Every neighborhood has one. That grouchy lady who keeps to herself and scares the children on the block. Nobody trick or treats at her house because she doesn’t leave her porch light on. Groups of kids just walk on by her house on Halloween and swap stories about the awful things they’ve seen her do. At Christmas time her house is the only one that’s not lit up with beautiful twinkling lights. It looks as cold as the snow covering her yard. Come summertime, she had better not catch you shooting off any fireworks or she’ll be calling the cops to end your fun. Every block in America has one of these old bags…. who would have ever thought that at 26, it’d be me?
Ok, Ok, so kids do trick or treat at my house (mostly because I’m a teacher at the school they all attend) and we do put up Christmas lights. I would never call the cops on kids shooting off fireworks. But, I did become that bitchy old lady last week when a group of teenagers irritated the crap out of me… and someone had to put an end to it.
My hubbie and I had been eating dinner. We heard kids yelling and being obnoxious out front but didn’t pay much attention to it. We noticed out our window that about 5 kids were riding in a convertible down the street while standing up. The driver would start and stop quickly hoping to make the passengers fall over (I’m sure the teens’ parents would have loved to see their children in what could have been a scene from a public service announcement about new drivers). An hour later the crowd of about 12 continued to yell and be obnoxious out in the street in front of my house. You have to understand where the frustration came from. I was working on a paper that was due that week to complete my graduate program. 40 pages on “Motivation,” ironically enough, and I couldn’t seem to ever find the motivation to do it. I had finally sat down (away from the TV, because apparently, I don’t do well with that) and those damn kids were distracting me.
I watched them like a creepy old lady for about 15 minutes from my bedroom window. 2 boys were running around the group with their cell phones held up, trying to take pictures of the one female with them (obviously the object of their affection). She had her forearms crossed over her chest, gripping her shoulders. “We got a picture of you!” one boy yelled. I had had enough. Hours of this crap happening in my quiet, suburban neighborhood as I desperately tried to finish off my bitch of a paper.
I walked outside and fluffed the rug on the porch, pretending to have a purpose for being out front. The kids, unphased, continued to fight to photograph the girl, while she chased them and kicked them. A few got back into what I later found out was the girl’s car and would drive at the group until they all jumped out of the way or they jumped on top of the car (again, their parents would be happy to know that the money they spend on her cute blue convertible was so well appreciated). I walked over to the driveway, planted my feet, crossed my arms, and gave the almighty teacher death stare that I have perfected over the past 3 years. I frantically searched my brain for something to yell that would get them away from my house, but wouldn’t sound bitchy. After all, I am half way to 50, not 50. Nothing came to mind. I just stared and seethed while I watched their shenanigans go on.
Then, about 30 seconds into the stare, it happened. One by one, the boys noticed me watching. Could it have been my heavy breathing? No, it was probably my red face. Then again, it could have been the smoke coming out of my ears…. Whatever it was, it worked. The first boy jabbed the boy to his right. That boy poked the kid in front of him. And suddenly. Like magic. They all stared right back at me. It was a showdown. One boy said, “Hey guys, let’s go inside or something.” Yah, they all agreed, let’s go inside. They scattered like a police bust at a college party. I just stood there and watched them run into the house in fear. No movement. Just stood there. Once every one of those little buggers had gone inside, I ran to the backyard to celebrate my victory with hubbie who was mowing the lawn. I walked – no skipped, to him and couldn’t stop giggling. “Oh my gosh! You’ll never guess what just happened! I just scared about a dozen teenagers away from our house without saying a word!” Not as pleased with my victory, he continued mowing. I ran into the house to call friends and share my story of becoming the neighborhood hag. At least they shared my feelings of triumph!
It was during one of those phone calls when my friend said it best, “You’re like Mabel! I’m going to call you Mabel!” So Mabel it is. I’m that person on the street who’s not to be messed with. Yes, I lost a little sleep that night, worried we’d be egged or TP’d. But damn, it feels good to be a gangster.