Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Greensboro Hillbillies

We were awakened the other night by incredibly loud screaming right outside our window. It was one of our hillbilly neighbors, the one we call "Mouthy" because she shouts instead of talking. Mouthy was screaming at Mullet Man (named for obvious reasons) about what I don't know. But Mouthy did use the "F" word quite a bit. "Never in my f-ing life" she screamed at a few points, so I guess it was serious.

Photo: Jane belts out a tune with her preschool class. This has nothing to do with the story, but it gives you something to look at.

The screaming went back and forth for half an hour. It was 3a.m. What possesses someone to have a screaming fight at 3a.m. in his or her front yard is beyond me.

I was trying to peer out our windows to see who all was involved and to try to get a better idea about what they were fighting over. Megan was shouting at me to get down on the ground in case someone started shooting. It was that crazy.

I never did figure out what the heck the fight was about; the sheriff came out and put an end to the front yard battle. The sheriff visits them a lot.

Photo: A couple of villagers in Tarabuco. This town is well known for its textiles. We bought a ton of stuff here. Very cool little place. Again, like all the photos here today, not a damn thing to do with the story.

The next day there were a few less hillbillies. Mouthy was gone, and so was Brandon, her son. We aren't sure what Mouthy's relationship to Mullet Man was. Boyfriend/girlfriend, we guessed. Mullet Man was still there.

Photo: More scenes from Tarabuco.

Ok, so we do not have a television. So, doing our little anthropological study of our neighbors takes up a lot of our down time. In fact, Megan and I went out for a beer sans-kids the other day. We went to a local brewpub called Red Oak Brewing. Not a bad place in a primitive first generation brewpub kind of way. Unfortunately for Red Oak, the first generation mostly died off 20 years ago. Somehow they have managed to survive way past their sell-by date. Actually, their amber isn't bad, if a bit generic. I asked the server what kind of beers they had and she replied "light, medium and dark." I was tempted to explain in my beer-snob way that "light, medium and dark" are not actual styles of beers. The server was missing several teeth, and judging by the color of the ones she had left, she was going to be gumming her food soon. So, anyway, this isn't a sophisticated beer place.

Photo: This is a picture of the roof of Convento San Felipe Neri in Sucre, Bolivia. This is my favorite building in the world. Incredibly beautiful.

Megan and I each had two pints, and we spent an hour and a half trying to sort out the connections between our hillbilly neighbors. They had, at last count, five adults and two adult-sized kids living in a two-bedroom unit. That is a lot of folks. I guessed Mullet Man and Mouthy were dating, and that Brandon was her son. Then, there was Little Mouthy, who we figured was Mouthy's thinner sister and the mother of Hailey. Bald Guy was probably Little Mouthy's significant other, but not Hailey's dad. Finally, there was Big Momma, who parked her ancient Ford Aerostar, seemingly filled with all of her worldly possessions, next to our car. Nearest we could figure, Big Mamma was the mother of the mouthy sisters. This family tree was hard won, and the result of much debate on our part.

Photo: Jane and Meg get shoeshines in the main square in Sucre. Bolivia must be the shoeshine capital of the world. People like shiney shoes, but the roads are so dusty and dirty that you really need to keep on top of it.

We still are not sure who owns the broken down black Cadillac Eldorado. The car was towed home last week and has been parked ever since. Every night Mullet Man, Bald Guy, and an assortment of friends come out, smoke some cigarettes, pop the front hood and stare at the engine. They have intense discussions. Sometimes they jack the car up. Once they took the battery out (it is still sitting on the curb). But they do this every night and still the car sits there. I thought all rednecks new how to fix a car.

Yesterday morning Hailey was loaded into a pick-up truck with her suitcase. The truck actually was in working order, so it must have belonged to a friend. The friend drove, and Little Mouthy and Bald Guy piled in. They disappeared for most of the day.

A few minutes later the sheriff showed up. Apparently the hillbilly's were being evicted. I have never been evicted, so it was interesting to see. The sheriff knocks on the door. No one answers. She then puts this thing on the doorknob that is like a "boot" you put on a car wheel. It makes it so you can't put a key in the lock or turn the knob. The hillbilly's were evicted.

Photo: Religion is very visual in Bolivia. One explanation for this is that when the Spaniard came over to convert the natives, there was no written language so they felt that visual explanations would be more powerful. There is also a lot of gore associated with religion, and Jesus in particular. This is a picture from an Easter procession that marched right by our house. The Jesus they are carrying is covered in blood and has many gaping wounds. It is pretty gross.

Yesterday afternoon the hillbilly's apparently managed to get access to the apartment. They showed up in their friend's pick up, sans Hailey, and grabbed a few things. All of their furniture stayed. They disappeared and never came back. The busted Cadillac Eldorado is still sitting in the parking lot, its battery on the curb next to it. I wonder if anyone will ever come back and get it. Probably no


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