Okay, I get it. I’m spoiled. I’ve lived in the same apartment for 14 years. I have a driveway in which to park. I have a backyard in which to plant flowers, erect patio sets and entertain. I have free laundry facilities and a hands-off landlord. I’ve had some of the quietest, most non-intrusive neighbors and I got to considering my place not just a flat, but a practically a small house.
All of that changed about three years ago, when one of the quiet ones finally decided to give up his bachelor flat and move in with his girlfriend. We suspected he was using his apartment as an escape hatch, in case it didn’t work out with his girl. He hadn’t been physically living there for the previous 3 or so years, but did pop by to grab mail and rotate the perishables in the cupboard. The apartment right next to mine stayed empty for about a year.
Then Chris and Chris moved in. Cute little couple blessed and cursed with having the same first name, they seemed sweet and hard-working and maybe it would with enough guts and grease it would be just fine. Turns out when they weren’t working hard, they were drinking harder and would occasionally take the time to beat the crap out of each other. We called the cops a few times, and once came home to what seemed like the entire Royal Oak police force in my front yard.
Once they were gone we had the pleasure of Boozy McDrinkerton, who couldn’t have stayed sober longer than 24 hours if she had a gun to her head. Royal Oak Police frequently brought her home from the corner bar, where she’d promptly stumble back down the two blocks for more. Once she locked herself out of her apartment and I couldn’t help but giggle when she knocked, perhaps to see if she’d be home to let herself in.
After a few months, the landlord’d brother Martin moved in. Kind old soul who was – and I swear I’m not making this up – a biker Goth. Free Wi-fi and he promised he’d decorate my body in beautiful turquoise if it was the last thing he ever did. He never got the chance as his failing health sent him back to the mountains of Wyoming to die in the arms of his new bride. His Facebook page is still up, and it breaks my heart every time his profile cycles around and I get an invitation to reconnect. I just don‘t have the heart to remove him. Sometimes I post little notes on his wall. Tell anyone and I’ll break your fingers.
The week Martin died, my new neighbors moved in, and soon I will see them moving out. They will have lasted five months, the shortest time I have managed, and I’m proud of that. I was fairly sure the landlord was running a hostel with the amount of people in and out. It was loud, the water was always running, and the smell of pot was constant companion. My across the hall neighbor of 30 years refused to put up with it and moved out. Me, I just complained and kept a running list of the things they borrowed. Once asked for a strainer and I tried to clarify “a strainer or a colander?” There is a difference. He said he was making noodles and he wanted to strain the water. I said, “oh, a colander. See there, you’ve learned a new word.”
A few weeks ago, I heard the plaintive cries of a puppy on the other side of the thin walls and I wasn’t having it. It isn’t that I don’t like dogs, I just don’t like them living next door to me with a bunch of drug-dealing potheads. I fired off a text to the landlord and said I wasn’t putting up with a dog. My exact phrasing was “pit bull” because I’d been misinformed, but the fact remained. No dog. Despite complaining that it wasn’t a pit bull, the dog found a new home.
It wasn’t until the carpenter remodeling the across the hall apartment made a comment to the landlord about the amount of traffic in and out that he decided to finally put them out. Well – there were other circumstances, but I can’t talk about those just yet.
Sunday, I had to leave this on her door:
Oh yes, sex on the washing machine, with the door cracked open for ventilation I suppose. 20 minutes of the most boring sex I’ve ever heard. I sent a text of the same to the landlord, and supposedly they’ll be moved out by the end of the month.
Soon, I’ll be living in a three-unit apartment building with me as the only tenant. I rather like this arrangement, as it’s like a house I don’t pay taxes on. It’s quiet, when stuff breaks, it’s someone else’s responsibility, and at any time, I can walk away – I haven’t had a lease in 13 years.
If you dare, you can move in next to me, but I warn you: I already don’t like you.