neighbourly words of wisdom

I arrived at the studio early, and my across-the-street neighbour was rummaging through his station wagon and muttering crossly.

He is the type of Very Respectable Muslim who, I swear, has never raised his voice. We usually have Very Respectable Conversations which go: "Good Morning, how are you? And how is the family? What lovely weather! Have a nice day." He adores his wife and teenaged children, and they are great people. I have seen him chastising his kids, and I love the way they communicate.

Today, he finished his rummaging, and stood up with his arms full of plastic water bottles, fast food boxes, socks and bags, and asked how the children were. "oh, fine..." I replied.

"But plenty work, eh? And let me tell you, IT NEVER ENDS! Just when you think, Oh, they are getting big and responsible, WELL! The work now start! They want to use the CAR! But can you SEE this garbage? You see this?"

I just started to laugh, partly out of surprise at his sudden loss of composure, and partly at the sight of him, beard askew, arms overflowing with plastic bags.

He laughed too. "Somebody has to wash this car later!" He said with glee. "And boy, it is going to be CLEAN! Let them sleep! Teenagers! Just wait!"

And he disappeared indoors with his garbage.