Thursday, February 6, 2014

I fought the law and the law was pretty reasonable

"This is not what I was expecting," said one of policemen standing in my apartment.

What he was expecting was a meth lab. Or a drum set. Or fifteen rhinoceroses. Or anything, anything at all, that might make sufficient noise to bother a neighbor enough to call the police.

What the two fully uniformed, armed officers found was me, Ivy and Ollie going about our day.

So far that day had included breakfast, my working, and Ivy playing with some left over birthday balloons, one of which popped. The incident was traumatic for two minutes. Ivy cried. Ollie barked. We all settled down over some graham crackers and Finding Nemo.

But I guess our neighbor, Edith, was far more shook up about the loud, singular noise than we were, decided to call 911, and send the aforementioned authorities to our door.

So there we stood. Me, holding back tears, the officers, looking around in confusion, one of them patting Ollie's head.

I explained that this had happened before. I explained that the Home Owners' Association ignores Edith's weekly letters of complaint about us. I explained that the wall we share with Edith is next to the kitchen and she can probably hear our cupboards open, and our dishwasher run and our knives chop. I explained that we'll be moving in three months. 

The two men listened. They nodded their heads sympathetically. They said that no one should expect a two year old to be silent and that hearing your neighbors is just a part of apartment living. They suggested I call city mediation, or maybe just endure for the next three months because ultimately it's probably just not worth the hassle.

I thanked them and they left. Then I heard them knock on Edith's door. I tried to listen to their conversation for a minute (yes, our walls are that thin), but Ivy had a pediatrician appointment so we had to leave. 

I assume the police told Edith that a toddler and a dog live next door. I assume they mentioned the city mediation. I assume they reminded her that hearing neighbors is just a part of apartment living. I know for sure they told her that we'd be moving soon.

I know this because later that day while I was checking the mail a woman I have never met before said to me, "Hey, I heard you're moving." 

Here's the thing about where we live: It's lovely. We have a great two bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood near walking trails and two parks. We pay very little rent for the amount of space we have, and the buildings are fairly new and appliances rarely break. But, our neighbors are primarily single, older women, which is fine, except we definitely don't fit in. The majority of these ladies are nice, and say hello when our paths cross, but no one knows our names, no one knows our story, and no one, until a few days ago, knew we were moving. Now, however, everyone knows, which leads me to believe that we've been a subject of discussion for some time now.

Our history with Edith is long and sordid. You can read about it here and here and here and here and here.  It seems that from that very first note three years ago, she's been besmirching our reputation within community. And since bird of a feather flock together, we never had a fighting chance in winning over the geriatric residents.

The day after my run-in with the fuzz, I saw Edith outside in her bathroom headed toward the building next to ours. She was probably on her way to spread the good news about the annoying balloon-popping family's soon departure. I wondered if I should follow her and offer some correct information to those she might be communicating with. Try and reveal her lies. Win them over with some baked goods, perhaps. 

But in a few more months Edith will have new neighbors to hate and we will soon be forgotten, nuisances of the past. So whatever.


  1. Oh man. I'm glad you get to leave soon but I wanted you to have pleasure of flipping her off in your rear view mirror as you cruise off into the sunset. Or schedule of movers to come during her bingo hour.


    1. It's not too late! I can still do all of those things.

  2. If we staged the new neighbor, this could make a great reality show!! Netflix it. I would watch it for sure.

  3. We had a neighbor like that once and ended up moving too. The police weren't able to do much either, our word against his word. It is not fun to feel like you have to tip toe around in your own home. My heart goes out to you, if you need a place to come and play come on over you will fit right in over here. Bring a big bag of balloon and we will pop them all!

    1. It's so nice to know you can sympathize. Thank you

  4. This would make great fiction. The fact that is not is kind of horrifying. I'm so sorry! I can't imagine what Edith would do if she lived next to us. Probably "accidentally" torch our house.


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