We’re lucky enough to share the bedroom wall with the hallway of our next door neighbor. And you guys know that by “lucky” I mean the exact opposite. I’m exaggerating a bit – there haven’t been any major incidents or samples of neighborly love, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. But then what are blogs for if not complaining about the minute aspects of your daily life to complete strangers?
The neighbor in question is an old man who lives with his two cats. Not the friendly reminds-me-of-my-Grandpa type. He’s more like Mr. Wilson in Dennis the Menace type. Probably a warm heart inside, but well hidden under A SHELL OF POLAR ICECAP. He won’t even acknowledge your “hellos”. Also, if his apartment door is ajar so that his cats can go out and stretch their paws a bit on the hallway, he will quickly close it as soon as he hears us walk outside of our apartment. Not a very communicative fella’.
But let’s get back to the story that’s meant to illustrate the title of this post. Remember when I was telling you we had to make a hole in our ceiling for this lamp? Well, as you may probably not know (since I trust you’ve got better things to do than enquire about the composition of the layer that’s keeping your upstairs neighbors from falling on your head) the ceiling is a very difficult area of an apartment to drill a hole into. Because it’s made of concrete. The tool you’d need to pierce that concrete is a hammer drill, or the fist of the Incredible Hulk, none of which are a part of D’s arsenal.
But resourceful guy that he is, he quickly improvised. A hammer and a drill bit (thank you Wikipedia for telling me the name of the swirly part) would simulate the percussive tool.
You probably did know this one already, but I’ll just say it anyway. Hitting a concrete ceiling with a hammer makes a helluva noise! So loud that you could probably hear it three floors above and three floors below and wonder if it’s the universe getting back at you for dating all those douchebags in college.
Now mind you, it was 5pm when the noises from hell began resounding in our building. 5pm on a Sunday. And not 10 seconds go by that we hear a tapping on our bedroom wall. D doesn’t really care, since it’s in the afternoon, and continues hammering undeterred. Same tapping 1 minute later. Same determination to make that hole. Then after another minute the old man shouts at us from his balcony, right beside our bedroom window “What are you doing? I’m trying to sleep”.
“It’s 4 in the afternoon” says D.
“Well, I’m working. And you’re bothering me”. What a load of BS!
“This will take me about 30 more minutes. I can stop now if you want and I’ll resume later”. See the diplomacy and sheer determination here? He could have stopped the war between Greece and Sparta, my husband.
Naturally this is all it takes. The neighbor weighs the possibilities and quickly informs us of his decision: “Ok, finish your work now, but don’t let this happen again”.
At this point I figured D was quite pleased with his well-deserved victory. And an outgoing guy that he is he took the opportunity to reinforce his friendship with the neighbor. By asking him to borrow some tools. As in “yes, I’ll disturb you on a Sunday afternoon, and just to show me that you’re ok with that would you mind lending me your power tools?”
The thing he asked for at first was a tronçonneuse, which is this
A chainsaw. HE ASKED FOR A CHAINSAW. To cut through all the barriers that lay between them. And possible the bedroom wall. If that doesn’t show what warm-hearted people we are, I don’t know what will.
D realized he’d made a mistake and that he’d used the wrong French word. A tronçonneuse was probably a bit too drastic. He meant to say “une perceuse”, which is something more humane.
But no, the man didn’t have either. And even if he did, I doubt he would have lent them to a guy that as far as he knew couldn’t tell the difference between a chainsaw and a hammer drill.
There’s also this Asian guy in our building, probably in his late 30s or maybe early 40s. I once took the elevator with him and all of a sudden between the 1st and 2nd floor he started talking. To me? Not sure, although we were the only two people in the elevator… “So do you think the internet is bad? I think it is. I mean Google just stores all your personal info in databases and…”. Thank God I live at the 3rd floor! He might not be completely off the right track, but come on! It kind of scared me.
And it doesn’t stop here. I saw him at the supermarket yesterday. Again, he started talking. This time, I am sure it wasn’t to me. Or anyone else in a 10 foot radius for that matter. “Oh, boy! That Sigourney Weaver. Can you imagine what plastic surgery can do nowadays?”.
Needless to say, I will not be sharing the elevator with this guy ever again. Unless I run out of ideas for blog posts, in which case I’ll probably approach him saying “So, where do you stand on Peak Oil?”