Few things throw off the quiet, suburban life more than an unruly neighbor. Ours was named Josh — we nicknamed him “Beez-y”¹ — and he was the definition of unruly.
For him, breakfast was served sometime around 3pm, dinner around 12am, and the street our condo was on promptly turned into a night club (population: 1) right around 1:30am. He was a 30 year old, once-hip-hop suburban kid that moved out, got a job in the movie industry, and then moved back in with his parents. Most of the noize was related to the fact that he was 30, required a certain amount of freedom that he couldn’t afford so, instead of taking out his aggression in clubs downtown, he took it out on his parents and neighbors.
Amanda and I’s peaceful beginning as a newlywed couple had begun. Only. Not so much.
I had been living in the condo with a roommate for at least three months before we got married. I knew Beez-y fairly well and he meant no harm. In fact, he seemed quite loyal, always asking if he could help me with This or That, or if I wanted to come over and watch The Game. I had to explain to him on more than a few occasions that I’m not really one to watch The Sports. But he knew I was young, probably bored, and potentially broke, so I appreciated his invitations.
I don’t think I once took him up on an offer, though, preferring instead to sit inside and work on Proxart, or write.
Regardless, I was included in on his night-time garage raves; whether I wanted to be or not. And we were generally cordial.
A few weeks after Amanda and I got home from our honeymoon, I found a note on our door upon returning from a morning run. The note said that the condo we were renting had been put up for auction, and bought. The new owner wanted us out within sixty days, and he had a laundry list of other demands that we had to meet as well in order to stay for even that long.
One day soon after while I was outside, Beez came up to me and told me that he saw the note on the door, and that he was sorry. He also said that he would gladly put glue in the keyhole of the door after we moved out. I thanked him for his creativity, and told him that I was sure we wouldn’t meet anyone else like him, no matter where we moved.
Now we live across town, in a much smaller apartment, a one bedroom.
Gone is my home office, replaced by a couple couches and a lack of productivity. I have to get out of the house for that. Gone are the unruly neighbors. In fact, the neighbors one floor below us seem to think that we’re the unruly ones. Apparently Bob Dylan and laughing are a bit too much.
When I walk past the neighbors at our new place, instead of getting a look of awkward knowing like we did at the condo, I get a look of awkward unknowing. None of us have ever met, shaken hands, or traded Christmas cookies. The complex doesn’t seem to really lend itself to that.
One day this year, while grocery shopping, I felt a tap on the shoulder and turned around to see Beez-y looking Beezier than ever, wearing his signature running shorts, knee-high white socks, sandals, a tank top and missing his two front teeth again². Being that we, mostly, saw one another at night and he was, usually, already slightly drunk, I was surprised he remembered me at all.
Still, he felt the need to let me know that things were still off the hiz-ook up on Plum Canyon, and that they missed seeing Amanda and I around, even if we didn’t talk much. I told him we missed them too. That, at our new place, we hadn’t even met our neighbors, and it probably had to do with the fact that they weren’t the type to throw midnight parties. We both laughed, and I told him that, hopefully, I’d see him around.
Before I left, though, I just had to ask… And, yes, he had glued the door’s keyhole shut. Apparently they had to remove the door and replace it entirely.
Good neighbors are hard to find.
¹Slang for “female dog.” It was a word he used often.
²The missing teeth was an on-again, off-again thing. Sometimes he’d have all of his teeth on Monday, and they’d be gone again on Wednesday. Strangest thing.