The One About How All Australians Are Not Laid Back and Cool.

So a guy drove up my street last week.

I know that doesn’t sound like earth-shattering news, but consider this:  I live on a very steep hill, and the street dead-ends at the top (I guess you could say I live on a cul-de-sac, in a way), and there are only four houses on the whole street – one of them is mine and one is below me – so only the people who live in the two houses above me really ever drive past my house, including my next door neighbor who lives alone, and the new owner who just bought the little tiny shack at the top of the hill, and his son.

When you consider all of that, it’s rare for a car to drive up my street.

And when it happens, I tend to look out the window, given that my office overlooks the street, to see who it is.  And have I mentioned that my street is about 10 feet wide?  Here, take a look:

I took this picture a few years ago when  the little shack up the hill was on the market, the then-owner inviting potential buyers to “build [their] dream chateau.”

You can see, not alotta space there.  The street curves up to the left and at the very, tippy top, there is a place where you can turn around.

So this guy drives up my street, and I watched him go just to where the road curves to the left, and then stop.  And then he moved forward a bit, and then stopped again, and then, as I have watched many people do over the past few years, he began to back down the 8% or so grade that is my street.  And like most of them, he was not backing down straight.

Now you don’t have a ton of options here on my street.  To the left is rock.  Slate.  Not gonna move if you back into it.  And to the right is a slope covered in ivy that would be very happy to welcome you down, down, down, and smile as you crash into the house in front of me.

And if, by chance, you are able to back your car successfully down my street, there’s still the chance that you would graze my front planter, which I very proudly designed in stacked stone tile.  And my tile guy is no longer with us, so I’m not happy about it getting bumped.

So I walked outside as this guy zigged and zagged his car down my street, backward.  His window was open so I said to him, “you know, if you go all the way up, there’s a place for you to turn around.”  And I discovered he was Australian.  What a lovely accent those Aussies have, huh?  And they are all laid back, nice folks, right?

You should have heard what came out of his mouth.

I actually wish I remembered it verbatim.  He was not interested in my suggestions would be putting it mildly.  He started yelling at me.  “You are insane!”  he yelled.  “You are a bitch!”  among other colorful names.

As I actually really only wanted to make sure that he didn’t hit my planter, I stayed out on my driveway watching him.  He got close to the main street, of course backwards, and then realized he would have to back across a blind corner into oncoming traffic.  I offered to go into the street and stop traffic for him (which I have done for others similarly situated).  And then the language got even more flowery.  “You’re a crazy bitch!” he told me.  A few times.  “What’s the matter with you?!”

I was so disappointed, for two reasons.  First, he had a dog in the car, and he got himself so worked up and angry that I was worried that his driving, which was erratic to begin with, might cause an injury to the dog.  And second, he had a beautiful Australian accent.  I hope he did not ruin Australian accents for me.

But the good news is I’m pretty sure he’s not coming back to my street again.

Here's a picture from a calmer time - if you squint and look on the right side of the street, you might see the three little deer who came down to munch on the ivy!


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