I was sitting at my (my landlord’s) terrace, enjoying the fresh air (my cigarette), when suddenly a man started yelling with some degree (a great degree) of agitation: Ye little bastard!! Just wait ’til I catch you!!! (The original yelling was in Czech and significantly more vulgar.) As it was dark already, I couldn’t see who was doing the shouting and who was doing the running. All the same, this random incident amused me more than it should have.
I live in a new block of flats which is precariously poised at the edge of a social housing area. While there are worse places, this one is neither particularly safe nor particularly nice. Noise, vandalism and petty crime are perfectly normal—though recently we’ve come to be monitored by motorised police patrols. This also entertains me more than it should because the police cars crawl v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y in and out and the exact purpose of their drive-thrus remains mysterious.
I imagine the upset man was chasing away some street kid. That was very ill-advised of him—the kid is likely to return and take revenge on the guy’s car. I know because that’s what happened to me when I lived in this area earlier. Kids were throwing a ball across the length of parked cars, one of which was mine, so I shouted at them to go play elsewhere. Not much later I found the passenger’s door of my car thoroughly vandalised with random scribbles scratched in the paint. The moral is Don’t own a car. I duly don’t own a car now, so I can smile a wistful smile at other car owners’ misery.
I have no idea who came up with the idea that computers, phones and internet are bad for children. If local kids spent more time online, they would have less time for wreaking havoc on everything in their proximity. We have some kid gangs around, not a real threat but scary looking nonetheless, which I regularly see from the terrace vandalising one thing or another. The last time I observed, they were enthusiastically kicking into an electrical utility box in the street. I had the sense not to say anything. You see, if you see something, say nothing, and you’ll be fine.