Yes I live in Birmingham (quite a nice town on the outskirts).
Yes I live in a mixed area of both council and private properties, this road in particular being a real mix of people and backgrounds.
I fully understand that living in a city will bring its share of crime, disrespectful people and idiots. Does this mean, however, that I should be intimidated within my own home by what can only be described as ignorant bastards without a brain cell between them? No!
I can usually get through my time here quite pleasantly. We have had trouble in the past, granted, but since about a year ago, all has been quiet. No more quad bikes destroying the calm of the avenue for hours on end at a time. No more teenagers hanging out on my front porch smoking weed that filled my house up above it. No more opening my door to find intimidating groups of men or boys right on my door step with a baby inside to worry about. I was rather enjoying the lack of people on this avenue this year. Peace had been restored.
Today, the New Year brought me some unwanted visitors. I wouldn’t usually post about something so insignificant, but I don’t actually feel it is, thinking about it. The manner in which I was spoken to today in my own hallway, truly makes me lose all faith in a lot of the new generation of human beings and absolutely makes me want to hang my head in dismay that these people are being taught that its ok to be such nasty assholes in their adult life towards good people just trying to live and bothering no one else. I say taught because there is no way if raised correctly these people would be so utterly cold, disrespectful and unsympathetic towards others in situations they themselves are causing.
Being New Year, I had a big clear out of Emis room today, with her help of course (Help includes jumping in my carefully sorted piles of clothes, emptying a box of jigsaw pieces in the area I needed to hoover and dancing around naked whilst I cleaned around her-she is 3, why not!). I had armfuls of cardboard from xmas gifts, toys she doesn’t use anymore for the charity shop, clothes to sell, you know what its like with a 3 year old hoarder! I carried the cardboard down for recycling being completely unaware of anyone being outside my door. I wouldn’t have opened it if I had heard voices. With Emi singing at me it was hard to hear anything else.
I opened my front door, which leads into a communal hall I share with 2 other neighbours, to see grown men in my hall smoking and rolling up joints at the bottom of my stairs. This may seem like nothing to some of you, but they didn’t live here, I had never seen them before in the area, and they had seemingly just walked in off the road and decided to enter my hallway and hang out in there. It is very intimidating for anyone, before events took a nasty turn, never mind afterwards.
Before I said anything, one cocky shit said “Oh alright love we are just waiting for Steve”. He smirked and turned away, feeling very happy with himself and not realising that normal people with any sense of neighbourly goodwill at least know their neighbours first names. It said a lot about him that he assumed I didn’t. I ignored this at first, knowing full well no one called Steve lives in this block, just asking instead if they would not smoke in my hall as I had a young child at home and the smell fills my flat up. They said sorry love, quite sarcastically, and carried on rolling and smoking. Staying put, continuing to talk to each other whilst facing away from me with no intention of stopping after apologising. Mocking me directly.
I said “Who did you say you were waiting for again?”. The reply was Steve, followed by a snigger and another back turn. I said “Well unless someone new has moved in since yesterday when I spoke with my neighbour Darren, no Steve lives here, so could you please leave as you don’t live here either.” I thought this quite reasonable. I remained calm and spoke sense. I had a small child on my hip. A reasonable person may have seen their intrusion and left at that point.
These were not reasonable people. There is a new generation of spoiled, uncared for children, who do what they like at home with no consequence, or do want they want on the street because of lack of education at home about basic manners, respect and morals. They grow up into spoilt, ungrateful, greedy adults, with no sense of self-awareness, with a massive sense of self entitlement and a thirst and desire for everything to go their own way at all times. Crime is ignored. Life has no meaning apart from getting through each day on their terms only. The streets are theirs to claim in their eyes. Anything and anyone is fair game.
I was quite speechless at the massive toddler tantrum that erupted from one of the blokes in response to my statement. “For fucks sake, we are just waiting for a taxi and just fucking chillin so you need to shut the fuck up and get back in your house and leave us alone, it’s a council property anyway so you have no say so fucking shut up.”
This was actually his argument. In my hallway. Knowing himself he didn’t live on this road and had intruded my hall off the streets. With my 3 year old daughter in attendance being shocked by his foul dirty mouth, listening to every word. God forbid she ever thinks this sort of disgusting behaviour is acceptable.
I was pretty shocked for a few seconds but kept my calm and said “Well you’re wrong as these are not all council, I am a private tenant and regardless of what you think I pay my rent and I have rights to my own entrance hall and seeing as you don’t live here I am within my rights to ask you to leave and stop filling up my property with smoke. You are also being incredibly aggressive and intimidating in front of my 3 year old and I don’t have to accept it in my own rented space from someone not even from this area.”
This angered him greatly, to which he started swinging his arms back and forth Kevin style, pacing the hall and aggressively lunging towards the stairs, spitting his words at me, saying “Whatever, its council, im not going anywhere, call the fucking police if you want me gone or fuck off, im staying put.”
He looked like he was so raging mad, he might run up the stairs towards me at any point if I said anything else, so I started backing up, ushering Emi inside first, getting ready to close the door and call the police if necessary. Luckily, I didn’t have to waste any more words on a brick wall, as I think his mate could see his gobby shite of a friend had overstepped the mark and scared us and said “We will go love, sorry”. He literally had to drag his mouthy friend out whilst he continued to shout obscenities about his hardship of not getting what he wanted. He actually felt hard done by! As soon as they had stepped outside I followed them down and shut the door, bolting it so they couldn’t come back in, but even then they remained literally looking at me through the glass, they had made a point of just going as far as off my step and no further, not leaving my front porch area and continuing to smoke in front of my property, swearing at me as I closed the door. (Little fucking bitch, I believe I was called that time.)
