Tuesday 14 December 2010


Neighbors are a funny thing – or a flat out maddening, want to clean one’s shotgun type of thing. Just kidding, I’m totally anti-gun and have never even held one before. Riflery at camp does not count. I’ve always likened neighbors to family only in the sense that you cannot choose them. They’re simply there in your building when you move in (if you live in a shared block of course; if you own a home, I'd call the police promptly!), like it or not. I suppose if you were really neurotic you could canvas the building before hand to see if you liked the people. And yes, I am that neurotic, or certainly will be in the future.

My building, whilst amazing in its location, has many factors that are slowly driving me insane. One being that the walls are paper-thin and I’m sandwiched between two of the most annoying sets of neighbors within greater London. The guy upstairs we call ‘dead body’ guy. In short, he drags heavy objects across the floor incessantly, followed by bangs and thuds, and other mysterious noises, to which my partner and I have decided can only be corpses that he hides within his lair.

I shall paint you a picture of his other sunny attributes. He never leaves the flat, he does not work as far as I can tell; he occasionally skulks out for food (the man does not walk. He definitely skulks), plays video games incessantly on top volume (which of course I can hear), sneezes with such ferocity that it causes me to jump every time he does so, and plays his music so loudly that my living room shakes. But it doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t just play his music. A few times a day he powers up his airplane engine that clearly operates his stereo, sets the bass on 1 zillion and then plays ten seconds of forty different songs all in a row. And of course these songs, to make my ears really want to recoil and crawl inside my brain, vary from NWA to Olivia Newton John. He even busted out Celine Dion the other day followed by Eminem. If he starts playing John Denver I’m calling the authorities.

Now for those of you thinking why have I not filed any complaints re. this freak show? Oh, I have. When I was pregnant, all hopped up on hormones, he and I got into it. Well, I used a broom handle and knocked on the ceiling to which he responded by cursing at me thru the floor and banging on my front door (I didn’t answer. I’m not a total idiot). The building’s response? He is an angel, a no fly zone, and we would never reprimand him cause everyone that works for the building loves him (or fears the hell out of him) and I am a crazy hormonal woman. Gee, thanks for that.

The neighbors downstairs are the drunkards. As we call them. We like nicknames. They love to party, come home at all hours blitzed out of their minds (and have been known to forget their keys and ring the entire building), fight like Richard Burton and Liz Taylor and are very fond of slamming doors. In the light of day, and in sobriety, she is quite nice. He, not so much. Yes, I can hear pretty much everything that goes on in this building.

So, I realized that instead of complaining about the noise, the second hand smoke that seeps up through the pipes (seriously), or the Celine Dion, I have the best revenge money can buy. THE KING. Since his arrival, I have sat back with a smile on my face and thought, so neighbors, what do you think of them screaming apples? And the best part is, no one can complain about a baby (except me of course). As far as I can tell he has no volume control or sense of propriety. If it’s 5:30 am on a Saturday morning and he feels like screaming his little head off, then that’s just what he’s going to do. In fact, if he wants to scream, talk, and coo for 10 hours straight, I’m thinking there is also not much I can do about it. Now if only I could get him to cry in the tune of My Heart Will Go On. We’ll have to work on that.

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