Monday, February 11, 2013

Neighborly Turbulence, Squabbles, and Brouhahas

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Untitled #4 by Alejandro Santiago
We survived another weekend in the Slums of Beverly Hills, but our neighbors barely got through several bouts of restlessness, which led to altercations. Ah, young love, quarreling couples, and struggling artisans.... you remember what it was like being 25 years old, right?

We live in a dingbat, an eye-sore and the bastard child of mid-20th Century mod-architecture, which is a "two-story apartment building with fancy names that promise the good life." Each dingbat is comprised of 6-8 units and synonymous with the Slums of Beverly Hills. We're on a block full of dingbats with dingbats on either side of us and two more on the opposite side of the alley. Dingbats everywhere. One of those adjacent dingbats is undergoing a renovation, which means we hear the shrill screeching metallic sounds wood cutting. During weekdays, the workers arrive around 1pm or so and continue renovations through early evening. It could be worse and they could start at the crack ass at dawn. One of the downsides from working from home means dealing with all the external noises, like landscapers and their leaf blowers starting around 7:50am and continuing through early afternoon. The last two weeks have been particularly rough with nonstop noise from 8am to 6pm echoing through the alleys. Really, the best times to write are 4am to 7:30am, which sucks because I either have to wake up early or stay up super late.

On the weekend you'd expect the ambient noises to settle down because there's no construction or landscaping on the weekends. However, the locals went berserk instead. Sure, at some moments it was entertaining, yet definitely distracting because I had work to do. Maybe it's the drinking water, but two sets of neighbors engaged in vicious screaming matches and they let everyone without earshot know about their domestic upheavals. On Saturday the actress next door went ten rounds with her boyfriend as the two were embroiled in paranoid turmoil. Then on Sunday, the married couple upstairs got at each others' throats in the early afternoon before it escalated early evening. They got so loud at one point that they were drowning out the sound to Battleship... which is one of those terrible action flicks with lots of stuff blowing up. If someone is getting verbally abused louder than a Michael Bay knockoff, then you know you have a problem.

On some level... our quarreling neighbors create a hilarious situation for Nicky and I. It's free entertainment, while I'm sure it's hell for them. We usually stand in my office by the window giggling like little kids listening to the actress hurl taunts and insults like grenades. Sometimes I feel bad about writing about them here or occasionally tweeting about #hipsterneighborsfighting. Then again, if our neighbors cannot conduct themselves like adults have have a civil disagreement without acting like a raving lunatic or conceited adolescent, then they should be ridiculed! Arguing with your boyfriend/girlfriend is not pleasant, especially if you live with them, but it's disgusting when they're channeling their inner whiskey tango, wanna-be reality star.

The first few minutes of any outburst is funny, but anything after that is sad, and anything prolonged is disturbing. Sure Nicky and I get in a few blowups once or twice a year, but we've been together for seven years and we're practically married, so anyone who's married will tell you they'd love to have it that easy and only have a spat once in a blue moon. I'm lucky. We're lucky. It could be a lot worse... and listening to how our neighbors poorly handle their relationships while airing their dirty laundry for everyone to hear makes me realize how fortunate I am that Nicky is a level-headed woman (and tolerant and patient if she puts up with my shenanigans).

We all have problems. That's life, but the most successful relationships involve two people putting their egos aside and actively listening to one another. You don't have to scream if the other person is listening. Being able to work through your problems demonstrates emotional maturity, but it's obvious that our neighbors handle the simplest conflicts like pampered children. I'm surprised both relationships lasted as long as they have (I actually set the over/unders at the end of this post). Unfortunately, both of my neighbors are self-involved women in their early 20s (one actress, one violin player) who get off by flipping out on their guys and embarrassing them in front of the neighbors. Maybe it's a way to get back at their fathers? Maybe it's a control thing? Maybe they had bad childhoods and like to scream? Maybe it's how spoiled little girls act when they can't get their way? Maybe they're taking out their shortcomings and failures on someone else? After all, Hollywood is a brutal town and constant rejection wears you down.  and pokes holes in your soul. Trying to make it in LA puts an incredible amount of stress on you and your loved ones, which is why many relationships have been ruined while pursuing and falling short of fulfilling "the dream."

