07 February, 2006

Block party

After a couple of months absence, it appears that my noisy neighbour upstairs is back. The past few nights have witnessed the return of those tell-tale signs: the TV on well past midnight, the resolute repetitive thud of a walking frame on the floor, the endless procession of relatives passing through at all hours...

As such I'm back to my tried and tested strategy of sleeping with my radio tuned to a fuzz of static, which I've trained to convince myself is actually pouring rain outside my window.

Again and again I ask myself: how can an eightysomething wreak such havoc? I actually had to confront her just before Christmas, when I had a card through the door from the postman telling me he'd left a parcel upstairs. Steeling myself for my first face-to-face audience with this Grand Dame of Noise Pollution, I rang the bell and after waiting an age could hear someone shuffling towards me. A million or so locks and bolts then had to be undone before the door finally swung open to reveal...well, it was hard to take in. Sure, she was fairly bent and withered, but her hair was festooned with dozens of curlers, she was wearing what looked like a 1920s evening gown, and attached to her walking frame was to all intents and purposes a giant shopping basket populated with clutches of powders, potions, smelling salts, electrical appliances, magazines, crisp wrappers and probably a lot more had I had the time or inclination to investigate further.

As I left having retrieved my parcel as swiftly but politely as possible, I rued how I'd let such a singular individual become such a bizarre hate figure, and reflected on just why she wanted to cart a load of crisp wrappers around with her as opposed to placing them in some kind of refuse facility. Like a rubbish bin, for instance.

Within a day or so she'd promptly buggered off, handing me some wonderfully peaceful nights and equally noise-free weekends. Until now. I'm guessing she's either back from a spell in hospital, or she's just returned from a luxury cruise in somewhere like the Aegean. Her presence also means my small block of apartments is almost back to full capacity. So by way of a salute to my neighbours, with whom I have exchanged occasional pleasantries through Venetian blinds for the last three years, here's an honour roll:

Flat 1: A gay businessman who once put a Christmas card through my letterbox wishing me "a F.A.B. time".
2: Me.
3: A single man in his 60s who's lived here for 30 years.
4: The lecherous bewigged pensionable driving instructor.
5: Mrs Noise.
6: A woman whose boyfriend turns up every week in a different sports car.
7: A surprisingly mobile old woman called Doris who I once found sitting on the stairwell chatting to pigeon.
8: An ordinary bloke. The closest I have to a "friend" in this block.
9: A 70 year-old crossdresser with a wooden leg. I haven't seen him for months. I think he's dead.


Post a Comment

<< Home