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Where’s crazy neighbor when I need her?

July 13, 2010

Would you be mine, could you be mine, won't you be my (crazy) neighbor?

A crazy thing happened at the bike rack the other day.

The rack is in a narrow alley between my apartment building and the building next door. It was about 10 a.m. on a Thursday, and I was there chatting with my friendly neighbor, who is a bike mechanic and had agreed to give my bike a tune-up.

“Looks like you need new brake pads,” friendly neighbor said.

“Yah, my breaks haven’t been feeling as responsive as they used to,” I said.

“Where’d you get your bike?”

“At a bike shop in D.C.”

“Oh, you’re from D.C.?”

That’s when the crazy thing happened.

A female voice came from one of the 25 or so windows lining the bike alley: “Why don’t you go talk some place else? Go-od!”

That’s not “good.” That’s “God” with two whined syllables, like the type you might hear from a 16-year-old who’s been denied Friday night car privileges.

Friendly neighbor and I paused for an awkward moment, then exchanged a “She’s crazy” glance before continuing our conversation at a slightly lesser decibel level. For my part, I had decided that whiney, irrational orders screamed from behind an identity-hiding window screen do not call for sincere heed or attention.

“I’m from Indiana,” I said to friendly neighbor, “but I lived in D.C. for two and half years. You from Denver originally?”

“Upstate New York,” he said. “Looks like we might need to replace your chain and cassette too.”

Then, the crazy thing happened again.

“Shut uh-up! Go-od!”

This time, the voice had managed to stretch both “God” and “up” to two syllables. I was kind of impressed.

I was also fairly perturbed. Where did this crazy neighbor get off screaming anonymously at people talking outdoors at a conversational volume during waking hours?

I wanted to holler back at her, “If you can’t handle it, close your window or move to the suburbs.” Instead, friendly neighbor cut the bike inspection short, and we moved to the sidewalk to finish up our chat.

In the days since crazy neighbor screamed at me for speaking, a variety of high-volume noises have arisen from the bike alley at markedly more nocturnal hours than 10 a.m.:

  • At 6 a.m., someone sifted through the dumpsters pulling out aluminum cans and crushing them, one by one, on the concrete.
  • At 1 a.m., a group of young-sounding females gossiped and giggled about whose boyfriend had the best jeans.
  • At 3:30 a.m., a guy announced his blood alcohol level to all by way of a yell/yodel that I think included the words, “Eat me.”

Crazy neighbor’s response to these bona fide disturbances: Not a peep.

I could’ve yelled at the perpetrators myself, but I’m on the third floor where it’s difficult to see what’s going on in the bike alley without popping out the screen and leaning out the window. Where was crazy neighbor when I could’ve used her polysyllabic whining?

Was she out of town? Is she an incredibly heavy sleeper? Was she herself one of the gossiping females? Or does crazy neighbor actually think that a mid-morning outdoor conversation is a crime? If so, she could’ve made her request sans whining—and I would’ve acquiesced without a grudge.

Or, just maybe, she was jealous that two of her neighbors were engaging in neighborliness while she was hermitting herself behind a window screen and her own melancholy. You think?

I’d love to hear your hypotheses, because crazy neighbor is truly a mystery to me.


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