Try as I may, I am no Alice Cooper. I have never tried to be Alice Cooper. I should clarify that. What I am is a nice guy, no doubt about it, and I seem to accomplish that without trying.
Ask my downstairs neighbor, however, and I am a very bad man. After all, I let my friend walk the 10 feet from my living room to the front door this past Saturday night in her heels. For the second time in this young year, my neighbor complained about those 3-4 little steps that seem to disturb my disturbed neighbor. This time, she issued a formal complaint to the property manager of the condominiums that I live in.
Normally, I would know about the complaint because the property manager would call me to get my side of the story. I know the routine by now as it has happened too many times already, more than I have reported here. With all of her formal complaints, shrieked complaints, rants, love letters taped to my front door, visit to the condominium board meeting to complain (I had lived in my condo less than a month then), I know that management procedure is to notify me of the complaint. Except this time, that is not what happened.
Yesterday afternoon, I called our property manager to ask if there is anything that I am required to do to remedy the large and numerous icicles hanging across the back of my condo. Between last Friday and Sunday, we had over 12 inches of snow in our part of Chicagoland. Due to the way my condos are built, which is without ceiling insulation, ice dams form. When we have extreme weather like we just had, ice is a real problem. The property manager thanked me for calling, advised that there was a crew removing the icicles over the garages and courtyard entrances. If I could knock down the icicles that I could reach, it would be greatly appreciated, she told me. There was a pause and I could sense her grinning on the other side of the phone.
You have a second floor condo, correct? (yes) Your friendly neighbor sent us another complaint about you this week. Want to guess what it was about? (heels) Bingo. I didn’t think this one was worth contacting you, but since you called I have to tell you. I just filed it in her already thick file of complaints.
How considerate of her.
No reaction was the best course of action. After all, my mad neighbor has cried wolf so many times that no one takes her complaints seriously. I tried to purge it from my mind, dismiss the complaint for the silly mean thing that it is. I wish that I had the personality that allows that to happen. I don’t (surprise, surprise). However, I vowed to ignore the temptation to react. It was truly a WWJD moment for me, except I really think that Jesus probably would just call my neighbor to him, cure her of her madness, and the world would be right again. I am not God.. not even close.. and more often than I like, I do what is contrary to what God wants from me or for me.
I tried. As I walked past her door on the way to my place, I waved my fingers in her direction. BE HEALED. The fingers probably should have been pointed at my own head.
As I walked through my front door, the little devil on my shoulder whispered just think about what it would feel like to stomp your way through your place just once. Hmmm… that WOULD feel good. I tried it. STOMP STOMP STOMP. I could feel the vibration, knew that it was likely shaking her walls. I could hear her shriek. It felt very, very satisfying to hear that shriek.
As the evening wore on, my single goal became to aggravate my downstairs adversary. I polled Facebook to get ideas, with some excellent suggestions offered by friends with big devils on their shoulders. The thing was, I already know how to aggravate my neighbor. After all, she has given me plenty of detailed information about her dislikes over the past year. All evening, I stomped around my place, flushed the toilet every 15 minutes, ran the sink disposal longer than required when I washed my dishes, ran the dish water scalding hot because it makes the pipes shake. I even devised a way to make the sound of heels on my wood parquet dining room floor — two small fireplace logs struck against the floor. That one evolved into a fireplace log tap dance after a time or two. The thing is, I knew where the evening was headed. Once she had the right cause, she would call the police. She had done it to the previous owner of my condo.
It happened. At 1:30 this morning, I made a potty trip, flushed, turned the shower on hot and let it run, did a little log dance in the dining room.. and paused with an evil sneer as the shrieks rose delightfully from below. I turned off the shower, returned to bed, waited to hear the police car pull up out front.
2 AM brought a light knock on my front door. I already knew that it was officer friendly. I dressed, answered the door, invited the two officers in. They asked if I was Steve, asked if I live alone, then explained why they were there. The officer who did most of the talking was stern, advised me that my actions were childish. I nodded in agreement.. he was very correct and I knew it when the evening began that I was being childish… and I was also fed up. This laid back, nice guy was fed up and tired of being Mister Nice Guy.
If you don’t hear from me for a few days, please bail me out!