It may seem as if I obsess over my neighbors. Sure, I’ve dedicated two three-part series to my former neighbors (see The guy downstairs and Across from the guy downstairs). But that was when I lived in Doral and was at home all day. I had no other source of inspiration, but the suspicious, luxury sedan driving Neanderthal and the woman with four kids and as many hundred pounds that led me to file a complaint with the department of children and families.
Since then I’ve moved and moved on. I live above the hustle and bustle of Main Street. The smell of ribs from the Tony Roma’s goes well with the loud music blasting out of Johnny Rockets. From Friday to Sunday, the rush of people trying to make the ten o’clock movie blends with the drunkards leaving the Ale House and the teenagers on a sugar high from Cold Stone. It is so loud that I never hear my neighbors, let alone see them.
Until two days ago.
Upon our return from a trip to the grocery store, we ascended up the stairs with our environmentally friendly canvas bags. As we got closer to the door I heard an angry voice. A young man’s voice. It immediately reminded me of the way one of those Doral twin boys would stand in the middle of his backyard and scream obscenities at his baby momma through his cell phone. For a moment I thought they had found me. Or worse, they had moved in.
As I walked closer, I noticed the eyeball of a neighbor peering from behind her window blinds. The eye moved ferociously to find something, but all she caught was my post-traumatic-stress-of-having-bad-neighbors-syndrome-face on the other side. I shrugged my shoulders at the eyeball, as if to say that I had no idea where it was coming from.
I turned a corner to find another neighbor poking his head out from his front door. Literally, it was just his head. No feet, no hands, no torso. I imagined it was because he was either naked or wearing a tacky house coat – which are the same reasons I sometimes choose to guillotine my neck between the door and the frame.
Before I could ask the head what the hell was going on, my peripheral caught the owner of the voice. Baseball hat to the side, some sort of shirt promoting a sports team, large shorts and tube socks that almost met on his legs and sneakers, and a cell phone up to his still pimply face. The kid’s rant was directed toward the apartment next to mine where a young woman and her grandmother reside.
“Open the door. Look at me. Let’s talk. This is fucked up. People are staring.”
We ran into our apartment and locked the door.
He continued to beg and plead, while yelling, to get into the apartment of the ladies next door. He banged on the door. He banged on the window. And then he said, “I’m not fucking leaving, ever.”
And then I heard a door close. Seconds later, I heard another open and quickly close. Followed by hurried footsteps. And then voices asking the young man a series of polite, yet stern questions. It was the eyeball and the head. So, I opened my door. A police officer was making his way down the hall. I waited to see if there was a camera crew behind him before deciding whether or not to put on a little lipstick.
Regardless, I wouldn’t have needed the lipstick. I didn’t have a speaking role in this show. I played the part of the bystander, arms crossed, eye-brow raised woman standing behind the police officer.
“I’m sorry son. You can’t be here. You have to go now.”
The guy left. Quietly. Heart-broken.
The officer told us that if he came back to just run downstairs and flag him down, as he was going to be patrolling the Victoria’s Secret. The eyeball, the head and I exchanged smiles and returned to our apartments.
The young man never returned. And all is well again in Hialeah’s Disney World.
How anti-climactic. This isn’t the neighbor raucous I’m accustomed to.
Instead, I’m going to pretend the guy, while courting his age-equivalent girlfriend, inadvertently fell in love with the grandmother. The girlfriend grew suspicious of them when her grandmother kept stealing her thongs and the boyfriend insisted she wear a house coat. Rotten with guilt and injuries to her prosthetic hip, the grandmother came clean with her grand-daughter. The young woman had no choice but to break up with her boyfriend over the phone and proceed to tweet about it. She is working on repairing the relationship with her grandmother, although she has searched the term chloroform 300 times over the past 24 hours.