We've lived in a total of 6 houses since declaring our love for one another. My sister once told me that she'd run out of room in her address book to keep up with our new abodes. It's true. We've bounced around. Most of our rented homes had no neighbors, which was fabulous. Turns out, despite the fact that we aren't wild party animals, or nudists, or angry, difficult people, we don't do well with close neighbors.
Our first run in with a crabby neighbor was at our second home together. It was in an older house, chopped up into apartments, and we lived on the second floor, with our two cats. When we moved in we assured our downstairs neighbor that we were quiet tenants, who ran a horse farm, went to bed early and made little noise. Turns out, in her opinion, we lied. Sally was an overweight single mom, with sad eyes, premature arthritis (she told me about her condition the first time we met her) and a totally negative attitude. She lived with her 8 year old little girl, who was cute, sweet and under the thumb of her teutonic mommy. On our first night at our new apartment, we had two friends over for a quiet dinner, accompanied by some "gentle" music. The following morning I was awoken by furious pounding on our door. It was Sally and she was furious.
"You SAID you were quiet people!" she yelled in my face. "And yet, you were up listening to music and banging around until 10:30 p.m.!"
I was stunned, humble and apologetic, but she stormed off on her stubby, chubby, achey legs, muttering about how I was a liar.
Fast forward to a few weeks...
On a serene, summer night, I received an angry call from Sally saying, "I've found something that belongs to YOU!"
With trepidation, I went downstairs and knocked on her door. I was met by an irate Sally, who was holding a large, padded patchwork bag that contained an ornate glass pipe.
"Is this yours?" she sputtered, shaking the bag in my face.
"Uhh, no. I think it belongs to a friend. It must've fallen out of his car when he left last night, " I replied.
"It's a glass MARIJUANA pipe that my little girl found in the driveway!" she screamed. "She's 8 and she found a MARIJUANA pipe in our driveway!"
Crap. I cursed the friend, who dropped it and proceeded onto damage control.
"Oh Sally, I'm so sorry," I said. "But it was an accident. The guy who owns this is a chef, they all do drugs. They're bad people. We'll never have him over again!"
Baffled by my diplomatic approach, she softened ever so slightly and almost smiled. Reading her body language, I ventured on.
"Have you ever smoked pot? It might be helpful with your painful, arthritic condition? I've heard it can be very therapeutic and perhaps, even assist with your insomnia?"
She narrowed her pig eyes, and gave a little laugh.
"I'm always in pain," she said. "And I have so much trouble sleeping."
I thought I was golden. I was wrong. Her mean, nasty nature took over and she said, "Don't ever let something like this happen again. And by the way, I'm sick of hearing your cats running around at all hours of the night!"
She thrust the padded bag in my face and slammed the door. Wow. I walked back upstairs and told Jonathan that I thought we'd made a mistake by moving to this place. He reminded me that it had been my idea to move to this apartment, so it was up to me to make it all fine.