Shut that broccoli up!

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Things had been pretty quiet around here in terms of my neighbor, Curmudgeon Bob. I had only seen him that one day about a week ago as I was coming home and he was scurrying out to see if the paper had come. I think he is one of those mail-obsessed folk, a strange breed who live by the merry whim of the post office truck. My grandmother used to be that way as well, suction-cupping herself to the window as she impatiently held on for the sweet mail to arrive. Kinda like those Garfield dolls in car windows from the 80’s only in bad polyester lady suits. I’m not that person. Usually it’s just junk or worse, bills. If anyone feels sorry for me, they should write me a letter or do what Matt did last week, ship me overnight some homemade gingerbread cookies. Oh yeah, I married the best man on the planet who just happens to be a fantastic cook and baker. I hear a rumor that there is some chicken risotto in my future!

I digress. So last Sunday I had spent the better part of the day suffering from hypothermia as my apartment is about as warm as the Arctic Tundra. In fact, Izzy usually only comes out from under the electric blanket to crap or eat a little food. So my days and nights while in my apartment are spent occupying the futon, bundled up, doing work from my warm island. Hey, I just realized I could call this, Occupy E-Blanket.  Anyway, I had spent four hours working on a course I am doing an instructional session for as Izzy slept away at the end of the futon. At 6p, I got up to start dinner. I cleaned out my coffee pot which is customary at this time and started prepping for my steamed vegetable medley of goodness. I turned on the hotplate to get it going and started cutting up my broccoli.

What is that I hear? Why it is a knock on my door. I peak out the peephole and see Curmudgeon Bob standing there. I politely open the door and say “hello” and he immediately starts inquiring as to why I am making all this noise. He states, “you are constantly the move. Never sit still. What is it that you are doing at your counter in there? It’s so loud.” Okay, bullshit. I can’t imagine that cutting up broccoli is deafening. Unless one is cutting up broccoli with a machete which I was not. Not to mention that I had not moved AT ALL for the last four hours and neither had the damn cat. I tell him that I don’t understand what he is talking about. That I am not being loud, that I am only cutting up some broccoli for dinner. I am not going to apologize as I didn’t do anything wrong. He smirks and then replies, “well maybe it is just me” and walks off. Um, you think?

Well, I am instantly pissed. The guy above sounds like he is tap dancing most of the evening and I never say a word about it. Why? Because people need to move around. Live their lives at a reasonable noise level. Moving from point A to point B in footed pajamas is not being loud. Nor is cutting up vegetables. And besides, it’s none of his damn business what I am doing in my apartment at 6p. I pay my rent, I have just as much right to be here as he does. What’s curious is that the professional pianist who lives in this building plays piano a few nights a week for about two hours. I don’t mind because it is beautiful. Does he complain about that? That doesn’t bother him but vegetable cutting does?  Give me a break.

After calling Matt and venting (I admit there was some crying involved on my part), he assured me that I cannot let this old guy bully me. I’m the new kid on the block (can I be Donnie???) and so he probably thinks he can intimate me. Wrong. So very, very wrong. He can come complain to me if I am Lord of Dancing at 2a on a Thursday. Otherwise, he’ll just need to piss off somewhere else.

So I ended up emailing my landlord and just mentioning the situation. He called me later on and told me to ignore him and that if he knocks on my door again to complain, then he would come by and take care of it. So far, so good. But hell, it’s only Friday.

Aside from this fiasco, I think Curmudgeon Bob is messing with my mail. He takes it upon himself to sort it. Now, at first, he was placing my mail on the banister. Then it was on the radiator. Then it was on the table in the sitting room. Then it was back to the banister. WTF? I don’t want to scavenger hunt for my stuff.  I had been looking for two very important pieces of mail. One was my new debit card and the other was my insurance card. I knew that they should be arriving soon, like this week. Yesterday I came home and checked the first two places and found nothing. I even went through the piles of shit in the entryway thinking maybe it was overlooked. Nope. As I crossed the sitting room I noticed a copy of “Bust” magazine sitting on the table and knew right away it was mine. I grab it and head upstairs. As I approach my apartment I notice two envelopes laying face down in the hallway, as if someone had thrown them. I pick them up, turn them over, and wouldn’t you know it? It’s the exact two pieces of mail I have been looking for. Two pieces of mail I don’t want lost or misplaced!  I think he honestly came upstairs and threw it on the floor but for some reason, kept my magazine downstairs. Matt said perhaps he looked through it thinking “Bust” was a porno mag and when he realized it was just filled with that no-good ‘feminist propaganda’ threw it on the table.

So now I am going to have to confront him. I don’t like the idea of this guy fucking with my mail. As it is I am missing my dental insurance card. Matt already got his and he lives in Indiana! At this point, he could be hording my mail and giving it to me when he feels like. I don’t want to email the landlord again as I don’t want to become “that tenant” but something has to be done. I am going to have to approach Curmudgeon Bob and tell him that while I appreciate his willingness to sort the mail, I would prefer he just put my mail on the banister, that he doesn’t need to bring it upstairs. I figure mentioning that I noticed my mail was on the floor in front of my door would be a nice touch. I have to stand my ground soon or he will try this all the time. I’m just not happy about the fact that I have to deal with this. I have enough on my plate right now, I don’t need petty crap from the old smoking man. And yes, he smokes like a damn chimney and it permeates from his closed door but you don’t see me, rap, rap, rapping on his chamber door complaining about my sinuses and the dirty ash tray feel the place has. Anyway…

Unbeknownst to my neighbors, I bought more broccoli today at the store. While they seem so passive, I happen to know they are a bunch of rebel rousers. Would cauliflower be any less loud? Not sure. Carrots? The verdict is still out on this one.

Until next time, don’t caress the weasel.

  1. Barb Stahura says:

    Another idea is to mention that it is federal crime to mess with people’s mail and if it happens again where some of your mail is strewn on the floor, you will file a formal complaint. I’m surprised – usually you find a-holes like this in large high-rises.

  2. Erin says:

    UGH! As an apartment dweller for the last 8 years, I very much feel your pain. Thankfully, I haven’t had too many neighbors as bad as curmudgeon Bob, but I have had the people who smoke like chimneys, lost mail, people who lived above me who would have “relations” at 2am on an extremely sneaky bed, people who fought so loud and violently we called the police, and once, my car got hit in the parking lot. On the bright side, it makes for good writing material? Hang in there! Chop that broccoli loud and proud! 🙂

  3. illustratedlibrarian says:

    Thanks Erin! Yeah, I really miss having my house. At least then I could vacuum at 10p if I wanted to without someone banging on my door. At least point I can’t even sneeze after 5p without CB having a meltdown. But I agree with you, it is good creative fodder and if it keeps me writing then I guess it isn’t all bad. 🙂

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