Tuesday, April 1, 2008

He said, she said

I got into an argument with my elderly neighbor yesterday. This particular person is ... well, let's just say some of my readers will know of whom I'm referring with just this hint: drives very slow. (I took out what I said previously about arguing with the elderly because I realized it was discriminatory, if not offensive; what I meant was, I shouldn't be aruging with this particular elderly person.)

He was ranting and raving to me about how the city thinks it owns something on the waterfront and it doesn't, the land is owned by three private people. After a couple of minutes it became clear he was referring to the two parking lots owned by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority - or as we refer to it, the NRA - and Stephen Karp et al. I told him the NRA owned the lots and kept asking, "Yeah, but who owns THAT?"

For proof of his claim, he went into his house and came back out with two issues of the Daily News. "Did you read these?" he demanded to know.

I had read the stories he was showing me and I hadn't been confused but clearly there are even long-time residents who need some context/background in their news.

He then went on to belittle any input I was offering with the comment that I had only lived here "for 2 years" while he has lived here since the 1940s and that here it was, in the paper, and what did I know?

On a similar note, here's another interaction that was interesting in a another way. People say "townies" can't meet minds with "blow-ins." Not saying my neighbor is a townie, folks; I know he wasn't born here.

On Saturday, while waiting to see the Mayor, there were two people in the lobby at City Hall who were both townies. The man implied that he knew better than the woman what was good for the city (they were talking about a senior center) because he had lived here longer than she, although both have lived here all their lives. He was 87 and she couldn't possibly be that old, he said (she wasn't).

The competition over who was more a townie than the other included which one had more war dead represented on the walls in the hallway and who had the most relatives who had held city office.

He, by the way, supports a senior center at Cushing Park while she maintained that no one will appear at a center so far from downtown. He said older people don't like to drive downtown because the streets are too narrow and there are too many cars parked on the street; she said a lot of senior citizens don't have a car and how are they going to get to Cushing Park, anyway?

We can be a very argumentative/competitive populace. I love it.


Ari said...

Where are there narrow streets? Wherever such enigmatic streets exist, they are nothing compared to Boston's Public Alleys or, heck, the tiny roads of Rome. And there are old people everywhere.

Gillian Swart said...

True, but it seemed as if he was relating a general concern.