“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…
…a beautiful day for neighbors, would you be mine? Could you be mine?” Oh, Mr. Rogers. How you and your pastel cardigans so sweetly deceived us in into believing one day we would grow up and have lovely neighbors just like you sang about. Say what you will but: “I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you, I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you” couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let me introduce you to the collection of personalities that I so luckily happened to rent an apartment next to here in Spain:
Exhibit A: Floor 6 Apartment F
This man is the perfect example of a quiet unassuming neighbor during the daytime. I don’t hear a peep from him. But, as the sun sets and night falls around us, I prepare for the war he’s about to unleash through his mouth and nostrils.
What, you didn’t hear that? Well, that’s how it was illustrated in cartoons when Donald Duck battled sleep apnea. Since it’s nearly impossible for you to know exactly what these wall-shaking, earth-shattering snores are like, picture a dragon choking on his own fireballs or an enraged lion. No I’m not being dramatic, and yes it’s that bad. Remind me to invest in some earplugs for my own sanity.
Exhibit B: Floor 4 Apartment A
This kind gentleman extended the warmest of welcomes on day 1 of living in my new apartment. Think about when you first move in to a new place: you’re excited, curious about your new neighbors…but this man shot it all to hell in one fell swoop. I just so happened to peer out the window (which coincidentally looks into Exhibit B’s apartment) and attempted to stifle the scream that probably would have accounted for a burnt testicle or two. That’s right, this man was cooking butt-ass naked (with hot oil!) in his kitchen. Let’s just say that I’ve been avoiding looking out a certain window ever since.
Exhibit C: Floor 5 Apartment E
In case I haven’t made it clear, I’m in the south of Spain. That means the people here feel some fairly strong ties to flamenco. Flamenco is pretty fascinating to watch, the women stomp around with authority and grace, swishing their dresses and clicking their heels, all while maintaining an almost painful-looking expression on their faces. However, what is considered the ‘heart and the soul’ of the flamenco performance are the singers. They sing about love lost, death, sickness…all rather morbid things.
One day, I heard this sort of strangled wailing coming through the walls. Was the TV turned up too loud again? Nope, I had discovered that apparently my neighbor believes she is a flamenco singer. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if it was only for a few minutes, because believe me, it was more than entertaining. But this woman wouldn’t stop. She sang the same few verses over and over and OVER:
“En laaaa esquinitaaaaaa te esperooooooo, en la esquinitaaaaaaaaaaaa. Chiquillaaaaa como no vengaaaaaaaaassss??”
Let me remind you, flamenco is considered an artform in Andalucía.
So there you have it. Now really, won’t you be my neighbor (please)?