When the cats came and ate Chinese
As I entered my early 20s, there were two houses that bring back very fond memories.
Both included memories of how good times could be when you were with great friends, and also how quickly it can turn into a 'Lord of the Flies' style situation.
The first house I would frequent was built on a swamp.
There was a rudimentary drain dug down one side of the house, but a large part of the back yard, and over the boundary fence, was a swamp at the bottom of a hill.
This gave the house a damp, cold vibe, no matter what time of year.
The people who resided there were very high spirited characters, so much so that no one could ever agree on who would do the dishes or take the rubbish out.
Thus there became a rubbish pile, which was in the kitchen entrance, which quickly reached over six feet high and around six feet out from the wall.
It stank to high heaven due to all the old, half finished Chinese food.
There was also another problem, cats.
There was an army of cats that called the underside of the house home.
I am talking more than 40 different cats, all cavorting and yowling through the night, and slipping into the house unnoticed during the day to steal Chinese food.
The second I will speak of put the other to shame in terms of parties.
The parties there would go on for days on end, often resulting in more and more of the house being destroyed in the process.
There were numerous punch holes from drunk youths testing their bravado against an old house, as well as every wall in the living room being covered in several layers of spray paint, after the owner of the house saying it was fine if we tagged up the house.
I still remember the largest bit of writing said the words "I hate n****rs", which was a very silly thing to write on a majority ethnic neighbourhood. On one occasion (a birthday of the owner), the locals showed up by the carload till the party spilled out onto the street.
One person shoved another, and suddenly there was a 15 person-on-one beating.
The day was saved by a young guy with a pair of steel nunchakus, which he could use like a young Bruce Lee (somehow he jumped into the fray, standing over the victim of the mob, hiding, and keeping the rest at bay).
There were fires that were licking at the sides of the house, people's favourite blankets getting burned in them. A sunroom full of very sweet smelling, illegal plants.
More than eight young blokes living in a three-bedroom house.
A stable of hotted up cars for the skidding.
I have never seen hedonism quite the same, and treasure the great memories left over from the chaos. Ah, such is life.