I was so very blessed to live in a wonderful subdivision on an amazing street for nearly 11 years. My neighbors were friendly, always there to help, and became family as I watched their kids grow into amazing and respectful young adults. Never did I appreciate this fact more than I do right now. From the time I moved into my apartment back in the middle of August, I was pleasantly surprised with how quiet the other tenants seemed to be. There was no loud music or noises coming from those around me. I of course showed them the same respect. It was pretty nice. That continued for a while until just recently. I keep thinking of the crotchety old man on Friends who lived below Monica & Rachel, Mr. Heckles, as I am now struggling not to be “that” neighbor.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that apartment living is NOTHING like owning a home, but being respectful of those around you should not be something reserved only to those who pay a mortgage. I was very used to kids playing outside over the years as our street and neighborhood was bursting at the seams with them. I’d see them riding their bikes or playing basketball, swimming at the community pool, and even had several young entrepreneurs selling rocks, lemonade, or “books you write yourself”. (That last one was BRILLIANT!!) I never felt the need to get on to my neighbor’s kids for their behavior as their parents were always very involved in their kids’ lives. The reality is that my neighborhood family was the exception and not the rule. Case in point – after trying to relax in my apartment on Friday evening, I was appalled at the apathy of some of the other tenants who allowed their kids to scream all throughout the building disturbing anyone who might be home. This went on for at least an hour or two before I got fed up. I put on my Ms. Heckles face and stepped outside as they were definitely making excessive noise. I walked to the stairs leading down from my second floor apartment to find a young boy and girl having a conversation on said stairs at a decibel level COMPLETELY inappropriate considering they were standing about two feet from each other. I asked them very politely if they could please keep the noise down as their voices echoed through the whole building. From that point on the noise from these kids ceased almost completely…at least until Sunday. I kept wondering where their parents were and why they would let them be this annoying to EVERYONE around them. This reminded me of the family who lived diagonally behind my home who let their dogs bark excessively. Did they not hear the dogs barking?!? Hell, I could hear them on the other side of my WELL-INSULATED house!! It goes to show you that some people just don’t want to be bothered.
Now unfortunately the banshee children episode was not the first time Ms. Heckles made an appearance last week. Last Wednesday after returning home following a full day’s work plus a much-needed haircut, I was ready for some R&R. It was at that point that my upstairs neighbor decided it would be a good time to see how well their floor would hold up to what sounded like some Riverdancing. I put up with it as long as I could (several hours), but considering I tread very carefully so as not to disturb my downstairs neighbors (who I actually think moved out earlier this month), I was not about to let this get out of hand. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say, but I knew pissing off my upstairs neighbor was probably not a good idea either. Ms. Heckles – with her Robyn mask on – headed upstairs to find out what the hell was causing such a ruckus. I knocked on the door and with a smile on my face introduced myself, explained that I lived below them, and said that I just wanted to make sure that everyone was okay. Turns out that my neighbor had a friend visiting who brought her two-year-old with her. He was running off all his energy after having flown in that afternoon. They apologized and said they’d try to keep it down and then said that they didn’t think anyone lived below them. REALLY?!? You live on the third floor! ASSUME SOMEONE LIVES BELOW YOU!!! I exchanged a few more pleasantries and then headed back down to my “mush pot” apartment. There’s nothing like being stuck in the middle. As much as I’d like to say the toddler tiptoed through the tulips from there on, we all know toddlers don’t do that. I understand that and did my best to deal with the temporary nuisance. I do know however that it was not the toddler who was, from what it sounded like, walking on his heels or shifting heavy furniture around the rest of that week and this weekend.
I guess that over the last few days I’ve realized that I have a very big goal which is to somehow figure out a way to move into a house by the time my lease is up next year…a one-story house to be exact. I now get the biggest kick out of getting to work and being able to walk around the office in my heels without worrying about disturbing someone below me. I guess I’m just not cut out to be this adjacent to someone I don’t know and who couldn’t care less whether I exist or not. I miss my old neighbors every day and long for the day when I am again surrounded by people of their caliber as they are truly a rare gem.