To complicate matters for Nicky and I, not only are both neighbors fighting... but one of the hipsters next door has been learning the ukulele since October, which is utter torture for everyone who has to hear the inharmonious sounds. That hipster (we'll just call him Colby) plays the ukulele in his bathroom, most likely for better acoustics, but that location cannot hide the naked truth that he's horrible after practicing for 25 hours a week over the last few months. That's like 300 hours, at least. You'd think Colby would be somewhat decent. Part of me wants to applaud him on his tenacity to learn that tiny string instrument because so many people today are weak-minded and give up if anything is remotely challenging. To their credit, the actress and the violin player are constantly honing their craft. She sings constantly -- in the shower, in the bedroom, in the living room, meanwhile the violin player often practices within ninety seconds of coming home from work. The ladies both dedicated to the arts, yet you don't see the same passion they have for their individual talents then they have for their partners.

Anyway, Colby is a shitty ukulele player, but at least he's practicing as much as he can. Too many of us were coddled and spoiled as children so the moment there's any resistance or a whiff of a struggle, they get the fuck out of dodge. It's easier to sit on the couch and become a TV zombie, or troll celebrities on Twitter, or act like a dickbag by starting flame wars on internet forums... than it is to try to learn an instrument or create anything from scratch. Then again, how fucking long does it take for someone to learn how to play a fucking Vampire Weekend song? It's not that hard... three fucking chords at the most, but trying to play it day after day after day and failing is completely insufferable. That's how the CIA tortures jihadists. No more water boarding. It's a couple of hipsters armed with ukuleles.

Back to the over-dramatic damsels causing their own distress...

The actress loves drumming up her own drama.... both real or imagined. If she hates her boyfriend so much, why doesn't she break up with him? And why does he stay with her crazy ass? She's cute in a girl-next-door way, but by no means smoking hot. It's a twisted relationship for sure and I haven't really figured out what's up aside from some sort of "daddy issues" she has yet to resolve. It sounds like he sponges off her mostly, or he has some sort of wealthy relative to borrow money from.

Anyway, the actress went ballistic on Saturday morning. I settled in to work in my office when the screaming began around 10am. She was pissed that he was doing too much blow that morning. Last week it was his drinking and they got into a huge dust up. I think he gave up booze for a bit after she wigged out last week, but on Saturday morning he was getting jacked up on nose candy. If I was her boyfriend, I'd be stoned to the tits or cooking on four or five Valium because that's the only way you can handle someone that intense. It's all or nothing with her. She's one of those types of overly dramatic girls with intimacy issues who is constantly breaking up and getting back together with her boyfriend... and I'm talking about this process happening two or three times a day.

The actress woke up in a bad mood and she went right for the jugular. "You insane disaster of a man! My dad was right about you!"

If the rest of our neighbors were still sleeping, they were awoken by the actress berating her boyfriend. It was a reprise of previous arguments... she wanted to discuss her feelings like her blown voice audition, and he ignored her by... 1) watching TV, or 2) dicking around on Facebook, or 3) playing video games. That morning, he was powdering his nose and looking online at used car site.

Every twenty minutes or so, she'd retreat to the bathroom and sob before composing herself and going back out for another round to remind her boyfriend that he was a lowlife piece of shit. This happened four or five times before the screaming escalated to a frightening point when you heard slapping sounds. They were on the cusp of coming to blows a few instances, but that particular time you heard a WHACK! Yeah, she smacked him. It got so bad that I wondered if anyone else had called the cops yet? She totally egged him on and practically begged to get slapped back. Yeah, she's a total head case and strikes me as the type of girl who likes to be strangled during sex, or some sort of freaky asphyxiation thing.

