Monday, November 05, 2012


I'm a little over seventeen thousand words into the NaNoWriMo thing now and have realised that the IKEA office chair we bought a year ago for less than fifty francs is about as comfortable as being folded in a suitcase for long periods.  The back refuses to lean straight, so I end up impersonating a 'less than' sign by the end of the day.

I'm now forty four years old and, in addition to IKEA-acquired back pain was forced to celebrate my birthday a helluva lot earlier than I would have liked thanks to the very uncharacteristic behaviour of the Swiss couple living upstairs from us.

They had a loud party.  At this time last year, Guilliame left a prominent note about his upcoming party sticky taped in each lift, entry door and a copy in everybody's mail box.  Whatever carousing occurred, it occurred without us hearing a thing.

This year, however, they had different plans. No notice but lots of noise.  My guess was that they'd eaten (and drank, clearly) out somewhere and, in the forgivingly warm fug of fondue and booze decided to invite everyone back to their place to continue on.

At midnight, I was driven to the living room.  Not by the party (although the girls could have done me a favour by kicking off their heels. Parquetry floors become painful percussion instruments when stilettos are clacking on them), but by Love Chunks.

He was due to leave for the US the following morning and, perhaps to ease my sadness at his absence on my birthday, his ENT system decided to put on a snoring performance not heard - or suffered - for at least a decade.  No amount of whispered threats, loud sighs or sharp pokes in the back to turn the hell over made a shred of difference to the Angry Elephant Bellowing at a Whipper Snipper sounds he was emitting.

In the living room, the party was kicking on.  Midnight was fine, but at 2am the scraping chairs, loud laughs, screeching giggles and singing Happy Birthday (in English) for the tenth time was officially being classed by my bloodshot eyes as inconsiderate.

My book was fascinating, but not to the extent of blocking out the noise from LC or upstairs.

Then the doof doof started. At 2:30am.  It was high time to grab the front door key and take some action.  

Ratta tatta tatta went my knuckles on his wooden door.  Guilliame opened it to see me with sticky hair, ugg boots and dog breath.  "I've had enough mate. Turn the music off and please be quiet."

'Mate' slipped in from god knows where.  Guilliame was torn - he looked over his shoulder at the chaotic hilarity occurring in his dining room and back at the exhausted old bag in a brown dressing gown standing angrily in front of him.  "Sorry," he said quickly, shutting the door in my face.

Back downstairs, it was a relief to hear the music end.  The chair scraping, yelling and parquetry percussion continued until well after 3am.

Love Chunks' alarm went off at six.  Drowsily, he whispered, "Happy Birthday, love," before turning on the shower.  Milly heard the waking sounds from her bed in Sapphire's room and trotted in to nudge me. "Yeah yeah, I'll take you down for a whizzer."

Passing through the lobby, my aching eyes spied the intercom by the entry door.  

BSSSSSSSST BSSSSSSSST BSSSSSSSST!!  I hammered Guilliame's button to the world-recognised rhythm of 'Do Me A Favour: Drop Dead!" before scooting outside.  If his intercom was anything like ours, it would have drilled through his hungover subconscious and scared the crap out of him.  His heart would have required at least ten minutes of deep breathing and checking the fish eye peep hole to get back to less than a hundred beats per minute again.  Good.

As for blame, he would have had neighbours upstairs, downstairs and to the left and to the right to consider as angry intercom-abusing arse wipes.

For good measure, I went BSSSSSSSST BSSSSSSSST BSSSSSSSST!! on the way back upstairs.

..... was that wrong?


Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I have an embryonic blog post in the making on the perils of living in a terraced house next door to a young man whose rich parents had bought him a house.

He lasted a year and kept Mrs PM and I - and most of the other neighbours - awake with late night parties.

I shall reveal more in that post.

What you did to Guilliame was perfectly acceptable.

I did worse.

I wonder whether you can guess what?




Windsmoke. said...

At least you are passed the half way mark with your writing. No it wasn't wrong because payback is good for someone so inconsiderate.

The Elephant's Child said...

Sounds fair(ish) to me. Too many people have discovered that sleep deprivation is torture. Torturers should get the mercy they showed their victims.
And Happy Birthday. Belated if I am overdue - but heartfelt just the same.

JahTeh said...

You know Kath, I can take any party noise except the doof doof. It should be on the UN's not to be used torture list.
Knowing your luck his door buzzer was probably broken.

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River said...

Not wrong at all. He's probably still wondering who did it. I say, do it again, just for the heck of it.
Do you have earplugs?
17 thousand plus is a LOT of words! and you still have 24 days to go.
Get a new chair.

Kath Lockett said...

Your understanding and support is a relief.

I haven't buzzed him again because they have been eerily quiet ever since. I think that hangovers take days (rather than hours) to recover from when you're older....

ropcorn said...

Happy Birthday! :) And I love how you Aussies add "mate" to everything, even in the mist of a complaint. It makes everything sound so friendly, though that might not always be the intent of course. Hehe.

Jackie K said...

I can't believe someone would have such a loud party in an apartment?! You were not wrong!
Impressive writing progress - deserves a new chair

Lynne said...

Happy Birthday Kath. No it wasn't wrong. After a night like that, any revenge is acceptable. Hope LC is back soon.

Fenstar de Luxe said...

*high five*

Happy Birthday :)

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Ropcorn. You'd be surprised at how menacing the word 'mate' can be at times.... "Now look here MATE!"

River you're right - I think I deserve a new chair!

nuttynoton said...

Agree with ythe others you need a new chair!! Also think what you did is right least they could have done is warn you and invite you! Well done on the book, very dedicated, keep going any comments or help from a reader of short stories is available!

diane b said...

That is why I would never chose to live in an apartment. Although noisy parties can also be heard in the dormitory suburbs. It wasn't a nice way to start your birthday. I hope it got happier as the day progressed. Good on you with the door bell.

wilbo43 said...

Kath, you're turning into a Swiss. That's what Swiss people do. Stew and then take revenge.
Happy Birthday!

Wally said...

No, its not at all wrong to do this.

I've been putting up with this kind of thing about 1 Saturday in 3..4 (on average) for the last 15 years - out here in bogansville.

We might be on a huge block, but so are the other morons who think that because its a big block, they can make a crap load of noise. Fortunately the worst is in the past, and even some of the more moronic nutters around seem to have started holding back a little.

Perhaps thats what my calling the cops at 2, 3, and 4 am does.

You have the advantage of being able to inflict payback - something thats damn near impossible out here in the burbs.

Go for it for all its worth while you can.