I have seen all kinds of weirdos that you can ever find, in Australia, from the bad to the worse; of course, good weirdos are rare to find (and I am yet to meet one). And today I had an experience with literally the king of weirdos.
TRUE STORY: I was driving home from the supermarket very late at night, around 11:30am. As I exited the highway to enter into my neck of the woods, I just happened to have been following a ute that was driving to the same block where I live.
Half a minute into the drive near my home, the ute stops out of nowhere, without signalling, in the dark on a badly-lit leafy street perpendicular to the street where I live. I was thinking to myself what’s the guy doing, when the driver signals right, pulls out his partially-parked car out of the parking spot and drives his way forward. He then takes a right turn onto to my street after driving a short distance. I continue to drive behind him — without tailgating him — unaware that he was going to stop at the same spot where I park my car every day, which is across from my house.
As the ute driver braked his car to stop at my spot, I felt surprised and disappointed successively. Surprised because no one parks their cark at that spot — as the house owners, my acquaintances, don’t own one — and I could see all the usual cars in their driveway. Disappointed because I realised that I would have to relinquish that spot tonight and might end up seeing bird poo all over my car the next day. But to my bewilderment, the white ute stayed stationary with its engine running.
As I stayed behind the ute at some distance with my car headlights on waiting for him to leave, a guy comes out of (what seemed like) the house diagonally opposite to mine, to “get” something from the ute driver – a short, singlet-wearing ponytailed Asian in his late 30s. Then, like a scene straight out of a movie, the Asian ute driver proceeds to open his trunk and lift (what I thought was) a long-ish box with both his arms. As I wait there, the guy from the house — a lean, balding and scruffy middle-aged man — clearly conscious of my presence, looks at me waiting for me to move. Determined to use my favourite parking spot, I stay behind the ute driver in my car, when the guy living diagonally opposite to me comes over to my car near the driver’s window after a brief chat with the Asian. As I try to explain myself saying “I park my car here”, the guy in a stern voice with an Aussie twang immediately follows it up with: “I DON’T WANT YOUR EYES THERE”.
Slightly petrified, and not wanting to stir up my wonderful and happy life in a peaceful suburb, I nod to acknowledge what the guy said, however against Australia’s constitution that might be. I proceed to look away and drive my car around the periphery of my driveway in order to park it right in front of the house, where there is a regular deluge of bird poo and yellow-staining tree leaves. I could still see from the corner of my eye the scruffy-looking neighbour leaning on the ute, and the Asian guy doing something in the background. Still slightly shaken, I mind my own business and make my way to my home while thinking about and processing all the things that just happened. In hindsight, I realised why the Asian ute driver stopped all of a sudden on a dimly-lit leafy-street: he wasn’t so much worried about someone driving behind him as much as he was concerned about someone knowing what he had in the trunk of his car, and wanting to track it down.
My best guess is, both the guys are into something illegal, or even criminal to be realistic. However, given that there live two Italian grandparents in the suspicious two-storeyed house, what was actually delivered from the ute is a food for thought. What I will be doing though from now onwards is avoid parking across the street, where I strongly believe illegal activities take place. And probably also acquiesce me to the fact that for all the goods of the Western world, there will be times when you will be readily made to feel vulnerable and your rights easily trampled on, without you having any possible recourse.