Monday, October 25, 2010


I'm told it used to be you had to deal with your neighbors. You had to talk with them. You had to know their names. Maybe you brought them a basket with some fruits and cheeses in it. Maybe you shook their hands and introduced your children. Maybe you established certain standards of quality for lawn care.

Now a neighbor is either a silent mystery or a loud entertainment. (We prefer mysteries, in this case, to entertainments.) The neighbors on our left had a truck in their space that brought a breathing machine of some sort. We didn't see it arrive or leave, only saw it idle in the space, two orange cones at the front end for no obvious reason, a notice that we shouldn't smoke within such-and-such distance if we wanted to keep our nipples on straight. Someone in that apartment needs help to breathe. We also see cleaning supplies on their porch sometimes. We also, sometimes, hear the low end of the sound of a movie they're watching.

The neighbors on our right seem to be drug dealers but we'll never get proof. They never leave long enough to go to a job but they are constantly coming and going at high speeds. They are always screaming and fighting, and sometimes screaming and seeming to fight though they are in fact getting along. They seem to have a game where the husband pretends to assault the wife in order to taunt their dog, Hank. Only he is not the husband: we learned that once when Cynthia, who seemed to be the wife but has many gentleman callers (who all seem to come by our apartment first) insisted loudly that she was NOT his wife and he was NOT her husband. I know their names not because they've introduced themselves but because they are so loud. I do not know the one who seemed to be the husband's name was because no one shouts as loud as he does and he does not say his own name. He also sings, tunelessly, about their dog. Imagine Ernest dying of alcohol poisoning. I know how high their electric bill is. (It's pretty high, more than $200 dollars, is it energy-intensive to cook meth?) One time, when my family was visiting, they pulled into our second parking spot at high speed, nearly hitting my brothers, and they got out, and the man was wearing only his boxer briefs. They were laughing.

One time he was fist-fighting his brother in front of our door. We called the cops, who didn't actually listen to Tracy's description of what was happening, and who never came.

I think a lot of writers would get stories out of these people but I haven't got the energy. I already live with them.

1 comment:

  1. I actually get kind of pissed when people tell us to make stories out of them. They're so awful and inconsistent I can't imagine how they wouldn't annoy a reader as much as they annoy me.