Monday, November 13, 2006

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please...
Won't you please?
Please won't you be...
My neighbor?

No. Really. Please? I have the worst freakin' neighbors in the world. Seriously. It's the house right next door. And I live in a row-home, so it's OMFGRIGHTNEXTDOORWALLTOWALLONTOPOFUS.


I don't even know where to begin to describe the horror that is my next-door neighbor. About eight months ago, we started noticing some shady-looking people traipsing in and out of their house. Todd called them "hobos." It was actually really funny, at first. They DID look like hobos. One time, I saw one straggly guy go in there with a banjo. I laughed for about three days. They would play music and sing and laugh and whatever. Fine.

Then one night we noticed they had their stereo on REALLY LOUD, and I think it was Prince's Let's Go Crazy or 1999 playing. Odd choice of music for hobos, especially since I last saw them with a banjo and a harmonica. Unless...they were having a...


Oh yes. That's right. I couldn't make this up if I tried, dear readers. Yeah, so.... That's about all I want to say about that.

So we started calling them "Hobo Orgy" whenever we referred to them. Why? A) because it's funny and B) because it's so utterly bizarre! It was never really that bad, just kind of weird and funny in a shake-your-head kind-of way. So we spent all summer listening to their random acts of hoboness and such. Later in the summer, we started to suspect that some shady shit was going down in that house---way shadier than any hobo orgy could ever be.

Then one day --- a Friday --- in late August, I was off from work. I planned to go to a few car dealerships to look at some new, more fuel-efficient cars so I could unload my crappy car. (It's a 2003 Saturn Ion. I had a Saturn SL2, which I adored. These new Saturns leave a lot to be desired, let me tell you....) Anyway, I was outside spiffying up my car, which was parked right out front. This woman, who I'd never seen before, comes out of the Hobo Orgy house: a petite, slim woman with frosted blond hair worn up in a pony tail. She looked TIRED. I mean like totally beat. I cringed as she started up a conversation with me, during which she identified herself to me, but I am changing the name to protect all hobos around the world. So let's Here's the gist of the conversation:

JB: Man, that's a nice car.
Me: Yeah, thanks. It's ok.
JB: It's like a nice size and all. It looks brand new! What kind of car is that, anyway?
Me: It's a 2003 Ion. Actually, I am trying to get rid of it. That's why I'm cleaning it up out here. Heh.
JB: Damn, really? What's wrong with it?
Me: Nothing. Other than that it gets really crappy gas mileage.
JB: How much do you want for it?
Me: Well, I am still making payments, so I need to trade it in with a dealer.
JB: Ohhh. Yeah. How much do you owe on it?
Me: Hmmm...about $5000. But it's worth about $8200.
JB: Dang. That's a sweet car.
Me: [Wishing the skies would open and torrential rain or hail or a plague of locusts would come down so I can END this conversation!]
At this point, Jo-Beth got off her step, moved across the street, and sat on a step there, facing our houses.
JB: I wish I could afford to buy it from you. My name's Jo-Beth, by the way.
Me: Oh...I'm Gina.
JB: Yeah, see, I had a car once. A really nice car. It was a 2004 Ford Taurus. God, I loved that car....
Me: Why did you get rid of it?
JB: Well...I didn't. See, one night I got pulled over for driving erratically or something. And I was like FUCKED UP on drugs. So that caused them to search the car, and they found stuff. And I got arrested and put in jail.
Me: Oh...that's...a shame....
JB: So yeah, it was either pay like $5000 to get the car out of impoundment or pay for the lawyer to get me out of jail.
Me: Yeah, what can you do, huh? [I was actually incredulous that she was sharing this information with ME.]

Then after some more idle chat about cars, her cellphone rang, and she went inside. Thank Christ!

Later that same day, after a rather ho-hum visit to the Nissan dealership, Todd and I were playing Warcraft. It was about 2:00 pm, or so. Todd was in the basement and I had the laptop upstairs in the living room. We started hearing loud, crashing noises from Hobo Orgy house. It sounded like they were smashing furniture against the walls. That, or a herd of rhinoceros on crack was running through the house. I said out loud: "What the crap are they DOING in there?! Sounds like they are playing frickin' Jumanji." New nickname: Jumanji House!

Then we heard a woman screaming in tandem with the crashing and banging. Jo-Beth, I assume. Her blood-curdling screams were mingled in with the voices of at least two different male voices. We couldn't tell what was happening. Were they beating the living crap out of her? Or was she merely throwing shit around? Or were they, indeed, playing Jumanji? At any rate, I was scared for her. So we called the cops. The cops came and everything settled down in there for a little while, at least --- and by "a little while" I mean a couple of hours. By dinner time, they were at it again: banging, smashing, yelling, crashing, etc.

