No winners at all

I’ve written once or twice about a particular neighbor in the apartment building next door…

Perpetually drunk, late night angry arguments and other issues that disrupted life for neighbors who live adjacent, constant outside smoking and prone to moods that cause unpleasant conversations when all you’re trying to do is take out the garbage or something, significant other drank herself to death, new roommate to replace S.O. died of an overdose, string of short-term roommates, and new-new roommate who is even drunker and whose drunk acquaintances slammed into another neighbor’s car and ran.

Last weekend I was outside watering my tomatoes and roses when I overheard the two drunk neighbors having a discussion/argument about where they’re going to move to now, how they’re going to pull off the move, why she doesn’t want a one bedroom place, why he can’t understand that she’s just a roommate and doesn’t appreciate him expecting her to replace his dead significant other, and so on.

I knew that our landlady had had discussions with their landlord over the years about the troubles this neighbor caused. I knew that his landlord had felt that getting rid of them and cleaning up the place after would be more expense than he could afford. I also knew that a new guy had bought the building not quite a year ago, and he’s been much more proactive about taking care of the place: replaced all the old windows, that sort of thing.

And I had happened, a couple weeks before, to overhear the new owner explaining to one of the drunk people about why they needed to move the mass of furniture and decorative things and such that they kept putting in what is supposed to be a common walkway.

I thought this new conversation meant they had been evicted. My husband found out it was even more passive than that: the new owner was declining to renew their lease.

Since the significant other died a couple years back, there haven’t been much in the way of arguments that we could hear from our place. Until now.

Since getting the notice that they have to move out, there have been a lot of loud conversations, some angry yelling, the occasional slamming of doors, and the sound of things breaking as one or the other throws things into the garbage containers. Whenever I go outside to take out the garbage or recycle, water my plants, or go down to the laundry room, I get glared at. And they have piled up an impressive amount of junk ranging from boxes to lampshades to cushions for a couch I remember they had hauled away a couple years ago to broken kitchen chairs to a stand up freezer in their reserved parking space.

I feel as if I deserve the glares. I have always tried to be civil to them, haven’t gotten into confrontations with them, I didn’t complain to their landlord (because personally the annoyance has always been very indirect for us). But I was more than slightly happy when I found out they have to leave. I didn’t cheer or comment in any way, but I still feel a bit guilty.

On the other hand, I’ve long felt bad for the people who live above them, and for the string of people who have moved in and then quickly moved out of the place next to them. And it’s quite clear that their landlord (who was stuck with them and their lease when he bought the building about 10 months ago) is going to have his work cut out cleaning up the place after they leave (and who wants to take a bet about how long after their last day they actually depart?).

And since meeting his frail, white-haired mother (who drives over once a week to do some shopping for him because he doesn’t drive), I have felt sorry for her. I don’t know their whole back story—I have been told that she has tried to put him through rehab a few times. I don’t know what it must be like to watch your child drink himself to death over the course of a few decades—or at the very least piss his life away like this.

Not to mention feeling sorry for whoever they wind up living next to after this.

I just have to remember: I can’t fix other people. No one can.

2 thoughts on “No winners at all

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