It’s fair to say, me and Emi were both pretty shaken by the experience today. Me more so. Emi forget within 5 minutes but did start acting out the days events in great role play bossy shouty sessions using her dolls as the naughty men and telling them off. She is a great story teller that girl! It’s all material for her. No awareness of the real danger in the world at that age. I hope she remains innocent until necessary.
I always try to lock the door downstairs and ask that the neighbours do also. However, they have a habit, either them or the postman, of forgetting. I have lovely neighbours downstairs who, if at home, which is rare, will help me up the stairs with my shopping if they see me struggling. I will feed their cats on days they are away. We have a good neighbourly friendly relationship. My other neighbours are equally ok, friendly enough to say hi to and quiet as mice. No trouble. But someone is forgetting, maybe on their way out on a morning, to close the door, meaning that, as both sides are out of the block for a day or two at a time, very often, for most of the week, I am the only person in this block with my daughter. Which can have its good points. It’s very quiet. Although, I have to say, it at times makes me feel incredibly vulnerable as if they were outside my front door today as I opened it, as kids have been in the past on my top step smoking, the unreasonable nastiness from that one particular bloke could have ended up with mine and Emis health or lives at risk. That is the reality of bad people and the situation I am in on my own with a child. There is no partner only hours away to make you feel safe once they get in from work as there used to be when similar things happened when Emi was a baby. Its pretty scary at times. That is not dramatizing it. It is the reality of being a woman with a child in an isolated place on my own. You never know whats around the corner and I am hoping for better things than that rubbish today.
It is not ok, in my opinion, simply to say, well its the area, you chose to live there, deal with it. Yes I chose to live here, in a decently priced rental property, as a starter home, with my partner and first baby on the way. Since being made a single parent, when things like this happen, I am a vulnerable woman with a young child. And I hate that. Because even the strongest of women, when faced with unreasonable people who could put their lives in danger if something flips them the wrong way, cannot use their strength for good to defeat or reason with idiots who use their personal rage and lack of intelligence to bully their way through life. These kind of people, with such ignorance to their own deficiencies as people, are dangerous. Bullies are not big men, they are not tough either. Nothing these people do should be encouraged or praised. The world would be better off without them. Sad but true. Nan used to say they need putting down as they bring nothing to society apart from trouble. I would like to believe you could help some people with kindness and patience but we all know that some people are beyond that sort of help.Bad habits are ingrained in them from childhood. Nan might have had a point somewhere;-) Only kidding. But that’s the question.
Short of getting rid, what can we do about it? Call the police as that moron suggested today? He and me both know that if I did, they would roll up 3 hours later, say they had searched the area and go back to real policing. They would log it and tell you to keep logging it. And on the log goes. With no end. No purpose. No outcome apart from to appease the caller and seem half interested. I have been there. Nothing actually gets sorted.
What else could we do? Join neighbourhood watch? I have never read much on them, but imagine its much the same but with the addition of lots of curtain twitching, with the end result being calling the police and logging it. Oh and having a nice sticker proudly displayed in the window. I am sure it helps in some areas but in the forgotten ones it serves no purpose apart from giving the nosy neighbours a role.
And that is about it. I hate that people see these yobs and turn a blind eye, because its easier to let them do what they want than become a target to their bullying. The men in my hallway today were grown men of about 25-30. Grown men. Not teenage kids. How are they allowed to enter someone elses property and intimidate a mother and small child trying to go about their business. My Nan used to say just leave it. She always ignored them. And for the entirety of her life within her flat on this same road, she had people smoking in her hall, keeping her awake and on edge, meanwhile assuming it was ok because nothing was said. I imagine if it was they would still have been there. Yobs don’t listen to reason. Of course, on her own, she was vulnerable too. But the fact remains, it is not ok. I will not live as a recluse being told that thugs rule and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can at least try.
It is time for entire communities to come together, take back control of their areas and work together for a better way of life. There used to be such community spirit and now people just abuse each other. I would rather live an honest life making the best of it. People should help each other, as it used to be. I am calling for better patrols of well known problem areas as a starting point. This worked before. It took endless logs from many people within this area when the anti social behaviour was at its worst but it led to a raised police presence in the area, which, I believe, is what has contributed to the quiet of the last year here. I don’t know if this will even be acknowledged by one person in relation to an individual event but I will be trying.
Good people who live their lives honestly should not have to live in fear of leaving their own home. It doesn’t matter if you live in a council home, a private rent, a bought home, a caravan, you have the right to privacy and safety. I pay my bills same as everyone else, this is my home, that hall is my entrance. I will not allow it to be taken over by fully grown bully’s. I don’t think one person can make that much difference against the war on brain dead hooligans but it does have to start with one person at least.
I will fight with everything I have to keep my little girl safe within her own home. This is her safe place. If it doesn’t feel safe, what do we have left?
That is my thought for the start of this New Year anyway. Its survival for peace. I have always fought for what I believed in and loved. It’s not about to stop with my home. Pro-active and positive. Pick your fights x