So we've lived for a few months now with Jumanji Hobo Orgy house. In the last month or so, things have gotten much worse. Yes, WORSE. I couldn't tell you how old Jo-Beth is. She could be 45, but she she could just as easily be be a really well-worn 25. The "man of the house," so-to-speak, also looks older than he probably is. We have him pegged at around age 45, but again, he could be younger. His name is...uh...Luke. Anyway, we've noticed several very young (say 18-23), very scary-looking guys going in and out of the house next door at all hours. Whenever they are in there, raging, incoherent arguments ensue, complete with Jumanji sound effects. We've put our ears to the wall with a glass to get a better listen to what's going on. Usually, we end up hearing mostly unintelligible yelling and cursing, peppered with some rather absurd words and phrases. For example, one time, Todd was sure he heard: "cursing...yelling...yeah, get that ass...cursing...blabber...get that condom on...blabber...cursing...stool softener...yelling...." No female voices. Not kidding. So then we were like, "Oh swell, it's...


Sigh. Then they do other bizarre things. Such as, run the vacuum for three hours at a time and/or at 1:00 in the morning, block the upstairs master-bedroom window by propping up a large picture and mirror in front of it, are awake at all hours of the day; they never seem to sleep, etc., etc. Lately, Todd has had to call them at the wee hours of the morning to ask them to lower their music or television, or both, since they often have both media going at the same time. A prime example:

A couple of weeks ago, we were kept up ALL night by their music, TV, vacuum, and general hoboness. At one point they turned the volume way up on both some Luther Vandross song and Me So Horny, playing at the same freakin' time! It was so loud it that it sounded like Luther had risen from his grave and was standing in our bedroom singing with full accompaniment. And did I mention it was 3:00 am? Yeah, it was three freakin' o'clock in the morning. Todd and I bickered about what to do about this intolerable situation for a half hour. He decided to call them. No answer. He went and rang their doorbell. Three times. No answer. We were at our collective wit's end. What's left to do? Call the cops, again. So we did. About three minutes later, our phone rings. It's Luke from next door. Our number showed up on his caller ID. The conversation went something like this:

Todd: Hey, it's Todd next can you PLEASE lower your stereo?
Luke: Oh, yeah, hey man! Well you know I'm just in here with my girl and we're getting romantic so you gotta play that Luther Vandross, y'know!
Todd: Um, yeah, but dude, it's 3:30 in the morning.
Luke: Oh yeah, sorry, man. We'll go lower it. How's that?
Todd: Uh...a little more. These walls are like paper-thin or something.
Luke: Ok, how about now?
Todd: Ok that's good. Thanks, man.
Luke: No problem, man!

We let out a sigh of relief, and settled into the bed to finally --- at long last --- get some sleep. Ahhh.... OH SHIT! THE COPS ARE COMING! Note for future reference: When you call the police, you cannot undo that action. Just remember that. They were coming. Todd said, "I gotta call him back to tell him." Luke was surprisingly calm and understanding when we told him that we called the cops on him. He actually said to Todd, "Yeah, it's ok. I've dealt with them before. They've come out here for other things...." I can only imagine.

Last night we were jilted out of sleep at about 12:45 am because Luke next door decided to repeatedly POUND SOMETHING WITH A HAMMER. I thought he was going to break through our bedroom wall. We waited about ten minutes, and he stopped. We fell back to sleep. About a half hour later, we were, once again, awakened from a sound sleep by the same hammering. Todd, fuming, gets on the phone and calls him:

Todd: Dude...
Luke: I know, I know! I just have two more nails left and then I'm done! I promise!
Todd: ...Ok.

What the fuck? I mean seriously? How can he think it is in any way justifiable to hammer nails into God-only-knows-what at 1:30 in the morning? Any normal person would know that this is unacceptable. That's why we think they are involved in some serious drugs over there. Their behavior is not only rude and inconsiderate, but also erratic, senseless, and bizarre.

Todd woke up one morning after a particularly rough night and while still laying in bed simply uttered, "Murder. Death. Fire." It was pretty funny, but also a real testament to the importance of having even just a halfway-decent neighbor. So if you who are reading this out there in blogland have a great neighbor, or a good one, or even an ambivalent one, then thank whatever higher being you believe in for that rather overlooked and unappreciated gift.


everythingyoutouch said...

lol my favorite part of that is when she says, "i was like FUCKED UP ON DRUGS." LOL what a crackhead!!

Anonymous said...

OMG and I thought my hillybilly neighbours were bad! They're positively tame compared that your story!

Katie J said...

I'm sorry for you, but OMG that is funny. Jumanji Hobo Orgy House. Funny. Sorry.

The verification word for this comment is "acqusfin". I believe that means to aquire a fin while swimming.

Gina said...

I know. It IS funny! Last night they had "company" who decided it was too much trouble to parallel park, so they just left the car parked in the middle of the street. Yes, completely blocking the street. Nice.

My verification word today is "oymtry," which soudns like a fitting exclamation for me, as in, "Oymtry to deal with my neighbors!"

Beth said...

And I thought barking dogs were bad! You share a hilarous story that is oh, so sad. Gina and Todd, why not move to the burbs and be our neighbors?

Marsha Brofka-Berends said...

I've been trying to get them to do that, Beth! So far, no luck. But maybe the crazy neighbors will drive them to it!

Gina said...

Let's see, it's now 11:10 pm on Friday, November 17th.

And they are hoboing it up to the max next door.

I think someone just hurled an armoire down the least that's what it sounded like.

I'll take it. Look, anything but the singing and/or hammering at 1:30 am.