I live in an inner city suburb of Melbourne where old weatherboard houses are pushed in between blocks of flats and clinker brick commission houses of the 1930's. There are pensioners who grow veggies in their front gardens, living next door to city workers in townhouses. Couples with kids or dogs (or both) and couples without.
Many people greet each other with a nod or a friendly hello in the street, whilst others keep to themselves. Without doubt there are a few oddballs. Despite (or maybe because of) the range of characters, the area maintains a local feel.
There is a local milk bar on the next block which originally sold papers, stale bread and limp groceries, but is now a meeting place for a coffee and a chat. The old timers sit amongst the new comers and watch the world go by with little changing across the years apart from the inevitable turn of the seasons.
It's pretty quiet mostly, despite it's inner suburb location, though true to high density living, not much goes unnoticed.
Whilst out and about, I will sometimes say hello or briefly smile in greeting and mostly people are friendly... and yet there are some characters I tend to avoid. It's not conscious exactly, I just don't go out of my way to greet them. One such person lives across the road and is a pretty rough looking guy. He's big, generally goes unshaven, has wide shoulders and dresses in an oversized T-shirt and shorts, no matter what the season. I know he is there and I am quite sure he has seen me too, but he keeps to himself and I am quite happy with the situation as it stands.
So this morning, as Mal was unlocking his car (an original 1978 mini), he was taken a little by surprise when this guy called out from the other side of the road, trying to get his attention.
It seems a few nights ago, he caught a few young guys trying to flip over Mal's car (three of them on a section each) and he told them in no uncertain terms to piss off! Thankfully (and not surprisingly) he didn't get any arguments and they left post haste. "I'm a pitt bull, I am" he told Mal with a smile. A smiling pit bull.
They chatted briefly and Mal thanked him before he continued on his way, giving each each other a nod as he drove away.