So I wouldn't say I live in the 'hood exactly. I wouldn't say that I lived in a dodgy area. And if you knew how much our rent was you'd probably think that we lived in a 'gated-community' with a butler, en suite rooms, private gym, walk in wardrobes a la Princess Diaries (a girl can dream), roof-top garden, actual garden, and view of the Thames/Buckingham Palace/Eiffel Tower.
But we don't.
What we do have is a bunch (gang?) of guys who like to hang around in the courtyard between the building where I live and the one opposite - and they do lower the tone rather. Here's us trendy hipsters trying (well not really trying because that wouldn't be ironic) to raise standards to oversized glasses frames, good coffee and creative alternatives but our efforts seem to be in vain - they do not care for such things. *sigh*
One or two will usually surface around lunchtime and by 8/9pm there's at least ten guys smoking, eating chicken, dropping litter and riding around on Boris Bikes until the early hours of the morning. I'm not sure of half of what they do, but the half I am sure of fo' sure ain't legal. Sometimes leaving the flat or coming home can be stressful when you know that you might have to walk past them, which is kinda ridiculous because they rarely say anything to you. And sometimes they do share useful security facts about how they watched some guy stealing bikes from the building - but didn't bother to stop him.
Whether I like it or not they are part of my community. They are literally on my doorstep, quite often blocking the way to the door - but when they realise you want to get into the building they generally move out the way without you even having to ask - see, they're nice boys really I'm sure.
Which poses the question of how to solve the problem of the dealers at your door? We've (flatmates and I) been wondering about this alot lately. Do we:
A. Ignore them? Fix your eyes on the floor/anywhere but them and purposefully walk past as if they're not there? Which is just ridiculous because it's obvious that you've seen them.
B. Befriend them? I'm not even sure if this is possible.
C. Report them? The Police come every now and again, sometimes they search them and other times they don't. Not gonna lie - it can actually be quite entertaining, especially when they start complaining to the police about other people who 'lower the tone' but other times it's hard to watch.
D. Make them a cake - my standard solution to everything.
>E. Other. Suggestions on a postcard please.
So far we've gone for a mixture or A and B, depending on how brave we're feeling and how much weed we can smell. Not gonna lie I mostly go for A - ignore them. But braver flatmates than me have got them to carry heavy suitcases of groceries up two flights of stairs to the flat. And another one has had a long enough chat to discover that one of them really loves his girlfriend and would do anything for her but because their families are from different countries no-one wants them to be together or get married - you see, I'm sure they're nice boys really.
Apart from the noise they don't give us much trouble (although remind me to tell you about the Great Litter and Chicken Wing Debates) but it would be nice if any guest who arrives or leaves after 7pm didn't have to pass some Iron-man Bravery Contest just to get to our door.
So where I live (the Shoreditch end of Bethnal Green. Or the Bethnal Green end of Shoreditch, depending on which direction you’re coming from) there are heaps of homeless people. Any main road seems to have at least two guys sitting outside The-Supermarket-That-Shall-Not-Named or next to the cash point asking for any spare change. And I don’t know what to do about it. This is the conversation I have with myself every time I am asked if I have any spare change: