I am Feuding with my Neighbor

28 Nov

I have been living in the same building since I moved to New York City upon graduating from college in 2005.  That makes, for those of us who are mathematically challenged, almost 6 1/2 years on the same block, in the same building, with the same (wonderful) landlord, Nelson, and, largely, the same neighbors, most of whom I at least exchange pleasantries with when I run into them on the street or in the store.  The same had always been true of my down-the-block next door neighbor, a 50-something year old man from somewhere in the West Indies.  He would ask me about my running, lament the fact that my (wonderful) landlord, Nelson, never planted flowers in the hideous cement boxes in front of the building, and inform me when the block parties were approaching.  Then, disaster.  This past summer I returned home from work on a Sunday (!!!) night exhausted and ready to spend the evening in.  But alas(!), there was a party at my down-the-block next door neighbor’s house.  And not just any party, it was a rager.  For some atmospheric knowledge, presumably when he bought the property he paved over the entire sideyard and backyard and turned it into a parking lot.  He now rents spaces to a lot of the people on the block.  When I got home on the fateful Sunday,however, there were giant white tents erected in the backyardlot in lieu of the Oldsmobiles and Hondas that usually live there.  There were decorations.  There were strobe lights.  In what is usually the garage, there was a full-on stereo system.  I am not talking talking about your run-of-the-mill sound system with small speakers. I think he hired someone out of one of those ginormous dance clubs operating on the West Side of Manhattan in the 20’s down the block from the bicycle rickshaw business where I used to spend some of my nights back in the summer of 2005 (more on that some other time).  It was for real and it was cranked to maximum volume.  I laid down on my bed, hoping that the feathers inside my pillow would reject all traces of sound, allowing me a restful night sleep.  As you might have guessed, this is not what happened.  It was as if I had laid my head down on top of the speaker.  Seeing as how it was 9pm, I figured I was shit out of luck.  I would have to wrench myself back out of the apartment and venture to a nearby watering hole to pass the time.  With boyfriend in tow, I trudged back up the street and plopped myself down in a stool, angrily sipping on my Powers on the rocks.  Every so often I would walk out of the bar and listen for sounds of the celebration around the corner.  10 o’clock came and went, followed by 11.  Finally, sometime after midnight the party died down.  Or, more accurately, got shut down.  I am still unclear as to how it managed to go on for so long considering that it was a Sunday (!!!), there are lots of young kids and old people on my street, and city sound ordinance says that loud music has to be quieted by a specified time (I think it’s 10).  Finally, a little drunker and a little more annoyed than I would have liked to have been, I went to sleep.  I thought it was over.  I was wrong.

For some background information, at the time of the aforementioned event, my roommates and I were living on the 2nd floor of our 3 story building.  The people upstairs, not to put too fine a point on it, were assholes.  The girl who had held the lease for our entire tenure in the building was basically incapable of keeping the same roommates for longer than a year.  She never said hi to me in the stairwell.  One of her roommates at the time of this event was a total tool who was one of her customers at the bar she was working at.  He was the kind of guy who, if he were to walk into my bar, I would keep an eye on him and make sure he wasn’t roofying some girl and leading her into the men’s bathroom for some playtime.  He was also a smoker.  He also, apparently, didn’t understand the concept of litter because he insisted on throwing his finished cigarette butts over the edge of the roof when he smoked up there, into our backyard as well as that of our down-the-block neighbor.  It is important to note here that I do not smoke, have never smoked, and therefore have nothing to do with the discarding of cigarettes.  I also have a brain and a sense of civic duty.  Thusly I would never throw a cigarette into my own backyard or onto the backyardlot or roof of my down-the-block neighbor.  Apparently toolish upstairs neighbor was not so bright.  You can probably see where this is heading.

The morning following the party incident I was heading out the door when I ran into my down-the-block neighbor and greeted him the same as always.  I was met with a scowl and the following words:  “You had a party on your roof” — we had, weeks earlier for the 4th of July and it was tame by any standards, especially the standards of someone who had only the night before thrown a party of epic proportions — “and the people at your party were smoking and threw their cigarette butts onto my roof”  — they hadn’t — “and now my house might burn down!” — it hasn’t.  He then threatened to tell my (wonderful) landlord, Nelson.  A feud was born.  At first, I was nervous about what Nelson might say.  We weren’t supposed to go on the roof.  But, I was certain of two things.  One, the cigarette incident was not our doing and two, this had nothing to do with the cigarettes and everything to do with the early demise of his party.  I think it bears repeating that this man is in his early to mid 50’s.  Every time I left the building for the following month and he was outside, I was met with complaints and threats.  Then, nothing.  He began to give me the silent treatment.  One day in early October, I decided to break the ice, ask him how he was doing, let bygones be bygones.  The conversation went like this:

Me: (Smile) Lovely day.  How have you been?

Down-the-block stupidass neighbor (DTBSAN): (Glare) *Silence*

Me:  Really?  You’re ignoring me?  Seriously? (muttering) Unbelievable.

Fast forward to today, November 28th, 2011.  I was running late to head into the city to work on the paper that I have been having a hard time focusing on as of late (case in point: I am writing this blog entry right now).  After getting my coffee I realized I had forgotten my computer at home.  My boyfriend Pete and I headed back to the house and he went upstairs to get the computer while I stayed downstairs, enjoying the unseasonable warmth.  And then, out of nowhere, neighbor!  He was sweeping some leaves in front of the garden level apartment.  I was expecting the same silent treatment as always so I continued standing there, staring blankly down the block.  All of a sudden I heard him speak.

DTBSAN:  (In a whiny voice, much like the one Homer Simpson uses when he is mimicking people.) Oh, I like to smoke.  I like to smoke and throw my cigarettes over the edge of the roof and catch things on fire…

Me:  (Looking around to see if anyone was witness to this infantile act).  How old are you?  Seriously.  Grow the fuck up.

DTBSAN:  (Still whining.) I litter.  It’s fun.

At this point Pete returned from the apartment and I looked at him and, exasperated, said “this man is unbelievable.”  Pete looked in the direction of my down-the-street neighbor’s house and laughed.  I, angrily, started walking down the block towards the train station.  I looked over my shoulder as we passed my down-the-street neighbor’s house and saw him there, glaring.  So, I glared back.  And you know what?  I won.  Because anyone who has ever met my glare knows it can kick anyone else’s glare’s ass.

5 Responses to “I am Feuding with my Neighbor”

  1. Missyp November 29, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Omg! So I rode my bike home today in between work and rehearsal and as I was riding down the block, I passed by none other than….dun dun duuuun HARRY! He glared at me and I was like wtf? You’re STILL upset about what happened?! And why is he so convinced that it was us anyway? I mean, why is he such an idiot that he s willing to sacrifice neighborly love to hold a grudge? Anyway, LO and behold, I was on the train and I suddenly received your blog posting email in my inbox and I couldn’t help but laugh at the timing. What a moron!!!

    • FranklyRebekah November 29, 2011 at 12:53 am #

      I feel like he woke up this morning and was like “I’m gonna raise hell!” and posted himself outside his apartment to glare at anyone entering or exiting our building. If I did smoke, I would totally leave my finished butts on his doorstep. He should consider himself lucky.

  2. Kendra Cunningham December 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    I’m so excited you started blogging
    and yes its true, your glare kicks ass!


  1. I thought I couldn’t dislike my neighbor more… | franklyrebekah - August 14, 2014

    […] I talked to you guys about how much I dislike my down the street neighbor?  Wait, yes, I have!  I wrote about how he and I were feuding after he had like a 3 day long rager when I had work and someone, I am not going to say who it was, […]

  2. Tell ‘Em Large Marge Sent Ya | franklyrebekah - August 17, 2014

    […] dreams.  Angry ones, even.  So as I mentioned in my last post, for the past few years I have been feuding with my neighbor.  The feud began when he threw a three day long party of some kind with no warning to any of us […]

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