please won't you beat my neighbor?
so one of the minor, tangential perks to owning a home is that you have no neighbors stomping around above you ... or complaining about your stomping from below. sweet. we've shared balconies with neighbors who smoked and found a way to exhale through walls and directly into our faces. we've had neighbors who needed to be told repeatedly not to blast music at 11 pm because our baby was sleeping directly on the other side of the wall and also their taste in music was crap.
so imagine our delight upon moving into a new home: no one upstairs! no one downstairs! no one directly on the other side of the wall! we could stomp and we could play music all the livelong day ... no one would bother us and we wouldn't bother anyone else.
such naive children we were.
from the first night in our new house, we could hear the couple next door SCREAMING at each other. every night. all the time.
on the second or third night in the house, i came home from work to find a boy, no older than 5, standing on the stoop, in the freezing cold in only his pyjamas. he looked at me, a total stranger, and said, "have you seen my mommy?" i said, "well, no, but i bet she's on her way home." he said, "i'm going to look for her." i said, "maybe you should go inside where it's warm, i bet she'll be home soon." and so he did.
a couple days after that, the boy's mother came by at 4 pm, still in her pyjamas. she creeped my wife's ass out, looking around our house, acting all high, wondering out loud how much she could sell her own place for--hell, i'll personally be their broker if they're considering a move. mrs nice guy thought she detected a little bruise above neighborlady's eye. oh for christ's sake.
a day or two after that they were fighting again and mrs nice guy distinctly heard the woman say/shout to her husband "WELL YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S FUCKING HER!"
oh it gets more awesome. i was leaving the house a day or two later, with my kid. it was our monday together. i ran into adulterous wife-beating neighborman. he was standing outside having a little cigarette. it was 9 am. he looked at me and said, "man, i can't wait till my kids get out of the house, go to school, so i can smoke my head off. know what i mean?" i am pretty sure he didn't mean cigarettes. so i was all, umm, do you have most mondays off? he was like, "nah man, i'm a foreman and i don't have any fuckin' days off. except thursdays. no. tuesdays. yeah. wednesdays too." um, ok, i said. have a nice day smoking your head off even though you don't have mondays off and please don't ever talk to me again. then he asked me if i knew where he could get bootleg Xbox games because his "boy thinks they're fuckin' $60 frisbees." i said, alas, i did not but i would ask around. then as i started walking away he said something which i couldn't quite make out, but sounded like: "hey, want to get charged up?" i smiled, played deaf and waved, gesturing vaguely with the stroller that had my TODDLER in it. when i returned at around 12:30, he was still home -- he came to his door grumbling in his boxers as i was opening mine. oh crap! suddenly, i found myself frantically fumbling my keys and sobbing like some fleeing topless co-ed camp counselor about to be killed by jason voorhees in one of the friday the 13th movies.
the the very next day i returned from work only to find all of adulterous wife-beating druggie neighborman's clothes strewn across the sidewalk, his wife standing defiantly atop the heap with her hands on her hip. some hapless passerby cracked a joke: "throwing him out, eh?" she shot red laser beams out of her eyes and shouted "DAMN RIGHT I AM THROWING HIS ASS OUT. WE GOT THREE KIDS TOO. FUCK HIM!" the passerby was all, "oh. i was joking ... this is awkward ... guess i'll be on my way." and what did i do? i ducked my head and pretended like nothing unusual was happening all over my stoop-area--that where i come from people throw their adulterous wife-beating druggie spouses out by dumping the contents of their closet on the street in broad daylight while screaming obscenities all the time--and i went into my house desperately hoping that i wouldn't be caught on tape for next week's episode of "COPS: Your Classy Brooklyn Neighbor Edition." i snuck inside and listened as he came home, found his clothes on the sidewalk, and yelled at her. she yelled back. no audible evidence of violence going down, but i definitely found myself looking up the NYC domestic abuse hotline and calling a friend of mine with ties to Child Protective Services ... and carefully charting the rapid decline in the value of my once very expensive home.
the next day, we got the coup de grace: i came home from work just as some skinny teenager in a hoodie was slinking out my neighbor's house. nothing suspicious about that. i walked into my living room and picked up my child. the sitter says: "hi. your neighbor is dealing drugs out of his house." apparently several times throughout the day, cars had pulled up in front of the building and idled for just a few minutes as a shady-looking occupant darted in and then out.
ah, precisely what we were looking for in a place to raise our child. it's a wonderful day in the neighborhood, y'all. come visit. bring housewarming gifts. something homey like, you know, pepper spray.