Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Now aren't you being selfish?

When I first moved to Austin back in 1992 I lived in an apartment complex for a few years. I had various neighbors during that time, but my favorites were the Rainbows, a mother and daughter who were both named Rainbow. It was confusing (to me at least) for both to have the same name, so I gave them the nicknames Rainbow Sr. and Rainbow Jr.

Rainbow Sr. was some sort of priestess in her New Age, crystal-reading, incense-burning religion, which probably explains the names. She was a single mom, and from what I could tell she had sole custody of her daughter. Rainbow Jr. was a high school student and slightly rebellious, as teenagers sometimes are. And when her mom went out on a weekend night, Rainbow Jr. liked to throw parties for her high school friends.

And as a mother and her teenage daughter are wont to do, they sometimes argued. Late one particular Saturday night, Rainbow Sr. was going out. For whatever reason, this upset Rainbow Jr. As Rainbow Sr. walked to her car, Rainbow Jr. stood on their balcony yelling at her, loud enough to keep me awake. As I lay in bed I thought it would be "neighborly" for me to let them know they were being too loud. And then, an opportunity presented itself. Rainbow Jr. yelled at her mom, "You're being selfish. What about me?"

Struck by the irony of her statement, I then yelled a retort, "Now aren't you being selfish?"

They were obviously struck by the sheer gravitas of my statement, quietly went their separate ways and pondered the wise words that I had yelled. Either that, or they were embarrassed that they were yelling loud enough for others to hear. Whichever.