diamond geezer

 Monday, November 16, 2009

I wish you didn't live nextdoor.

You've not lived there long, but it's already been too long for me. I didn't notice your predecessors, they didn't really make much of an impact on my life. But I noticed the instant they moved out and you flat-sharers moved in. Because, well, you're a bit blatant, aren't you?

It was your smell I noticed first of all. That telltale waft of cigarette smoke, swirling in through the gaps in the door on my balcony and slinking silently into my nostrils. There are few smells worse than the insipid stench of burning tobacco, especially when you think you're living in a no smoking zone. Not any more I'm not. And what's not fair is that you know that cigarette smoke reeks, which is why you go out onto your balcony to light up rather than stinking out the inside of your own flat. If only you'd stay indoors rather than popping out to fill an ashtray every thirty minutes, my internal atmosphere would remain pristine. I know, it's your own airspace, you have every right. But I wish you wouldn't.

And then there are your noises. Strange scraping, whirring and knocking noises, the like of which I'd never before heard from anybody nextdoor. All of my previous neighbours have been quiet souls, or at least never managed to make their presence heard through what I've always assumed was a fairly thick wall. But you've managed, haven't you? One of your noises sounds like a squeaky hippo writhing around the inside of a bathtub, and another resembles an industrial strength hoover scratching along a particularly dirty skirting board. It's almost as if you go out of your way to bump into the wall, rather than walking across the carpet or lino like any normal resident. I know, it's your flat, you have every right. But I wish you wouldn't.

And then there's your music. Again, I'd never heard any previous neighbour's music, and I've assumed in return that you couldn't hear mine. But you've changed my mind on that. When you turn up your volume past normal, I can hear every raging thump. Your bass is the worst, penetrating my living space and undisguisable even when I attempt to listen to something louder myself. Then there are your guitar bands, absolutely none of which I recognise, which you'll sometimes pump up and fling open your doors so that everybody else can hear. Your sheer arrogance disappoints me, as if you think this musical tripe is somehow worthy of wider dissemination. I'm relieved only in that the volume never seems to stay high for very long before you lower it to socially acceptable levels - i.e. so that I can't hear a note. I know, it's only occasional, you have every right. But I wish you wouldn't.

And then there are your parties. At least I'm assuming they're parties, in that they happen on certain evenings and involve smoking and noises and music. You have lots of people round, several of them as raucous as you, and you drink beer and smoke fags and bellow loudly as you spill outside onto your balcony. Honestly, none of my previous neighbours have ever dared throw a mass gathering like this, let alone approximately once a week. It is just possible, I guess, that you're merely being something called 'sociable', which is not a home-based entertainment concept I fully relate to. It's only high spirits, I know, you have every right. But I wish you wouldn't.

Finding a flat with quiet neighbours is like hitting the jackpot in London. I know I could have it a lot worse, what with screaming babies or blasting R&B or rampant coupling through paper-thin walls. But it appears I've been extra-fortunate until you lot turned up, and that my luck just ran out. I can only hope that your lease is a short one, and that inclement winter weather keeps you off the balcony with your windows firmly shut. Sometimes, whatever they say, the best neighbours are the ones you don't know you've even got.


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