Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Better Living Through Absurdity

Today’s Topic: So You Think You Can Intimidate Me?!

*Warning: This post contains a gratuitous use of outdated slang, obscure patois and random insults that will likely confuse more than outrage…proceed with caution!

So I have this neighbor –she lives in the building next to ours. Now I’d draw you a diagram to illustrate the way our buildings are sort of connected but I can’t so I’ll just say that the back part of their building is about ten feet away from the back part of our building, though we have this small concrete gangway path that our porches lead down to and it goes out to the alley. Now this woman –as I said, she is in the OTHER building –and simply put, she’s a cunt. Ever since she moved in, she has this habit of screaming at anyone who happens to be out on their porch or on the gangway, if they are making any noise at all. A lot of people will go outside to smoke or they’ll have a quiet conversation or they’ll barbecue or any number of other things that normally occur on back porches.
Apparently, she doesn’t feel that socialization and/or conversation should be allowed to occur past the hour of 9pm on any given day of the week. She decides to handle the problem with an extremely high dose of bitchiness. The usual routine is she’ll open up her back window and tell the person in a highly irritated voice “Would you shut up, there are people trying to sleep back here.” If her wishes are not immediately acceded to, she’ll then follow it up with, “Shut the fuck up! My daughter is trying to sleep!” in this screeching tone that echoes down into the alley. If the people still don’t cease and desist she continues to tell them to shut the fuck up, that her daughter is trying to sleep and that people need to go inside.
Now –I live there. I know how much you can hear from apartment to apartment –and yes, sometimes it can be a bit irritating but really, it’s part and parcel of apartment and big city living. And given that our building has mostly younger people in it, there’s going to be some socializing going on. There’s going to be couples having sex. There’s going to be arguments, perhaps an overloud cell phone conversation, music drifting in and out of windows –things of that nature. To my way of thinking, provided none of those things are gratuitous, you just kind of live and let live. Most people try to be considerate –and exceptions are of course made for holidays and weekends as far as how late these activities go on. My thing has always been just let me know if you’re going to be having a shindig so I’m not caught unprepared –and minus the one inconsiderate fuck that got kicked out of the building –everyone has been pretty awesome about it. Yeah, I still have the chick who practices opera and the one girl who sounds like a cat being tortured while having sex –but those things are so laughably bad that I don’t ever say anything. Neither does anyone else…though of course we snicker about it in the hallways.
So fast forward to the other night. It was really late –like 4am –I hadn’t been able to sleep but I was getting settled into bed and suddenly I started hearing this strange noise. It was kind of a squawking whine and intermittent at first, though finally it became constant –and my cats were all moving towards the kitchen windows which look out on the gangway. I got up and went over, open the screen and stuck my head and shoulders out. On the ground I noticed a wee baby raccoon going around in circles. I called down to the poor thing and chittered at it. My upstairs neighbor Jory heard me and he came to his kitchen window directly above mine and called down softly to me. We both wondered what the little guy was doing and he said that he had heard him every morning for the past week so either he had lost his mom or he was sick. Apparently if you see them out in the daytime, it’s generally a sign that they have rabies or some other disease. And of course we both felt terrible. So we’re very softly talking to one another suddenly, this loud shriek cuts across our conversation. “Would you shut the fuck up and go inside?” and of course both Jory and I say in unison, “We are.” This prompts further outrage and she yells at us to stop talking immediately because her daughter is trying to sleep. I’m trying not to laugh but Jory very calmly says, “You need to close your window and don’t ever talk to us like that again. You’re the only one making noise.” She screams “Shut the fuck up” once more and then retreats into her den of evil.
We just kind of snicker and in a louder, totally conversational tone of voice Jory says to me, “You know one night you were taking a shower and you were listening to music and she yelled at you for an hour and you couldn’t hear her and we just laughed.” I nearly choked, trying not to bust up and I said, “Oh I heard her –I just chose to ignore her.” We of course know she’s listening now, and we don’t care. We continue our conversation and then we both head in for sleep. The wee raccoon is still squawking but there’s nothing we can do so we just have to leave it.
The following day, she does it again. Only this time, she wakes me up out of a sound sleep, screaming at these two people who were apparently disturbing her –even though I couldn’t hear so much as a murmur of conversation. I decided that I had had more than enough. I got out of bed, went over to the window and pushed up the screen and stuck my head out…and let loose a stream of invective the likes of which that building had never heard. It goes something like the following:
Me: Excuse me!
Woman: What?!
Me: Look you vitriolic, pestilential harpy –I am sick and tired of being woken up by your ceaseless nagging.
Woman: I have…
Me: Shut your cakehole, you fishwife!
Me: You’re going to listen to what I have to say, you misbegotten muck snipe spawn of a tubercular trollop or by all that’s holy I’m going to make it a point to set my alarm every night for 3:47am and I’m going to wake you up by banging a big stainless steel pot and playing polka music while reciting very bad poetry.
Woman: *Gasps a little*
Me: First of all, I live here. I can hear pretty much everything that goes on that makes a sound above a whisper. I can hear people piss, shit, puke, fuck, fight, talk, I can identify the music they’re listening to, the movies they watch and what sporting events happen to be on television. Hell I even know what food they’re ordering sometimes. It’s part of living in an apartment building –it’s part of living in a big city. People are close by you and there’s not a lot of privacy –if you don’t like this, then bugger off to the suburbs.
Second! If you insist upon spewing such a pointless amount of puckering, you glocky haybag, you could do us all a favor and inject a bit of variety into it. Nobody likes a lazy meddler, and you seem to think that hurling the same three repetitive sentences at us will be enough to send us running for cover. In actuality, you’re merely proving that you lack imagination, as well as restraint and tact. You might want to think about that…
Third! As I mentioned previously, it is YOU who wake people up when you scream at them for having a whispered conversation or for playing music within their own homes. If anyone has woken up your daughter it’s YOU madam, with your excessive nattering and cursing –and YOU’RE going to be the reason she’s in therapy in a few years and probably with a fondness for a nip! You might want to consider how your ill-mannered verbiage is affecting her –you know, kids have run away for less! And might I also point out that you don’t seem to bother screaming at people who are having very loud intercourse or a loud verbal dispute –because god forbid you interrupt carnal rutting or a domestic disagreement –instead you save your chastisement up for those people enjoying a quieter moment and generally minding their P’s and Q’s.
And finally, Madam Shrew, consider this: I know something of the law and I know that we have every right to talk on our porches, listen to music and generally live our lives in OUR building provided we are not being unduly disruptive –and considering that no one in OUR building has filed a complaint against any of the tenants, an officer of the law is going to find it hard to believe that they were doing anything all that terrible. And also consider this - you should be grateful that conversation and socialization are all that occur –no one is dealing drugs, getting into physical fights, breaking bottles, or generally being delinquent and dangerous. But…all of that aside –we can call the law on YOU for harassment –and don’t think for one second that we won’t if your cunty blathering persists! Goodnight!
Suddenly I hear a mix of snickering, giggling and clapping. Then the sound of a window being slammed down.
Three nights and counting…nary a peep.

*buffs nails*


Anonymous said...


Threatening anyone with the potential for polka pretty much guarantees radio silence.

Lioux said...


What are we.

Living in the Seventies?!

You kids and your outdated slang...


Adam Barnick said...

The current hip term is vajayjay, Lioux!

'Cunty blathering'- isn't that a town in Ireland?