I think we can now say, with certainty, that I have the "Worst Neighbors Ever," even though previous reports of their misdeeds would not qualify them as "worst." The neighbors directly next to us are often loud, but that's nothing in the realm of Worst Neighbors Ever. Apartments 4 and 5 take extra parking spaces, and once the guy in 4 actually parked so that he took up three entire spaces. That's an impressive level of Bad Neighbor-ness. Apartments 1, 3, 4 and 5 routinely play beer pong and exchange homo-erotic exclamations and affirmations ("Dude, if I was gay, I'd totally date you...dude. No, seriously!"). And then there was the night the girl from Apartment 5 sat under my daughter's window and talked to her cat about oral sex* and her boyfriend.
But that, my friends, is bush league compared the recent misdeeds of Apartment 1. It all started about 6 weeks ago. One afternoon, I took Effie out to pee on our "side yard." This side yard is where a seventh apartment would be if there were one (and I thank every possible deity that there isn't because then I'd have two shared walls and can you imagine the bitching I would undertake with that scenario?). But instead of a seventh apartment there is a little, bare ground yard that runs up to the house behind us. In March, the late snowstorm knocked several trees down, and those still haven't been cleaned up by the landlords**, so Effie and I had to navigate those as well.
Six weeks ago, she was sniffing around, when the hair on the back of her neck stood up. I looked for another animal, but then noticed what looked like fur on the ground. Clumps of fur. At first, I thought it was some dead animal, and so I pulled Effie back so she wouldn't do something typically Effie, like roll in dead animal carcass. I toed a clump of it carefully, thinking a dead mouse or rat or squirrel was surely close by. But the fur didn't look much like fur the more I moved it around with my shoe. It looked like hair.
This is because it was hair. Human hair. Four or five big clumps to be exact, spread around as if on purpose. It had clearly been cut, because each clump was more of a lock of hair than anything else. I took Effie back inside, but I was just baffled. Why would there be human hair in our side yard? Under what circumstances would human hair be found in that side yard? Was I an unwilling witness to witchcraft and/or a new episode of CSI?
After a week, I forgot about it. The hair drifted off, or was carried away by animals, and I just thought it was a freak occurrence.
That is, until this past Sunday afternoon. I again was taking Effie out, but this time I took her to the front yard. I was standing near one of the parked cars when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed leaves fluttering to the ground. There was also a thin buzzing noise that I couldn't quite place. And then I realized something was wrong--the leaves were dark brown, and were not so much fluttering to the ground as they were falling in clumps. I looked again.
Yep--human hair again. This time it was coming over the fence of apartment 1. Through the cracks in the fence, I could see one of the occupants of said apartment. He was bent at the waist, head down, and he had a hair clipper in his hand. He was shaving off whole sections of his overgrown, dark brown locks and throwing it over the fence.
"What the fucking fuck!" I yelled. The kid jumped, and then I heard something drop. I realized that he had dropped the hair clipper.
Because I am an asshole, I repeated myself, only a bit calmer this time: "I said, what the fucking fuck!"
Through the fence cracks, the kid and I made eye contact and in that split second, he turned and ran into the apartment. He slammed the door.
"What kind of animal is so lazy they can't throw away their own HAIR?" At this point, I was yelling at no one, since the kid had shut the sliding glass door. This, sadly, did not stop me.
"How can anyone be successful in life if they can't be bothered to THROW AWAY THEIR OWN HAIR?!?!" I was sputtering with rage. How dare these goddamned kids! How dare they throw parties and take all the parking spaces and throw fucknig hair clippings into the yard!
It was at that moment that I had a sudden realization. In casting them as the entitled and lazy undergrads, I had placed myself in the only other available role: the angry old person with the cane, yelling at the young 'uns to get off her lawn.
I looked at Effie, and I looked at the hair. The angry old person would have scooped it up, and plopped it on the front porch of the offenders, probably with a passive aggressive note. The busy single mother would leave it alone, shrug her shoulders and sigh, and let it go.
I decided that, at least for this week, I'm not resigning myself to old age quite yet. I have things to do, you know. Kids to raise. Meals to cook. Papers to grade.
Even though I maybe sorta drafted that note in my head.
*Okay, only once. But I think it's possible it will reoccur. Still, that poor, poor cat
**Apparently, the landlords have told the regular yard maintenance gentleman that he is to take a "barrel or two" away every week. There are two big felled trees, and he's doing it a barrel at a time. This is the longest yard maintenance job ever.