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Your lifestyle, your quirk
My hockey-loving neighbors moved out the other day.
I miss them already.
I didn’t really know them – we would nod to each other when we walked by, and there was that awkward time when the husband realized I was at home during the day and could hear everything they were doing (glad you’re having fun up there, dude).
They threw great parties (that flamenco bash and the drunken hijinks that ensued will be spoken of for years to come, probably mostly by me, because it was my window the drunks fought next to). They taught their friends’ kids proper toilet hygiene (“always do #1 outside when there’s a lot of people around!”). They taught my sweet little bird how to swear (“Oh shit!”). They were Apple users (“do not get your greasy fingers all over my iPad!!!!”). They were blunt with each other (“I’ve had a horrible day and you are MAKING IT WORSE!”). Did I mention they were married? I didn’t believe the handyman when he first told me.
Above all, they loved the Los Angeles Kings. They may have gone on a hunger strike during the Stanley Cup (“YES! NOW I CAN FINALLY EAT AGAIN!” being the first words out of the man’s mouth when they won). I happened to be working with the windows open on that final game, and wound up writing down all the wacky comments that drifted down from the upper apartment. I now have a three-page printout chronicling the entire final game, and it is riddled with some of the most creative use of foul language I have ever heard.
On paper, they were loud, crass, and incredibly obnoxious. My mother once called them “total nightmares.”
They were all that. But they were also wildly entertaining, providing pages of wacky Facebook, Twitter, and blog entries. My friends would come over whenever a big game was on, and we’d drink wine and listen to the hockey gang as they hurled insults at their television, discussed the finer points of crème brulee, and debated over whether Jason Giambi would be better at this sport than some of the current players.
My other immediate neighbors are pretty much silent. We all keep to ourselves. Compared to the rest of us, the hockey lovers were a force of nature. You always knew when they were around. I don’t think they’d ever go out of their way to help me (when ants started pouring out of my bathtub overflow drain during a shower, I screamed like the dickens, but nobody came to see if I was being murdered by a velociraptor). But I always felt that if a dinosaur, zombie, or burglar got in and I could somehow make it up the stairs to their place, they would decide to lend a hand, if only because, you know, I’d probably lead the dinosaur/zombie/burglar up there after me and make it their problem.
I also think there’s something to be said for familiarity. Thanks to their general loudness (and occasional insight from the chattiest of the complex handymen), I knew quite a bit about them. I knew their favorite foods, restaurants, who they fought with, who they went to school with, and what projects they were working on. I knew when they had bad days and good days. I heard them advising their friends out on their balcony, and they were not without compassion.*
What did they know about me? Not much. I’m basically stapled to a computer at all times. I have a bird who can sing the Imperial March, among other things. I occasionally got irritated with their loudness and tried to drown them out with Finnish metal. I spent more time on the phone with HP than any reasonable human being ever should. Oh, and when my girlfriends come over we tend to get loud and giggly.
But that’s the extent of the immediate information my neighbors have on me. The hockey lovers…well, everyone knew everything about them. They were an open book. They were clearly the life of every party. They won’t remember me at all; I’ll be “that gal who listens to Rise Against a lot” if I ever come up at all. But out of all my neighbors, I knew them best, even though I never even said two sentences to them.
When I saw the moving truck sitting outside, my heart sank a little. I already miss them more than I miss Facebook, which I jettisoned last week.
So farewell, my Kings-loving compatriots. May your hockey parties be even louder and more expansive in your new place. I’ll always think of you when I see crème brulee.
I wonder if someone even worse will move in…
*You probably shouldn’t discuss sensitive topics when you’re outside and all of your neighbors have their doors open…just a thought.