The little angel chorus in my head was singing their hallelujah jubilee today. I needed some things at the dollar store (a tiny fm radio to pass the droll hours at work, a few sodas and maybe even a unicorn paperweight) so I grabbed Yadi and headed out the door. Before you turn me into the authorities as a bad pet parent, it was warm here so SHUT IT. Or I will turn you in for leaving your dog’s massive poo in my front yard.
As I was heading out, my upstairs neighbor , Mary, was just coming home from work. Before I go any further, let me flesh this situation out for you in case you haven’t been keeping up with my home life. I live in a decaying four family apartment building. There’s a nice quiet guy in the adjoining ground floor apartment. The apartment above him is now empty, as half of the village was evicted. I’m pretty sure I had a hand in this. I can only take so many years of little kids leering at me through my front door (made me want to walk around nekkid) Parties in my back yard that don’t end until four am (with speakers right below my bedroom window playing tuba-heavy oompa music all night long) and the bushes in front of my house being filled with beer cans (Recyclers, please feel free to come clean it out. You could retire on the money you’d make) And finally, the apartment above me houses two families: a woman (Mary), husband and recently-toddling-in-cowboy-boots one year old, and her pregnant sister and her husband.
Overall I haven’t minded the people who live above me because they’re as quiet as they can be with half a dozen people living in a two bedroom apartment that is the same size as my one bedroom apartment. We pretty much leave each other alone unless, like today, we happen to be coming or going at the same time.
Now you have all of the information you need to understand the rest of this story. It is not lost on me that if I were telling this story in person, you would have wondered what you were going to cook for dinner during those last two paragraphs.
Mary stopped me and the following conversation ensued:
“Did you hear the furnace?” Mary asked.
“I did. I texted Nolan (landlord) about it.” (Mary’s furnace does weird things. It’s so old that sometimes when it’s out of water, it sounds like something is about to go off in the basement and cause the whole place to implode. If you’re unlucky enough to be downstairs when it’s doing this, you’ll note that it also tries to herky jerky across the cement floor but is tethered to the wall by random pipes.)
“Yes, he came and fixed it. It scared me!”
“It scared me the first time too! I was pretty sure that the whole place was going down. I don’t even use my gas heat. Too expensive.” I said.
*Note: At this point I could write the entire portion of our conversation about heaters and heat alternatives, but it was less than interesting and I care enough about you to spare you from it. You’re welcome.
We covered several more topics-the evicted neighbors (I played dumb as if I thought they were gone but wasn’t sure. ) She confirmed that they were gone. I feign shock. Then she begins to tell me things that made me sad.
Remember the kids that I wrote about earlier? I mentioned them in a blog called “The Village” To sum it up, I had two neighbor kids who annoyed the bajoobies out of me by making Yadi bark on purpose, staring at me through my screen door and generally just being obnoxious kids. I’m not a huge fan of children to begin with (save for my niece and nephew who are awesome. Shout out, O and T! and a few kids who are well behaved) but these brats went above and beyond when it came to their annoy-your-neighbor call of duty. After they got evicted, they obviously had to go somewhere. Mary told me that they were about to get evicted again, for the very same reasons they got evicted here-the trash, the kids and the parties.
“Remember when we had that tornado?” Mary asked.
“I do. It was New Year’s Eve of last year but I wasn’t here. I was in the country.”
“Well that was when my husband was working nights and I was home with my baby and he called and told me to go to the basement because the sirens were going off so I grabbed my kid and we went to the basement. When the sirens stopped we went back upstairs and as soon as I got in, there was a knock at my door. And it was those kids. They were standing there with wet towels wrapped around them, begging to stay at my house. Their mom left them there alone that night and went out dancing at the club.”
Keep in mind that these kids were both under eight years old. Annoying? Yes. Capable of being left alone all night while mommy goes out partying? NO.
Mary continued, “And, you know that day you were banging on the ceiling?”
BUSTED. Yes, a few times when it has sounded like a herd of wildebeasts stampeding across my ceiling, I have been known to take a broom handle and bash the crap out of my ceiling.
I waited to hear her out before I admitted my guilt although I’m sure my face showed it. I have absolutely no poker face. Puh puh puh pokerface puh puh pokerface…Dang it. Stupid Lady GagGag.
“Well I was so embarrassed because that was that little boy. You know that little boy that used to live over there? His mom asked me to babysit when she went to work and he would not listen! I kept telling him to stop running and jumping and he just kept going. He’s wild!” Mary explained.
“Yes, I was very frustrated at that because the mirrors on my wall were threatening to fall off,” I replied.
“I’m so sorry. He’s just wild! He doesn’t listen!”
“I knew it wasn’t you or your kid. I mean, I can hear your kid toddling around but I also know that he’s learning to walk,” (even though the noise bugs me I realize I can’t get mad about a child taking his first steps. I can however get very angry at a little spaz that causes one of my IKEA mirrors to come crashing to the floor.)
Mary spoke some more about what a wild kid he was and that she was glad that they were gone and then the topic changed again. And this was when the angels chimed in.
“You know, my sister is pregnant? And with my son getting older, he needs a room? So we are trying to buy a house.” CUE HALLELUJAH CHORUS.
“Oh,” I say, trying to conceal my sheer delight at the prospect of a little more quiet in my house.
“We don’t have enough room and we want to live closer to my mom. She lives by the airport.”
“Oh,” I repeat, trying so hard to not show the true emotion that is bubbling up inside me.
We talked a little more about the housing situation and I’m sure we covered other topics but by this time my mind had started to imagine some nice quiet nun moving in upstairs and how the only noises I’d really have to deal with would be the little rosary beads clicking against one another.
To be honest I didn’t hear much more that she said after the “we are moving” exchange. Between the rosary beads and the hallelujah chorus being sung by the angels in my head, I was distracted. But since then I have been filled with genuine “Love Your Neighbor” feelings.
And by genuine, I mean these feelings totally depend on them leaving forever.
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