16 August 2007

Civilized neighbors

After years of student dorms and wild apartment buildings, I'm finally living in a grown-up residence. I'm surrounded by adults that work regular hours. Many have pets since the flats are actually bigger than a large closet. I've grown accustomed to polite greetings, friendly smiles and waving tails, and have been comforted by announcements about births and maintenance posted in the lobby. What a civilized bunch!

That all ended recently, however. The man and I, regular runners that we are, had braved the wild rain one evening and come back drenched. We left our running shoes in the hall to dry. The next morning was rushed and one pair remained outside the door. When I returned later that day, the shoes had mysteriously moved several feet away. I shrugged my shoulders, picked them up and brought them inside.

The incident was forgotten until about a week later. It was almost 10 pm, and we were winding down with the television on. The doorbell, shrill and shocking, suddenly sounded. Once. Twice. We looked at each other, awestruck. This never happens, especially at such an ungodly hour (OK, we're old). Epic me immediately imagined horrific scenarios, and I looked around for a potential weapon and recalled the Dutch emergency number just in case.

My man opened the door and was greeted by the sight of a rather intoxicated older woman in the hall. She began loudly in Dutch, and upon his request, switched to slurred English. She chastised him for leaving sneakers in the hall and did her best to verbally ensure it wouldn't happen again. Needless to say, I was pissed. off. Lucky for her my much more reasonable partner had answered the door, as I would have had a thing or to say back.

They live right across from us, and for the first few days I expected a sheepish apology. None came. Weeks have passed, and today they passed me in the hall. I wasn't sure of their identity until I looked her in the eye and found myself faced with a death glare.

What's especially hilarious is that now I realize she is equally as enraged as me - she considers leaving shoes in the hall to be a mortal sin, just as I consider drunkenly yelling at neighbors you have never met as an incredible offense.

Guess I won't be knocking on their door anytime soon to borrow sugar.

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