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Sometime within the last 6 months, a very noisy woman moved into the apartment building across from my bedroom window. Our buildings are maybe 10 feet apart at most, and so every time this woman comes home drunk, or is on the telephone with her friends, or in her bedroom with her buddies, or watching hours of loud TV, or anything at all, I hear it. She’s loud. What I call one of those California Bitches. Her medium-husky voice carries like an air horn through a mausoleum. And worse, she often will put on horrible music very late at night—2:00 or 3:00am late—and, when really comfortable in her self-centered microcosm of incivility, sing very poorly to same.

This is nothing like Gargling Man, who used to live somewhere in that same building and would, every morning in the shower, gargle and hack up more loudly than Mexican construction workers shout at one another across the din of hammering and power tools. No, this is worse, because it’s unscheduled, unpredictable, and often long-lasting. This dame will wake me up at any time, without warning.

With such a varied repertoire and timetable, I have begun to go to sleep at night dreading hearing her. Without fail, the algorithm that computes my degree of fatigue and requirement for sleep against her vociferations comes out in her favor, and I am left tired and grumpy and bitter. I have begun sleeping with my windows closed, trying to circulate air through my apartment via alternate open windows and ceiling fans. The earplugs I used to retain solely for loud concerts or snoring friends I now keep by my bed at all times, wearing them as a last resort since they are uncomfortable and give me such a feeling of unease that, even in my sleep, I will yank them out and find them stuck to the side of my face in the morning.

Last night, I tried something new: a CD I bought from The Nature Company over a decade ago. It features the soothing sounds of a mountain stream and cheeping birds. I played it on a loop all night, loud enough to drown out the more subtle of the city noises. Though loud woman made no appearance, I slept terribly, my subconscious waking me every so often with the worry that the CD was loud enough to perturb the guy who has a bedroom above me.

Tonight, I decided to try the CD again. But California Bitch came home at 11:45 and on went her TV. The dulcet melodies of the burbling alpine waters were rudely punctuated with that hollow TV echo, where some annoying announcer was spitting out a high-energy upchuck, an interlude between emotionless music and a cheering studio audience.

I got out of bed, got dressed, put on my glasses, grabbed my broom from the kitchen cupboard, slipped on the flip-flops I bought in Kauai, and headed out. This was the fourth time I’d actually done something to communicate to this woman that her volume was not okay. The first was during a private concert of country music she was giving for a male friend. His laughter and chatter added to the noise of her terrible crooning, and the CD to which she yodeled was just a tad too loud for 3:30 in the morning. All I had to do to break up that event was shout up at her window. Though neither of them looked out to see who was shouting, the music and the singing stopped, and the guy had the propriety to apologize. “Sorry, dude.”

Tonight was to be the third time I actually took a tool with me to the intervention. California Bitch’s window is very high once I’m standing right under it, so the broom comes in handy to bang on the glass. I have always figured that banging was a bit less disturbing to the other neighbors than shouting out repeatedly and hoping to get a response.

At 12:10, I rapped on the window with the bristle end of the broom. Twice before, this violent smiting scared the living daylights out of whoever was in that room at the time, and the window was closed. This time, nothing happened. I walked around to the front of the apartment building, hoping maybe this time I could determine in which unit the harpy made her nest. But I could not be sure. I did not want to dial a number on the entrance intercom and wake some innocent neighbor.

Back at the window, I re-gathered my courage and took to brooming her panes again. This time, she reacted violently, like a bug that had been stabbed with a pin.

“Stop fuckin’ pounding on my window!”

This was exactly the kind of reaction I was dreading. No matter how annoying or disrespectful the behavior of the rude, the guy lurking outside the window with a broom is always going to be the one doing wrong. Besides, I tend to not handle such confrontations well. As you will see.

“If you turn down your TV or close your window, I won’t have to.”

The window blinds went up. This was the first time I could see her, or at least the top of her. I saw nothing below her eyes and her frosted, hairsprayed, barwhore bangs.

“Do not hit my window again!”

“Turn down the TV or close the window and I won’t.”

“Go ahead. Hit my window one more time!”

“Are you drunk again?”

Sigh. I simply get caught up in the emotion of it all.

“No, I am not drunk. I just got home from work. If you hit that window again…”

“Just turn it down or close your window.”

She stormed away, her thick-slatted blinds falling.

“You fucking dick.”

I grabbed my broom and made for home.

“Bitch!”

Shit. I had stooped. Yet again when confronting a neighbor, I had stooped. How to cover?

