Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Live In a Neil Simon Comedy

The neighbors, all twenty and thirty somethings, are ridiculous in showing off their stunted growth. Two women who live adjacent to me talk right outside my door. But talking is something normal people do at decibels in the normal range. These two shout at each other standing only three feet away. This noise is strident and irritating and my 1959 steel framed jalousied front door and window make the sound twice as loud.

One of them lives with a cat named Romeo. Romeo is known for being a killer. Anything his size or smaller is prey. This annoys other cat owners who, armed with a sprayer of water, are on watch for the killer. Romeo’s owner is a 30 something woman who uses language much like that of a young child who has a speech impediment and hasn’t quite gotten language down yet. She coos not only with her cat, but also with the rest of the neighbors. At times, I look out to see what small child has come in the gate and see her in the middle of a regression. Regression, as I recall, is a return to an earlier mental or behavioral state, often at the point when emotional maturation has been stopped, in her case, dead in its tracks.

There’s the adorable couple that live three doors down who recently married. She’s from Sweden and is an alcoholic with a flair for loud late night arguments. When her brother arrives to visit, he assumes that we are clothing optional. Her husband is a very nice reformed gambler who did twelve years in prison for several bank robberies to pay off the Mafia he owed a lot of money.

An earlier victim of the two-year old’s tirades tried to warn me with his “Watch out for her.” For three years, I could hear someone call out “CUNT” when she walked by. In turn, she would volley back “FUCK YOU,” inches from my window. This began shortly after I moved in so I suspected this might be a group home for sufferers of Tourettes syndrome.

There’s another gem five doors down who prances around in his shorts and shows off an enormous gut and breasts. Just this morning, I heard a loud, “OH, NO!” right outside my back door. As I opened the door to see what happened, he delivered a loud belch, mere inches from me.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“It’s full of suds. Someone put too much detergent in the machine.”

I slammed my back door and turned on both window air conditioners and fans to drown out my life.

I walked into the living room and sat down to write, but the music from the two-year old’s apartment was so loud I couldn’t concentrate.

If there’s a good side to what goes on here, it’s this: I live in 400 square feet which makes cleaning a snap.

As I'm writing this, I look up from the couch and see the two-year old walking past my window. She's pointing a long, bony middle digit skyward several inches from me. Am I to understand she doesn’t like me?

If it isn’t a Neil Simon play, then it’s Melrose Place. And maybe I’m the one who is regressing.

I close my blinds and my eyes and dream of my own home on an island somewhere south of here.

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