I stumbled across a Tweet yesterday complaining about a problem that I think we’ve all had at one time or another.
But sometimes that’s not possible. Like when you live in an apartment or condo, and the mailboxes are locked. When my husband and I lived in our old condo, we didn’t know anybody’s names, so we made up our own names for everyone. Let me introduce them:
The Guy: I know, it’s not a very inspired name. But whenever one of us referred to “the guy,” the other immediately knew who that was. His original name was “The Guy With the Kids,” but that took too long. The guy was a dick and his kids were awful. They thundered up and down the stairs, got gum in the communal dryers, and peeked in our windows. Once, we busted one of the kids and he tried to give us shit for it. We won that fight.
Suzie: Suzie was a college girl who lived directly upstairs from us. She would practice the two guitar chords she knew all day, and pace back and forth from the living room to the kitchen. I think she was getting ice cream to console herself for being such a shitty guitar player. She also had very loud “sleepovers” on Saturdays, with many different “friends.” We once banged on the ceiling when she and a friend added a loud buzzing sound to their normal routine. He came downstairs in pajamas to yell at us, and left very embarrassed, mumbling something about an electric massager.
The Spinsters: Once Suzie’s school year ended, she was replaced by the best neighbors ever, two middle-aged sisters who wore slippers all the time and never spoke. I don’t think they even owned a TV. It was great. They only lasted a year.
The Zombie: The Spinsters were replaced by a zombie. We know he was a zombie because every night when he lurched through the door, his body parts would start falling off. Here’s a written interpretation of his routine: Creeeeeak… SLAM. Scraaaaape, STOMP. Scraaaaape, STOMP. Scraaaaape, STOMP. BOOM!!! Rollrollrollroll. BOOMrollrollroll. Something like that. We briefly entertained the notion that he was an overweight bowling ball salesman, but we were too terrified to investigate. We moved out for about a year and rented our unit out. A few days after we moved, my husband went back to get the place ready for our tenants and saw a moving truck and other signs that the zombie was leaving. Nice timing.
The Goths: When we moved back in, the unit was still empty. Score! A couple weeks later, a young goth couple moved in. What the hell! They weren’t exactly goth, though, not really. It seemed like they were just into whatever pissed off their parents. For example, the young gentleman’s car bore stickers advertising his love for the Misfits, Marilyn Manson and Kiss. Um, makeup is not a genre of music. These kids would watch TV on full volume and smoke pot all day. If we banged on the ceiling, they banged right back. We had to call the cops on them numerous times. Oh, did I mention that we had a baby by then? So that was fun. They also had really loud fights, so loud that we could make out every word. Those were pretty hilarious. Eventually, they broke up and one of them moved out, so it got a lot more pleasant.
We moved out soon after, and with a kid, it’s a lot easier to meet people. So we did know most of our neighbors at the next place. The only one I had to name was “Pendeja,” who got her name by calling me that. Why am I a pendeja? Because she would come home drunk at 10 o’clock at night to drop her preschoolers off with their father so she could go back out and party some more, and I took exception with her blasting gangsta rap from her running car at top volume (beneath my sleeping child’s window) during that process. I know, I know. Huge pendeja.
Now, we finally live in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors. We’ve only had to name one. We moved in during a huge snowstorm, and my husband was outside shoveling at the same time as the woman next door. She was wearing a ski mask. Yes, a ski mask. For my readers in warm-weather climates, let me assure you, this is not the norm. So when introductions were made, she was a little muffled. My husband told me he thought she said her name was Tina, but he couldn’t be sure. So of course, we named her Tina Mutant Ninja Turtle.
What do you call your neighbors?