Yesterday we roared into our yard on the Enfield, a stinking, dirty, sweaty mess, the four of us. We passed our landlady's house and the whole of the family was decked out in their finest threads, about to go to a ceremony of some sort: smart ironed jeans, beautiful sari, crisp checked shirts. Faces gleaming and black hair shampooed and shiny, they took in their filthy tenants, worn out from a day spent on the beach playing 'Connect Four' and listening to bad pop music.
"Sometimes I think they're ashamed of us" the husband said.
"What, like a dirty little secret you mean?" I responded. "As in we're like their 'trailer trash' living on their property, to make them some extra money but really we embarrass them with our loud screaming misbehaving children and lewd behavior?"
"Yeah, exactly" the husband said.
He's got a point. Yesterday morning the husband was on his way to the shop to get breakfast supplies and cut the trip short in order to tell us that some newly hatched puppies had finally emerged from their underground hiding place and that all eight of them were currently bouncing around in the front field like those battery operated toys you see in those enclosures at Hamley's.
We raced out to have a look. In all the excitement we sort of bounded out semi-clad. I was wearing a tiny bikini top and an even tinier skirt. I wouldn't be caught dead like this normally, but much like giving birth rids you of any sort of modesty and decorum - so does living in 100 degree heat with no air-con strip you of any body self-consciousness and allow you to prance around like a porn star with very little regard to the sad state of your thighs or any other bodily hang-ups.
It was only when racing back to get some milk for the puppies, past our fully clothed landlady Sanandra (who is probably my age but dresses like my mother - not literally but you know what i mean), that it struck me that perhaps she is not so pleased that her 13 year old boy spends so much time in the company of me, an obviously wanton woman. I mean, I had just been bent over in the field with Sandkelp and the monsters cuddling the little darlings for half an hour, totally oblivious to the effect that my 'has seen better days' Topshop bikini top might be having on a 13 year old boy in such close proximity. Oops.
And given the fact that our boys are more likely to be prancing round the yard in Crocs and tiny underpants than properly clothed, I don't think it's paranoia to assume that Sanandra and her family must sometimes feel like they're harbouring 'Trailer Trash' (albeit brown not white) in their back yard.
We've got the rowdy friends rolling up on motorcycles at all ours of the day...the loud music constantly blaring off our logitech speakers through open windows...the ever increasing pile of empty beer and liquor bottles gathering at the side of the house....and last but not least the often daily scene of one beleaguered parent or another chasing a rug rat off the porch and across the yard, screaming for the remote control/mobile phone/lighter/stolen sweets which the child has run off with.
And let's not even get into our local reputation. Last night at the restaurant over dinner, mid-meal the power went off - surprise surprise - and Dumpie spent the remainder of his time standing up backwards in his chair and pestering the quiet conservative German couple behind us by keeping up a running commentary of every bite they were putting in their mouths, asking what they were eating and were they going to have 'dessert'. Having given up on the thought of a quiet meal, they studiously ignored him, hoping he'd go away (he doesn't...i've tried) until I forced him back into his seat and was rewarded with a grateful look. That was of course all well and good, until Dumpie started breaking up bits of chapatti and tossing them blindly over his head, littering their table like manna from heaven. When the husband finally clocked that a piece had unbeknownst to her, landed in her head, he stood up, defeated.)
"Let's just get out of here" he said.
I couldn't agree more.