One of the basic tenets of civilization is that it requires
people to live in close proximity with other people. This naturally results
in neighbours. I have neighbours, and odds are that unless you live on
a small island with a satellite Internet hookup, you have neighbours as
well. I recently moved, and so I don't know too many of my new neighbours,
at least not yet. Considering my previous neighbours, however, I'm not
sure how eager I am to become acquainted with the new ones.
For the past year and a half I lived in a townhouse with
roommates. The townhouse was good. The neighbourhood, not as good, primarily
because it was shared with some very strange people. I don't even know
where to begin with these people, so I'll start with the old couple next
door. (I should point out that the wife was only mildly odd compared to
the husband, so we'll concentrate on him rest assured, she was
also plenty strange when compared to a normal human being). Are you familiar
with the stereotype that old people go to bed early? Not these old people.
They would come and go any hour of the day or night. Two am, four am,
six am, you name it, the old guy would be starting up his decrepit old
Pontiac Firefly and going somewhere. Sometimes he'd leave around two am
and return around six. I was tempted to follow him and find out where
he was going in the middle of the night, but well, when you are awoken
by a car starting at some obscene hour of the night, you generally aren't
prepared to get up, get dressed, and go stalking. And this is only the
cusp of his weirdness. He was a highly unfriendly person who would stand
around outside and stare at everyone, which was more than moderately creepy.
And he would smoke out on the front step, which resulted in smoke coming
in our front door, since he always seemed to time his smoking with when
we were coming and going. The fact he was smoking particularly nasty cigarettes
made with dollarstore rolling papers certainly didn't help very much.
Eventually we took to calling him Baron von Smoke. They drank maybe four
or five cases of Diet Pepsi every week, which for two people is a ridiculous
amount of Diet Pepsi, and in retrospect, might have contributed to some
of the aforementioned odd behaviour.
Getting back to nicknames, on the other side there was Count
Truckula. This guy didn't actually live there, but he was boyfriend of
the woman who did (if you can apply the term boyfriend to someone over
age fifty). He drove this huge truck which conveniently made it utterly
impossible to check for oncoming traffic in that direction. Since this
was on a busy avenue this was always delightful. He also liked to park
the truck on the absolute edge of the parking space, which made parking
beside his truck decidedly uncomfortable. Yet, if one of us happen to
encroach even slightly on that parking space, the Count's lady friend
would be over in a matter of minutes asking us to move, presumably so
the truck could park there once again.
Believe it or not, he wasn't the only weirdo with a large
truck in the area. Up a few units there was a family that seemed normal
enough most of the time, but who would routinely back their own large
truck right up on the lawn to their front door and unload stuff. This
is perhaps not all that strange, apart from the fact that they would frequently
do this after midnight, and the amount of time this would take suggests
a lot of stuff was being unloaded. I'm not sure what one might unload
from a truck under the cover of darkness, and quite frankly, I'm not sure
I want to.
Right next to the suspected smugglers lived, well, I don't
know who all exactly lived there, but they seemed to have a lot of vehicles,
which leads me to an explanation of the parking situation. Every unit
on this block has two designated parking spaces. There was some excess
space, however, between the buildings, where two additional cars could
readily be parked. This space belonged to no one officially, but as it
was adjacent to our designated parking spaces, and since we frequently
had to deal with parking more than two cars, we sort of had squatters
rights on this space. It was our recommended guest parking. Well, the
people with the many vehicles decided that they liked parking in this
no-man's land, even though their townhouse was at the other end of the
building, so they had no claim on this space whatsoever. And they would
park badly, frequently right in the middle of the space, so that only
one car would fit where two cars easily could. On many occasions they
would do this while leaving their own designated parking spaces empty.
Believe it or not, these were not my only neighbours with
parking issues. The aforementioned old couple next door would often have
guests that would either park badly in the unclaimed space, or just go
right ahead and park in our spaces. At times they would park sideways
behind our cars, effectively blocking us in. Down further there was the
crazy old lady who did not actually own a car, but watched her two parking
spaces like a hawk. If you pulled into one of her spaces, even to turn
around, she was at the window scowling. Heaven help you if you actually
I have yet to mention the people two doors up that I
never saw enter or leave their apartment the entire time I lived there,
but whose cars came and went, and lights turned on and off, but no one
ever saw them. I haven't discussed the old ladies who sat on lawn chairs
and watched everyone come and go, and frequently (and loudly) criticized
them. And I haven't touched on all the weirdoes who lived across the street.
But I think that's enough discussion of weird neighbours for now.
Have I mentioned how much I like my new neighbourhood? Let's
hope it stays that way.