“Hoo hoo ha ha hwaa!”

Now I was a lurker and a laughing lunatic, and I suddenly felt she was gonna come out and meet me on the sidewalk on Goshen Ave. with mace, or a bat, or maybe a broom of her own.

I silently closed the door of my place when I got back in. I was now keenly aware that my upstairs neighbors, who were awake, had heard all this and would know I had made the scene. I felt stupid and angry all at once.

I’m the kind of person who tries not to use my electric toothbrush after 10:00. Yet this cunt, with her unapologetic extroversion and inability to practice the niceties that are sometimes required when living in an urban society, is never going to be wrong. To her, she has every right to be as loud as she wants. It’s my problem if I’m bothered by her big mouth. It’s me who should close my windows since I am disturbed by her booming, late-night get-togethers. And while my mind whirls with options for teaching her a lesson or exacting succulent revenge, neither of these are effective unless the target is cognizant of her errors and, on some level, wise to the annoyance she causes.

No, the world is all about her, and if I don’t like it, well, then, that’s simply too fucking bad, isn’t it?

So here I am, over an hour later, typing this all out, my only recourse for solace and mollification. Now I have a choice: go back into my room, close the windows, turn on my mountain stream, stuff in the earplugs, and hope for the best, or sleep on the couch and let that unorthodox arrangement be my berceuse. Either way, tomorrow will find me tired and grumpy and bitter. Thanks, neighbor!

[NOTE: There is more to this story... —Ed.]

8 Comments

Weho Mark Expounded Thusly:

The “C word” is entirely appropriate here, and you should have shouted that one at her. Next time!

Although I can’t think of any solutions or advice, I don’t think you need to worry about your upstairs neighbors. I bet they were grateful you did what they probably wanted to do.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005 • 1:15pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

I was trusting Princess Sugar Britches to let me know if I should change my headline, but I guess it’s fine as she has not suggested I do so.

In the interest of an update, California Bitch was quiet by the time I’d finished posting this and returned to my bedroom. I had my windows open, no CD was playing, and my ears were undammed. So today, I’m tired, but I’m not gumpy or bitter! In fact, it’s been a fine day.

I have wondered, Mark, why no one else complains. I suppose others in her building could complain and I would have no way of knowing if they do, but if they have, it has had no effect. Certainly I have never heard anyone in my building shout out anything. I can only hope my upstairs neighbors do appreciate my attempts.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005 • 3:18pm • Permalink

A Realtor (r) Expounded Thusly:

Home ownership is the answer.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005 • 3:53pm • Permalink

Princess Sugar Britches Expounded Thusly:

You are allowed to call her anything you want. This is America, asshole psycho freakazoid.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005 • 3:55pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Yep, there is a Chapter 2 to this story. (If that kink does not work, the post is probably on the previous page…)

Thursday, July 21st, 2005 • 12:03pm • Permalink

The Wren Forum » Antigone Tired Expounded Thusly:

[...] Now, I am dreading going to sleep (see last night’s post). What wonders await me in the California Bitch Fantasmagoria? [...]

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005 • 5:48pm • Permalink • This is a Pingback

The Wren Forum » The Trip Ends Yuckily Expounded Thusly:

[...] Who turned off my power? I have some theories, but none of them make sense. Say I’d left my clock alarm on accidentally, and the upstairs neighbors got tired of hearing it go off every morning at 4:45. The only way to stop that is to turn off my power. But then why not turn it back on? Everyone knows those alarm clock reset the instant they lose power. Or what if my noisy next door neighbors, who saw me packing my suitcase for the trip, decided to get revenge and turn off my power? The laundry room is often unlocked, so that would not be hard to do. But that gives them simply too much credit. They are not smart enough to come up with such a scheme. [...]

Thursday, November 10th, 2005 • 12:02am • Permalink • This is a Pingback

The Wren Forum » The God of Lunacy Strikes Again! Expounded Thusly:

[...] I have discovered that, in moments like these, I end up saying stupid stuff that I later regret. Sort of. There was the pre-blog incident with the yappy dog neighbor and the well-documented and perhaps now-infamous battle of wits with the California Bitch. In both these cases, I began with a strong but reasonable request, and, once stricken with the first words of abuse from the incredulous, wronged party, I moved on to repeating the obvious. But then, as things were coming to a close and that last insult is hurled, I had to get in the last word, thus truly giving the innocent victim a zinger to tell their friends the next day. [...]

Monday, July 17th, 2006 • 10:13pm • Permalink • This is a Pingback

 

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