and I are "liars,"
according to Upstairs Neighbor Guy.
made up all that
stuff about noise and dysfunction and interrupted sleep, just to get
him in trouble with building management. What we really want, of
course, is for him to be evicted, no doubt so we can steal his
luxurious second-floor apartment. (Which, he is convinced, we are
sneaking into during the day ... no doubt to measure for the new
carpeting and the jacuzzi we'll have installed, as soon as we finish
bumping him off.)
doesn't even own a radio, he
the ones who make all the noise around here.
didn't actually get a
chance to read his rebuttal letter. When our nice little landlady
stopped by to show it to us, after work, I was in the bathroom busily
sandblasting four layers of 'line eradicator' and 'shadow concealer'
from my face. (It's going to take more than one decent night's sleep
and $175 worth of cosmetics to get rid of the dark circles under these
eyes, I'm afraid.) By the time I emerged, scrubbed and rosy as a summer
potato, she was already gone. But David read the letter. He says it
looked like it was written on the back of a pizza menu: that it was the
weird, wobbly handscribble of the extremely old and/or the seriously
as well that you didn't read it," he tells me gently. "It would have
raised your blood pressure all over again."
that's the case, then of
course he's probably right. I don't need to get all wound up again. The
whole point of going to our landlady and registering a formal complaint
in the first place -- besides the sheer emotional itch-relief of TATTLING
on somebody who has been making your life absolutely miserable for
weeks and weeks -- was to try and dial my blood pressure back down to
it still pisses me
off to hear him characterize US as the noisy neighbors.
not perfect. I'll
admit it. I am inordinately fond of my Celtic harps and my Alice
in Chains on
Sunday afternoons, especially when David is out of the apartment and
I'm enjoying some precious hard-earned Alone Time. But 99.999% of the
time, David and I are model tenants. Our checks don't bounce. Our
appliances don't explode. (At least not on purpose.) Our
recyclables are never mixed in with our non-recyclables. The Alameda
Police Department has never had to show up at our door and drag either
one of us off in handcuffs, kicking and screaming. More to the point,
we don't go out of our way to disturb our fellow tenants. Quite the
opposite. We get up in the morning and quietly drink our Italian Dark
Roast ... listen to the weather puppets on TV ... conduct our various
individual grooming rituals ... all in relative (I would call it
"intimate") silence. Then we go away for ten hours. In the evening,
there is a modest amount of household noise before bedtime: dishes
clanking in the sink, dinner preparations, conversation, phones
ringing, televisions jabbering in the background. Sometimes David plays
his guitar. Sometimes I run the vacuum cleaner around our
postage-stamp-sized living room.
distinction to be
made here, though -- and it is a critical distinction, I believe -- is
that we're not doing any of this stuff at three fudking thirty
in the morning.
so, I feel like
we've just been put on notice.
realize," David says, "that we're
really going to have to watch the noise level from now on, right?" And
he glances meaningfully at our living room ceiling.
darn, I'm tempted to say.
No more primal scream therapy? No more parakeets? No more rollerblading
in the bathroom, or bungee-jumping off the top of the refrigerator, or
getting drunk and throwing plates of spaghetti at each other?
know," I sigh. "I'll
I mean it. All
sarcasm aside, I really will
be careful ... for the next little while, anyway. I know that Upstairs
Neighbor Guy is going to be monitoring us, like an Assistant Vice
Principal casing the back parking lot, hoping to catch us in the act of
playing a Translator record one fraction of a decibel too loud ...
leaving the TV on while we run to the store for milk ... accidentally
setting off the smoke alarm when we're toasting sourdough for
bruschetta. In fact, he'll probably spend the entire weekend laying in
the middle of his living room, with his ear pressed against the floor,
listening to absolutely everything we say or do: every conversation,
every giggle, every whisper, every moan.
is why I think
maybe we should go for that *Triple Yahtzee* on Saturday night. Why not
REALLY give the old nutjob something to listen to?
to throw a rock?