Sunday, February 11, 2007

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

OK, so lately I've used this blog as a personal soapbox from which I shout my apartment grievances like the disgruntled city-dweller that I am.

And while it's true this is easily my worst domestic experience ever, the fact remains that various oddities and circumstances truly do follow me wherever I go. I've spent much of my life trying to determine if I'm persistently doing something wrong that I could change in future life experiences.

But no matter what I do or where I go... strange stuff just keeps happening.

Or to quote my pediatrician when I broke both of my arms at the same time, the same year I broke a foot, a toe and a finger: "No, your daughter doesn't have leukemia or bone cancer. She just happens to often be at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Or to paraphrase a friend in a recent e-mail: "I don't think it's you. But I think maybe you drove a busload of nuns off a cliff in a previous life."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

And in light of my recent gripes and complaints, I thought I'd revisit some of my other living arrangements... if only for a point of comparison. Or, barring that... to give the populi yet another reason to laugh at (and/or 'with') me.

I had four roomates at my first abode, and the four of us moved together about six times in a matter of 10 years. Two of the four were often physically ("Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself!") and verbally ("You're rubber and I'm glue...!") abusive. The other two frequently bossed me around, even limiting the amount of time I could watch television. They refused to let me stay out with friends past 10 p.m., even on weekends and they NEVER let me ride my bike alone. For blogging purposes, let's call these people "Mom" and "Dad."

Determined to break free from these controlling roomies, thereby exerting my own idenity over their authority, I moved into an apartment at the ripe age of 19. While I was moving in, a middle-aged male who lived down the hall hung out in my kitchen, drinking Coors light (which he'd spilled all over his dirty white t-shirt) and repeatedly saying, through a drunken slur, "My name is John, and I would never hurt your daughter" to my parents. Three months later a heavy rain hit, and that basement apartment flooded. I was forced to relocate to another unit in the same building. I was offered no reparations for the hassle.

Disillusioned by the previous incident, I soon relocated to a quiet, full-sized home in the country, where I was to have a single roommate (the "stop hitting yourself!" boy referenced above). But said boy took on a live-in girlfriend (later his wife and — still later — his ex). Three people, with rent being split just two ways. This struck me as being a terrible injustice, and my complaints went unheeded. So I moved.

At my new place, a guy in his late 20s/early 30s eventually moved in across the way. He had serious emotional and psychological problems, and his mother even warned me of this a day or two after she helped him move in. He listened to acid metal which — luckily — I couldn't hear once I walked into my own place. He was always depressed, and often would come knocking on my apartment door, drunk, well after midnight. He just "wanted to talk," but sometimes his mannerisms made me quite uncomfortable.

My next move was a bit more extreme, shall we say. I paid a small fortune to rent a nice, secure place with a view. I loved it: the laundry room was across the hall, and I couldn't hear my neighbors. We were all fairly private, but friendly when we'd see each other. Everything was near perfect (rent aside) until an ex-boyfriend took to standing outside of my door, knocking for hours on end, while simultaneously using his cell-phone to call my home phone. This continued, off and on, for months.

So I moved.

Right back in with "Mom" and "Dad." I felt like quite the nomad by this point, and I hadn't the slightest idea where I'd be off to next. And though I stayed there for much longer than expected, I never unpacked. Not even my clothes.

The next place wasn't too bad. Unless, of course, you consider it to be a "bad thing" when you come in from playing tennis only to notice a beam of sunlight shining out of your door, where someone had chiseled away wood around the lock in an attempt to get in. Or unless you consider it to be a bad thing when the one of the mother's of your neighbors children (he had several) knocks on your door in a panic trying to locate her baby's daddy. But, honestly, other than these two incidents... some weirdness at the gym... and a neighbor who had a fetish with smearing, um, "nose treasure" all over the elevator panel... this place was OK.

But, still, I thought I could do better. Though it was soundproof, many of the neighbors were a tad skeevy, and there were rumors of a prostituion ring being hosted in-house (I didn't wholly doubt the rumors, either).

So I moved. And as for my next place... Well... If you've been reading this blog, you know that what happens next.


XOXO said...

Oh Man! I forgot about some of those! You really haven't had the best luck.

Handful Of Hell said...

I really like that little private studio with a view where you don't get to hear your neighbours and where the laundry is across the hall. Is it still up for grabs? :p

XOXO said...

I think the door knocker is...

Winter said...

My God Woman! I want to send you home baked cookies ater reading this one. It was very funny though, and for laughing I am ashamed..

Glencross said...

I don't think I've ever heard such a tale of serial domicilic disaster! I had a flat in Manchester once that shared a heating system with next door - and they had the controls and some very strange ideas about when the heating should some come on. They were a lesbian couple and made the most unbelievable racket when they were having sex - it would go on for hours too.

I'm afraid your temperature woes are difficult for me to comprehend as we use Centigrade in the UK - well, actually people use Fahrenheit in the summer because it sounds hotter, then switch to Centigrade in the winter.... it's pathetic isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. About the worst neighbor story I had was the stoner living across the hall who would knock on the door at night asking for "An egg and half a cup of milk so I can make pancakes". That place had sewer problems so we ended up moving out early. About a year later there was a double homocie in the complex. A crystal meth ring will do that.

Let's hope your karma is better at the next place.


thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Winter: What kind of cookies? So long as they're not oatmeal raisin... I'll take them.