New Dictionary for New Neighbors?

I'm a big fan of great quotations. I put up a new one on the overhead in my class every day. My students copy it down while I take attendence, we discuss it, they turn in their completed list at the end of the semester, I return them, and they promptly throw them away. Still, I think it's worthwhile. After today, I am reconsidering my decision to limit the quotations to those meaningful, inspirational kind penned by famous authors, thinkers, and politicians. Tonight I overheard one of the best quotes from the neighbor across the street, and I know that, if it were appropriate to share, my students would hold onto that quote noetbook like it was made of gold.

My wife and son and I recently moved to a new town, the town where I teach. It's a small town (population 7000) and I am doing my big-city-boy best not to get claustrophobic and judgemental. Over-all the people here have been wonderful. Our new landlords, for example, are a huge improvement over the hoochy slumlord landlady we suffered for the last couple of years. We were so amazed when they not only showed up to fix a couple things we noticed, but showed up the next day and then, to our great amazement, promtply fixed both problems in one visit. I don't think this is an inherently small town thing; they are both immigrants from China, and I don't think that country has any towns with only seven thousand residents. They are just good people, and I need to remind myself that a town of good people is a good place to live, regardless of its size.

The lady across the street serves as an example of the sad fact that no town is filled with good people. As far as we can tell her full time job is sitting out in front of her house verbally abusing her children. Personally, I can't see why one would make such a career choice. The pay is non-existent, and the more she harangs then the worse her retirment benefit gets. Regardless, shes proven to be a tireless employee, and very capable, so I'm glad she hasn't chosen to work in customer service. She is quite a piece of work, let me tell you. I think her family chose to live in this inland town because her vocabulary would make sailors flee in shame. The mouths on her kids are filthy, even when they are defending themselves from her, but I can't really blame them for that. Tonight, during a dispute over who would mow their lawn, we tink we heard her hitting the kids. I hope not, because as a mandatory reporter I'll have to call child proective services, and that's no way to ingratiate yourself to new neighbors. Anyway, as the kids tried to defend themselves from the charge that they'd previously destroyed a garden hose with the mower the mother shouted at one of the boys, "Well, if it wasn't you it was that nimble-minded f*&% you hang out with!" I could tell from her tone that she was not complimenting her child's friend on his mental agility.

As I ran inside to share this new epithet with my wife, I idly considered grabbing one of our dictionaries and going over to introduce myself. We have more dictionaries than we need, and even our lower quality ones would certainly serve to help this poor woman avoid such faux pas in the future. But, I decided, she would probably use it to come up with a more fitting slur for me.

Intead I will wait until she hits her kids and I see it. Then I will go tell her that I have to make a call, that the authorities rarely do anything about it the first time someone calls them, and that she would be better off sitting on her back porch, where I won't be able to see what she is doing to her kids, and where my son is slightly less likely to learn new words from her.

I very much hope that when this happens she will tell all the other neighbors about the pesky, intrusive, know-it-all, nimble-minded f*&$ who just moved in across the street.