• The Duffer's Diary

An Open Letter To My Lovely (if somewhat ancient) Neighbors

What I hear through the floor confuses me. I have questions.



Photo by Kyle Cleveland on Unsplash


Dear F & G, who both live in the flat downstairs,

I hope you’re keeping well. I’m basically writing to let you know that you are genuinely very nice neighbors, and although due to COVID-19 we have only seen each other through the window, or over the yard wall for about a year, I would also like to express my eternal gratitude that you are a massive improvement on “the ones that came before”.

I must admit that we did have our reservations when at first a motley crew of “helpful” family and friends arrived to “move you in” when they seemed better at shouting, arguing, and falling over one another. We were also slightly bewildered by the young man sitting atop your wheelie bin eating fish and chips in his white athletics socks.

“It’s the Clampetts!” we moaned, but I’m happy to say you proved us wrong. However, I do have questions and reflections.

The TV I’m aware that you are both incredibly frail and in your twilight years, and thus you are gradually succumbing to the various iniquities of ageing. I also appreciate that one of the benefits of old age is being able to turn the TV up, as it’s an accepted old person foible and you can get away with that sort of thing.

What I’m curious about is sometimes the levels are so loud that I wouldn’t be surprised if your son and carers don’t have to come round several times a day solely to scrape you off the wall due to the G-forces generated by the volume. I say this because you both weigh about the same as your average 5-year old. Do you own a massive spatula to do the job? Or is it one of those giant flat metal platters that are used to remove pizzas from commercial pizza ovens?

I also have queries about your viewing habits. Often it is Emmerdale, Heartbeat, Eastenders, Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Only Fools and Horses*. However, on other occasions, it’s Pearl Jam or The Prodigy. I am genuinely not complaining but I am very confused.

*UK tv classics on a neverending loop

I would just like to say that I would much rather listen to Eastenders at near dangerous volumes through the floor 16 hours a day than listen to the previous neighbors “amorous adventures”. Although I may accidentally induce a nerve-shredding flashback by recounting this, speaking of “The ones who (literally) came before”, no-one needs to hear a woman of a certain vintage vocally demanding that her carnal needs are met at 10:45 am. Or the son ringing sex chat lines at 4 am.

On the plus side, it did give me some insight into what it would be like to live above an Angry Buffalo breeding programme.

The Dogs At least once a day, a noise meets our ears, not unlike what it would sound like if you were buried alive at the finish line of the Kentucky Derby. Akin to the thundering hoofbeats of the chariot scene from “Ben Hur”.

Firstly, who knew that a slightly ratty and unhinged looking Yorkshire Terrier who should have been called “Fang”, a white poodle with a wayward air, and a henpecked Rottweiler had space to race around the living room in such a compact and bijoux residence?

Secondly, who would bet that it’s not the Rottweiler that’s responsible for making all that clamour, but the two little dogs, barking their tiny demented heads off and audibly running over every available surface in what sounds like miniature lead boots?

Thirdly, I can’t work out how this hasn’t happened yet, but I live in fear of the day when one of the little sods decides to pick one of you up in its teeth and drags you off to be buried in the garden, like an old ham bone. They certainly sound vicious enough.

Granny Wars Another thing I’ve noticed is the fact that Hell hath no fury like an octogenarian scorned. Namely “her from across the road”.

In my middle years, I am striving valiantly to not sweat the small stuff, rise above it and not give a flying fluff about the actions of those around me, unless they are breaking into my car. However, my observations would suggest that the later years are a great opportunity for some to start some major beef with those living close at hand.

There have been malicious and spurious reports to the council, the taxman and the police. There have been parcels of poo through doors. There have been arguments in the street. I have no idea why anyone would feel so compelled to get all up in someone else's business. No clue whatsoever.

I admire your fortitude in pushing back against someone who clearly is incapable of staying in their own lane and marvel at the determination of certain old ladies with too much time on their hands to make trouble for others. I sincerely hope that she pipes down and leaves you alone. And us. No-one needs that shit.

Take care, the ones that live above. x

P.s. Please forgive us for the 9-year-old doing jumping jacks in the middle of the living room above and shaking the light fittings.

This post was originally published on Medium

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Christine Dixon (a.k.a The Duffer's Diary) is a writer based in Northumberland, United Kingdom who specialises in writing about mental health, burnout, history and the oddities of being a mother/woman/parent in a world gone mad.

info@theduffersdiary.com

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