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September 08, 2005

Punctured Eardrums and Pierced Bubbles

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThere are very few sounds with the awesome power to cut through the battery of drums and gravely guitars of grunge circa 1992. The eardrum-puncturing shrieks of little girls at play, however, reduces even Nirvana to quiet, Sunday afternoon jazz.

I am across the street from a Catholic primary school for girls. What is it about that very special ear-bloodying timbre? Why do little girls screech like miniature banshees as they play in the schoolyard? Are they so wrapped up in their games that they literally scream at the thought of losing? Are they being tortured by their nuns?

The girls and I got a treat yesterday. We witnessed the arrest of what turned out to be a violent criminal across the street from the school and right outside my entrance. The real life show was even complete with some mild police brutality in the form of hair pulling, a punch in the stomach and a kick to the nuts. The guy had a gun. It was a whole lot of fun. The little girls greeted the spectacle with silence.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen I moved into this neighbourhood it was fairly safe. Now I am treated to witnessing at least one arrest a week, sometimes involving multiple police cars. Last month there were four murders on my block. This may be nothing by American standards, but I don't live in America.

Poor girls. Their parents spend so much money to give them a nice Catholic upbringing, all calm and peaceful. It seems to me so naïve to try to shield children within a bubble of religion and pray that the good Lord will make everything alright. Real life will always sneak itself in, one way or another.