I heard her smack him a few times. WHACK! WHACK!! That wasn't the first time that happened. She's gotten super drunk before and tried to pick fights by whaling on him. To his credit, he always absorbed the blows and never laid a hand on her (because if he did connect a punch, she'd totally lose her mud and she'd be screaming to everyone to call 911). But one of these days he's going to lose his shit and tag her a few times and then the cops will really show up and haul him off to jail, which is the last thing a struggling actor wants to deal with like missing auditions because you're sitting in lockup with illegal aliens and then faced with looming legal bills because of a useless domestic dispute.

Their argument lasted three hours and by that point, she threatened to quit her job and quit acting and was going to do nothing but sit on her ass. She insisted he get the fuck out, and I guess he got sick of her (or ran out of coke) before he finally stormed off. Of course, he wasn't out the door for ninety seconds before she went into the bathroom and started wailing and moaning. Then she called him up. I could hear her leave the first voice mail, which she screamed at the top of her lungs...


The actress is totally nuts. She wanted him to leave and as soon as he left, she begged him to come back. Eventually she got him on the phone. I assume he said something like, "I won't come home until you're calm." Because she kept saying, "I CAN'T CALM THE FUCK DOWN UNTIL YOU COME HOME YOU INSENSITIVE ASSHOLE!!!"

It was a lose-lose proposition for him. I dunno why he drove back. I woulda kept going and never went back. When he walked back into the apartment ten minutes later, she quickly apologized before things got ugly again. The commotion took another deviant turn and the two resumed about round of name calling. At that point, I got tired of it all and I tuned it out.

On Sunday, the upstairs neighbors got into their own squabble. They're a young married couple. Nicky is convinced that he's a closet homo and she's someone who was so blind to reality that she married a gay man. I guess after a year or so of marriage she is finally realizing her mistake, but instead of confronting him about it, they get into other petty arguments due to her passivity. I can understand why he gets pretty pissed off at her because he's working full-time to support the both of them while she works part-time, and then she gets irked at something pretty stupid which escalates into a verbal lashing.

She did most of the yelling. She always does. In my notes I refer to her as the "frigid bitch", which is not really fair and somewhat misogynist, but it makes Nicky laugh so if she's not offended then I have nothing to worry about unless she happens to stumble upon this blog... and if that happens, then so be it. She deserves to be embarrassed for expressing her furor like a 15-year old girl who just got grounded. And her husband should be ashamed. No one deserves to be spoken down to like that. I really want to smack him upside his head and tell him to man up and tell his wife that she's being disrespectful.

The actress next door is simply bat-shit crazy, but the girl upstairs is an annoying whiner. She complains about everything. At least the actress has some sort of dramatic flair and you could sense she's either going to break up or stab her boyfriend within the month, meanwhile the upstairs neighbor has as much depth as one of the self-absorbed, highly-entitled characters on Girls.

I watched basketball all Sunday morning and afternoon. It was the first weekend without football, but I bet on four different NBA games. I was heavily vested in the action, which meant I hurled cuss words at the TV and called Joey Crawford a fucking shit-bag on more than one occasion. I have a theory that my upstairs neighbor gets irked on Sundays after she hears me screaming at the TV while watching sports, which is what normal guys do but my "guy behavior" triggers her suspicions that her husband is a closet homosexual because instead of rooting for the Clippers or Lakers, he'd rather watching Project Runway or Glee reruns.

I'll give the actress a couple of more months before she breaks up with her boyfriend (or stabs him in his sleep). I'd set the line on April 30th for a breakup or shanking. The upstairs married couple? That's a little more complicated. For her sake if he is gay, then I hope they break up sooner than later, like before they have kids. I doubt that will happen, so I can see them keeping up the charade for a few more years unless she catches him playing hide the salami with another dude. Hey, it was a coinflip anyway if their marriage was going to last anyway, but I'll give them 24-25 months max before they embrace the inevitable.

And the shit-weasel hipster next door learning the damn ukulele? Even if you give Colby six more years, he'll still never improve. Fuck him.

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