"Love your neighbor, but build fences." -Something my dad would always say
We live in a great house in a great neighborhood with great neighbors. It took us ten years, but we’ve finally got it right. We haven’t always had bad neighbors. Actually, I think we were the bad neighbors for the eight years in our first home. We were always friendly, but never interactive. Our cats were always pooping in the neighbors’ mulch and we’d pretend we didn’t notice. We kept to ourselves mainly because we were a newlywed couple, while they were families with 2 – 3 kids. I’m sure we could have been more involved, but we just had other things to do.
When we lived in an apartment during those first two frosting years, we did not have neighbors, we had “people downstairs.” Then we moved to a quad of duplex apartments and we had “the freaks next door.”
The freaks next door moved in over a week long period, one rusted vanload at a time. At 6:00am on Saturday, we were made aware that their alarm clock was moved in. It kept on its electronic droning through the paper thin walls for three hours. Obviously they had plugged it in, set it and they had not been there to turn it off. Finally, it stopped ringing. We assumed that it automatically turned off after a certain amount of time and we tried to snatch a few more minutes of sleep. But the alarm started sounding again six minutes later. Then it went silent. Then we heard voices. The neighbors had slept through their own alarm for three hours and one snooze. An alarm so freaking loud that it woke us up.
And this was not the last time.
Every morning their alarm clock would sound at 6:00am and would not get turned off for 2 – 3 hours. We were usually out the door on the way to work with their alarm still ringing. We tried pounding on the wall, but they could not or would not hear the pounding over the alarm.
I made an interesting connection the day I came home and found a flier on the door handle. It was for a home cleaning service. I looked up from the flier and saw that the neighbor’s rusty van was full of cleaning supplies. I took a closer look inside the van and saw piles of the fliers in the dirty van. (A dirty cleaning van?) I formulated a plan and took the flier upstairs and into the bedroom.
The next morning at 6:00am their alarm sounded. I grabber the flier and the phone and called the number after dialing *67 (selective call blocking.) The phone next door began to ring. The alarm turned off and a sleepy voice answered the phone. I hung up and we went back to sleep.
I did this EVERY morning for a week. On one occasion, I had to call twice when they reset the alarm. They had to be going crazy. Fortunately they were not smart enough to realize what was happening. Unfortunately, I was too dumb to remember to hit *67 one morning and they called me back.
“Who is this? Why do you keep calling?”
(Pissed off but sheepish) “Um…you aren’t turning your alarm off in the morning for hours at a time. “
“We can hear your alarm through the wall!”
“Well, you could of just told us.”
And she was right. We could have told them, but we did not want any interaction with these people. It wasn’t just the dirty cleaning van or the alarm or the cigarette smoke that permeated the wall. It was also the sex.
Hours of sex. It seemed like hours and was actually only 40 minutes, but their bed squeaked with every thrust, she was very orgasmic and when he finally came (thank God) he’s let out a disappointing, one second grunt that Miss Sally and I still make fun of to this day. You’d think after all that banging that he would scream out for 30 seconds. But instead, “Unngh.”
We ended up moving our bedroom to the smaller, second bedroom. All our weekend guests then got to wake up at six in the morning after not being able to fall asleep for 40 minutes the night before.
So in the end, we avoided them. They avoided us. Life goes on.
Then one night, the cops showed up at our door. We were both asleep in the smaller bedroom and we were awoken by the doorbell and knocking. I stuck my head out the old bedroom window and saw a cop car and officers below at the door. Oh shit. My first thought that my parents had been killed. I ran down stairs and opened the doors.
The cops were right to the point.
“Good evening sir. Are you alone?”
“No, my girlfriend is upstairs.”
“Can you get her?”
Oh shit, Sally’s parents were dead.
Sally was at the top of the stairs and was tentatively coming down.
“Miss, can you come here so we can see you?”
She came and stood next to me. He asked her if everything was all right and if there was any trouble. She said no. He asked if we had been fighting. I said no and that we had been asleep. They said we are talking to her. I shut up. Sally said the same, nervously laughing. No, we had gone to bed an hour ago.
The cop said there had been a report that there was a domestic assault in progress. They seemed to believe us. We asked who made the report and they said they were not allowed to tell. Nice.
A month later, in the middle of the night, the cops were back. This time with a social worker. When I answered the door this time, I knew why. So I said, “Are you here because someone reported hearing fighting?” I said this thinking that I was giving the cops some useful information. Little did I know that it sounded like I knew why they were there because I was guilty. I tried to tell them it was the second time it had happened, but they were only interested in talking to Sally. She was asked to come downstairs. I was made to sit on the couch as they interviewed Sally and she reassured them everything was all right.
When we finally had them convinced that all was well, we impressed upon them that we were tired of the false reports and if anything could be done. They said they would look into it. Thanks.
One week later, Sally was opening the front door on her way home from work when the hard of hearing, orgasmic neighbor lady popped out her door and asked if she could talk to her. She then asked Sally if her husband was home. Sally said no and explained we were only just engaged. The lady was a bit surprised, but then said that she understood what Sally was going through as she was a survivor of an abusive relationship. Now Sally was confused. Sally laughed and said that I was not abusive. Next door lady said she heard the beatings and the fighting. Sally said that was impossible and dismissed her. Neighbor lady left Sally, thinking she was in denial.
When I came home, Sally told me about the conversation. Almost at the same time we both realized what was happening. The stairs that go up to the bedrooms double back before they got to the top. The freaky neighbors were hearing someone get the shit beat out of them… but it was the people living in the duplex on the OTHER side of them. They had their left and right screwed up. Idiots!
We moved out a few months later.
The bad thing is that poor woman who was getting the shit beat out of her never had the cops show up at her door.
The good thing about this was that we later realized that the freaky neighbors must have thought it was the other neighbors who had called them in the morning to wake them up when their alarm couldn’t. Suckers!