Thursday, February 09, 2012

Try Not to Kill Thy Neighbor

I moved into a new place in October and I mostly love it. It's on the third floor of a well renovated historic building in my favorite neighborhood in Indianapolis and has high ceilings and hardwood floors. Every room is accented by massive, mostly south facing windows and even on cloudy days the apartment is flooded with natural light and great views of the sky. It kind of feels like my own private tree house. Grocery stores and good restaurants are within walking distance and a relaxing run on the city's expansive Monon Trail is only a minute's jog from my building. Like I said, I mostly love it. Mostly.

What I don't love, and what I'm trying to come to grips with, is my neighbors. Specifically, the loud talking, salsa loving, often fighting, odd hours keeping, horrible pet owning, boisterous, standoffish, inconsiderate, and generally miserable Puerto Rican couple who live in 303.

I've had bad neighbors before and there's a certain amount of inconvenience one accepts when moving into a living space with shared walls, but Ricky and Lucy are seriously trying my patience. Last night, they seemed to be playing some sort of game that required the random dropping of a bag of bowling balls in various rooms throughout their apartment. This game lasted until nearly 2AM and must have been hilarious because each cacophonous crash was followed by peals of laughter and screaming. Previous to this, Ricky and Lucy were watching Caso Cerrado at insane volumes and struggling to yell their commentary about the show to one another in different rooms of their apartment. How do I know this? Well, unfortunately, I chose to learn Spanish over two wonderful summers in Argentina and now I can be pissed off at bad neighbors in two different languages.

Yelling is easily their favorite pastime. I've had amorous neighbors before and it's a little awkward listening to them have all kinds of sex at all kinds of hours (especially when you're not having any sex at any hour), but I'd take rhythmic slapping and moans over arguing any day of the week. If Ricky and Lucy have sex, it's the only quiet thing they do. By the frequency of their arguing, I'm guessing the honeymoon is well and truly over and their favorite time to fight is just before normal people drift off to sleep.

What do they fight about? All kinds of shit. The latest argument was about the dog they recently acquired. Apparently, taking Precious out to water the grass in the depths of a Midwest Winter is not at the top of the list of favorite activities for either of them. Speaking of Precious, I hate her too. I kid about tying Mazzy in a pillowcase and throwing her into a river, but I really would tie Precious in a pillowcase and throw her into a river. Ricky and Lucy would be close behind. Do they make pillowcases that big? Precious is a jet black Cocker Spaniel who barks at everything and everyone as if they pose an immediate and dire threat to her well being. Ricky and Lucy refuse to leash her or pick up the impossibly huge piles of shit she drops around the common areas of the building in spite of the fact that there are FOUR SEPARATE DOGGY BAG DISPENSERS SURROUNDING OUR BUILDING. It literally requires more effort to ignore the signs and bags and disapproving looks from the other tenants in the building than it does to clean up after the dog.

They have a bird too. Pirates have birds. Teenaged girls have birds. Normal adult couples should not own birds. How do I know they have a bird? The bird squawks randomly at all hours of the day and night. Precious sees this as an affront to her safety and barks at the bird. The bird counters by squawking even more. Ricky and/or Lucy, on edge from a late night of arguing and/or playing the bowling ball game, counters by unleashing a profanity laced tirade in staccato Puerto Rican Spanish at Precious and the bird. If this works, and it usually takes a good five minutes to have any effect, they all celebrate by blaring the same salsa album and dancing around their apartment like they're in a rum commercial.

My options on how to deal with this situation are severely limited. Ricky and Lucy are clearly not the sort of people who have the self awareness to respond favorably to a polite, "Hey, could y'all keep it down please?", as this is a nightly occurrence and even a modicum of consideration for their neighbors would mean that none of these issues would be issues in the first place. That leaves hammer murder, framing them for a crime that carries with it a lengthy jail sentence, buying them a well insulated mansion on a huge plot of land far away from any other living soul, rendering myself deaf, and acceptance as my only remaining courses of action. I don't see any of these things happening.

In Leviticus it says to love thy neighbor as thyself. I've tried and failed to live up to this commandment but I take comfort in the fact that Leviticus also says never to graze different types of cattle together, never to wear garments made of more than one kind of fabric, never to allow people with flat noses to worship at the altar, not to shave, and that psychics and wizards should be stoned to death. Clearly, Leviticus isn't exactly infallible. Maybe "Tolerate thy neighbor," is a better jumping off point. Lord knows I'm trying.

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