We have been living in our current digs for some years now. The other evening as I was preparing dinner, I had the balcony door open and was enjoying the fresh summer air when I heard the neighbors on their balcony talking. It was at this point that I began reflecting on the fact that after all of this time we have befriended none of the neighbors. Goal sustained.

I suppose one could call us antisocial. I would not go that far as Elise is much more outgoing than I am. Also I would not say that she is reserved, as she is quite forthcoming in her opinion, which is a trait I have always admired. Perhaps “people skeptic” would be a good description. I, on the other hand, am just a dick. Although I like to think that the friends that I manage to have would say that I do in fact treasure our friendship. You see I simply need a better reason to befriend a person other than the fact that he/she happens to pay for a living space that is juxtapositional to mine.

Instead of actually introducing ourselves to the neighbors, we have come to enjoy speculating wildly about who they are and what kind of lives they might lead. I think this started by us noticing that for the first year or so we never saw any signs of life from the other side of the balcony. At this point I should explain that we share a balcony with our neighbors. It is divided down the middle by a wall that reaches about half way up to the ceiling, which means we can not see anything on the other side asides from the tops of the windows of their apartment. With this limited view we were able to see ever so rarely the glow of some light from inside.

Naturally having seen so few traces of them, the only conclusion to which one could come was that they were either:

  1. Drug dealers
  2. Arms dealers

Either way, I wasn’t too particular. It made for interesting discussion between Elise and me as we made dinner, especially if we saw light on during the week as it was almost exclusively on on the weekends (if at all). Must have been a big shipment that came in.

Unfortunately this exotic theory began to become riddled with holes as we started hearing them more often and smelling double-apple tobacco and hearing the blubbering of a hookah. They must be some chilled out gun-runners. Maybe that’s how they roll in Krezlapistan.

This unified theory of the neighbors has since unfortunately gone from enticing, black-market crime novel, to lazy stoner professional students, to just plain fucking annoying. Allow me to explain.

I think everyone knows my appreciation of language. One of the reasons I choose to live in a country where my native language is not the common language is that it makes life more interesting. However, this evening, I heard what sounded like a moron giving an English lesson to a half-wit. Whilst cacophony might be a good explanation of the lingual theater to which I was being treated, that would only describe the sounds that were being produced in this imbecilic intercourse. I would prefer the term language clusterfuck.

I am the first person to agree that in order to learn a language, one needs to simply jump in and start speaking. However, I have never given proper thought to how those people surrounding a person engaging in such an exchange might feel about being forced to overhear it. After hearing things like

Kannst du helpen me?

I have decided that it is quite unpleasant.

Auf english the nouns bist nicht auf End. In english kommen Nouns before End.

It is like an emetic for the brain.

Of course it could be argued that at least we don’t ever actually see these people and rarely do we even hear them. This is not the case of the creepy couple who lives downstairs on the ground floor. They run a little store out of the building and due to that, we always pass the door to their shop, whenever we come home or leave. It is basically the kind of shop where you go to buy a present for someone whom you do not particularly like. During the summer they have samples of their wares set up outside the front door of our building and can often be seen sitting amongst them in the sun. Naturally we exchange the obligatory “hello” with them. Actually, it is only recently that we have been able to elicit an actual, articulated response from the man rather than some sort of forced grunt. I have taken to calling him Lurch, which reflects not only his rhetorical skills, but also his general demeanor. And true to the spirit of everyone’s favorite manservant to the Addams family, he shares his namesake’s eloquence and vivaciousness.

There are times when I feel that I personally should be a bit more outgoing. I like to think that I am not actually a bad guy, rather I just take a bit to come around to new people. However, it could be argued that I have had years to “come around” to our neighbors. Even though I might not be best of friends with our neighbors (and have uttered precious few polysyllabic words to them), I like to think that what matters are the friends I keep, rather than my neighbors, which are important. And they are not one in the same.

On that note, I need to get going. We are about to go out with some friends for the day. With any luck, I won’t run into any of our neighbors on the way out.

One Comment

  1. This provided a much-needed laugh, and I thank you most kindly! (And no, you’re not a bad person. It sounds like a well-developed sense of self preservation to me.)

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