. In the distance I hear her calling: “Fai-aith! Come kitty!”

2:13 – The man has an idea. I watch him flick his cigarette into the street then go to the car, parked behind a truck in the driveway, and pop the hood. He rumages around there for a minute, puts something in his pocket, then slams the hood, apparently satisfied with himself.

2:16 – The man goes inside.

2:17 to 2:35 – I actually stand at the window this whole time, waiting, hoping. Fortunately I work from home and can sleep at odd hours. Nothing. I return to bed. I don’t stay there long.

2:47 – The woman must have come back without her cat. I hear her scream and I rush back to the window. The man is sitting calmly on the porch.

Woman: “You son of a bitch! I’m gonna report you for animal cruelty.”

I start laughing to myself at this because if there was ever a state in the union that could care less for the feelings of animals, that state is Florida. My redneck students used to tell me stories all the time about how they would play games like rattlesnake baseball, which consists of provoking a rattlesnake until it strikes, then trying to knock its head off with a bat. I remember asking one student what he planned to do over the weekend and got this exchange:

Student: “There’s a sixteen foot gator in a pond near my house. I’m gonna kill it.”
Me: “Sixteen feet! He’s been alive forever. That thing is a triumph, and your going to kill it?”
Student: “Oh, no worries, Sir. He’ll be happy about it. He’s in a lot of pain.”
Me: “How do you know?”
Student: “I shot an arrow into him last weekend.”
Me: [rolling my eyes] “Well in that case . . .”

In fact, there was a famous news story about a tourist from New York calling in a local for animal cruelty because she was driving down 95 and saw his pickup with a live boar strapped to the hood. The boar’s head was loose and kept smacking into the huge all-terrain tires at 75 mph which was rubbing the side of its face to the bone. She wrote editorials and made phone calls and contacted commissioners. No one cared.

Anyhow.

Woman: “You son of a bitch! etc. . .”
Man: [calmly] “That’s fine. I probably deserve it. And if you want to leave I’ll even help you clean out your stuff tonight.”
Woman: “I don’t give a fuck about your remorse. Help me get my shit.”

2:50 – They carry stuff out of the house and into the car, arguing the whole time. Thankfully, I fail to consider going to bed.

3:10 – They finish. The man lights another cigarette and sits on the porch.

Man: “Well, take care.”
Woman: “I hope you die.”

3:11 – The woman turns the ignition. Nothing happens. She turns the ignition again. Same result.

Man: [almost urbane he is so calm] “Is there a problem?”
Woman: “Why are you so smug? I know that look. What the fuck you do to my car?”
Man: “Don’t worry about it, baby. Just come inside and we’ll discuss it tomorrow.”
Woman: “I gotta work tomorrow! Fix the car!”
Man: “Baby, I will tomorrow morning. I want you to come in and calm down and think about some things. I wanna hear you say you’re sorry for cheating on me.”
Woman: [loses it and screams at him incomprehensibly] “Aaarrghphhbblttprbt!”
Man: “Baby, you’re making a scene. You know we got neighbors.”
Woman: “Aaarrghphhbblttprbt! You want a scene?”

3:14 – The woman runs out of the car and grabs the golf club, which she left leaning against the house, and chases after the man who runs away hooting and laughing.

3:15 – When she can’t catch him she runs back and starts smashing the golf club against the hood of his truck.

Man: “You crazy bitch!”
Woman: [laughing maniacally] “Haaa! Ha ha!”

3:16 – The man grabs the woman around the waist and manages to drag her kicking and screaming back into the house, slamming the door behind him.

3:17 – A sleepy neighbor comes out his front door, looks around, can’t find the source of what woke him and wanders back inside.

3:18 to 3:30 – I wait at the window. All is still. All is silent. I go to bed happy.

7:30 a.m. – My roommate wakes me up to move my car so he can go to work.

7:33 – I pull my car back in the driveway. As I step out of the car I watch the man and the woman come out the front door of their house, the woman in her nurse scrubs. They kiss. I wave to them and bid them a good morning.

I guess that’s how romance goes in south Florida.

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~ by Peter on December 22, 2007.

One Response to “Argument Observed From My Window”

  1. You got a interesting neiighborhood!!!

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