It occurred to me recently that I haven't talked about the people that live in my apartment building. Considering all the horror stories I've heard from other people about the crazy people they've got living around them, I've got a pretty tame bunch of neighbors. They are generally pretty quiet and respectful, and after living here for five months, I've got no real complaints. When The Boss and I first moved in, the more social people in the building were really nice and welcoming. As time passed, I've gotten to know the rest of the people in the building, and while I'm sure they are nice people, too, they are the bruised apples in the bunch.
On the first floor, there's this hermit lady with a crazy eye (you know, the kind of eye where you can't tell if she's looking at you or off to the side) and hair like a troll doll. She hides out in her apartment most of the time, but when she decides to make an appearance, she'll do really odd things. Like spending a few hours picking shreds of peeling paint off of the fence, occasionally smelling deeply a freshly peeled paint scrap before dropping it to the ground. Or approaching me when I was cooking a few burgers on the grill that one time and asking me, "Do you know how to turn the water off? The hose water? Should I cut the blue wire or the red wire?" and without waiting for my response, rushed hurriedly away, whispering to herself.
Yeah. We've gotten used to ignoring her when she talks to us. Just like algebra, she'll never make any sense.
On our floor at the end of the hall, we've got an older married couple who I've gotten used to calling The Kinks. They are an extremely quiet couple, enough so that for the first couple of weeks of living in this building, we didn't even know someone occupied their unit. We had lived here for about a month when I heard this strange noise coming from down the hall when I was taking out the trash. As I walked down the hall, I noticed the sound was coming from their unit. After a few moments I noticed a distinct rhythm to the noise, and deduced that I was hearing two people getting it on. LOUDLY. It wasn't hot or kinky sounding sex. In fact, it didn't sound like either of them were enjoying it at all. She was screaming like she was being slowly tortured with a melon baller, and the way he was grunting and moaning, it sounded like he was trying to pass an unusually large bowel movement. And, man, the dirty talk! I'm pretty tolerant of dirty language, but the crap that came out of their mouths made me blush as I passed by.
When I finally saw them for the first time, I wouldn't have guessed they were the same couple I had heard bumping uglies just a few days prior. What, with their neatly pressed and expensive church-going clothes, looking like the 2009 Prudes Of The Year.
On the basement level of the building is this old, balding French guy who lives by himself. He's retired, and spends a majority of his time drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. It doesn't matter what time it is, every time I've seen this guy, he's had a beer in one hand (the earliest time on record is 7:30 AM) and a cigarette in the other. He wears dentures but often forgets to use adhesives to keep them in place. I know this because I've seen him yawn or cough or sneeze and wind up with a handful of teeth. Despite all the things this guy has going for him, once a week he'll get dressed up all snappy, slap some Sea-Bond on his chompers, and get picked up in this gleaming Lincoln Towncar driven by an elegant looking old woman with a giant poodle sitting on the front seat.
I try not imagine what they do on their weekly dates.
The rest of the people around us don't really stand out. We got the couple across the hall that fight all the time, and the unemployed guy my age who plays loud video games all day that lives below us. To one side of us, we've got the woman that refuses to say "hello" to The Boss and I whenever we see her, and the woman to the other side of us who runs her garbage disposal for minutes at a time and odd hours of the night. Not a bad bunch of people, all things considered.
Beats a pair of farting landlords any day.