I’ve not been having a good week. Some new neighbours have moved into the flat below mine, and they stay up a lot later than I do… they don’t seem to understand that volume controls work in two directions, and either Mummy never told them not to slam the door, or they are having problems with sophisticated modern aperture technology, the crashing and banging is beyond belief.
So, after four consecutive nights of being kept awake until two in the morning, I decide it is time to go to the British equivalent of DEFCON 3, and Have A Polite But Firm word with them.
From the sound of it, they’re a youngish couple; I am not vouchsafed an interview with the lady of the house, but have a Non-Hostile But Still Resolute conversation with a dim-witted spiky-haired troglodyte whom I take to be her paramour. And his attitude is one of total denial.
“Noise?” Yes, noise. “At night?” Yes, at night. “It must be the flat next door.” No, it’s definitely you, I’ve made quite sure of that. (The fact that the flat next door isn’t occupied has something to do with it.) “How do you know it’s us?” Because you had your windows open last night and I could hear your television blaring out of them. “Television?” (in tones of hurt incredulity). Yes, television, that thing you have roaring away directly behind you. And could you please not slam doors late at night? “Slamming…?” For a moment, I am convinced he’s going to say they don’t have any doors.
What, in the name of God and all His holy angels, is the point of this? You know you’re making the noise, I know you’re making the noise, there’s only the two of us here, so why are you bothering to lie about it? Do you plan to dazzle me with rhetoric until I doubt the evidence of my own senses? Or are you just practicing to be Minister of Transport? Who do you think you are fooling?
Honestly. What happened to good old-fashioned insincerity?
“Hello, neighbour[sub] you worthless excuse for a proto-simian[/sub]. I’m afraid the noise late at night[sub] we’re not all at art college, you slimy pustule on the backside of existence, some of us have to work for a living[/sub] is bothering me[sub] it would bother any sane person, when did you have your eardrums replaced with Kevlar?[/sub], could you keep it down a bit please[sub] or I will call in the noise abatement officer, who will home in on you like a pillock-seeking missile[/sub], especially when it gets past midnight[sub] let me sleep, you bastard, let me sleep[/sub]?”
“Why, certainly, Mr Wright[sub] you fat git[/sub]. I’m sorry if we’ve bothered you[sub] if you come down to complain, it means I have to look at you, were you born like that, or are you going to sue that plastic surgeon?[/sub], nobody’s complained before[sub] stop whining at me you bastard, I don’t give a toss if you sleep or not[/sub], but now you’ve raised the point[sub] do you anything besides complain? Get a life. Or take sleeping pills, preferably a whole bottle[/sub], we’ll make sure not to bother you[sub] when Hell freezes over we will[/sub].”
“Well, thank you very much[sub] please die of a painful and embarrassing sexually transmitted disease[/sub].”
“No problem[sub] piss off and die you loser[/sub].”
See? Conversations like that form the basis of all civilised discourse. When did we stop having them?