You should get a sign in Chinese that reads “Fragrant meat noodle soup. Buy one get one free.”[/quote]
I love where I live. I’ve been in this apartment for nearly three years, and my roommate about six now, I think. It has all the tiny alleys, a couple of temples, colourful neighbourhood dignitaries, 24h construction, zoo of strays etc.
There is the Betel-nut Chewing Squatter, caterwauling with the assistance of one of those karaoke boxes outside the Mom-and-Pop store on the corner. Often, he is drinking beer at 8.30 in the morning. He says “Hello! Where are you going?!” to me each time I walk past, and laughs, regardless of my answer: “I’m going home! I going to kill a man! I going to take your daughter!”
The Garbage Lady stops us on our bi-weekly (I mean once overy two weeks, not twice a week. Maybe I should write ‘twice monthly?’ Okay, that’s still a stretch. Once a month is more honest) trips to the garbage truck. She takes that which can be salvaged, and delights at going through the Costco bags we store our recycling in. She has also been known to stand next to the trucks, directing people, while the guys on the trucks take a smoke break.
(we have a blue push-cart for garbage transportation, commandeered from outside the KFC a few years back when they said we could take whatever we wanted that they were throwing out. This is also why we have a Colonel Sanders statue in our lounge - people raised eyebrows at the stupid fuckers pushing this thing down Heping East at 11 o’clock one night. The cart was very useful at Chinese New Year, when we basically emptied out apartment of all the old shit. The people who ransacked the dump where we left the stuff made off like bandits - one time, a box of my shoes, and a stack of porn was taken in the ten minutes between trips
But our direct neighbours are awesome! I wouldn’t change them for anything!
In the building opposite, there are The Fighters, who are a married couple who seem to be in their fifties, and a father-in-law. We will peer at them through slightly-cracked-open windows, watching as Husband throws fists, Wife throws plates, and Father-In-Law gets thrown. The last time the police were called, to my knowledge, was about two years ago, but they were about as effective as a hole in a lifeboat when it came to stopping the rumbling. We’ve seen the Old Man tumble down the stairs before in a drunken state, and one morning I watched Husband drive his scooter into Old Man and start punching him in the chest.
In the same building, live the Screaming Child, Precocious Teenager, and Weary Mom. Screaming Child screams for everything, and always seems to be at home doing it (I know this, because I hardly leave my house because of studies) and Precocious Teenager shouts at everyone. He gets home in the afternoon, sits down in front of the TV with his PS2, and hurls abuse in this guttural, throaty bellow. The Screaming Child also has a Duck Call, which he has been using this morning. It’s pleasant. Weary Mom has a very big bucket it seems, and it takes a lot to make it overflow. But when it does, chaos reigns.
The Sneezer shakes windows with his efforts; The Piano Player goes non-stop during the Festive Season (which, apparently, begins in August for her, and requires practicing unnecessarily intricate sections of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” over and over and over; there used to be The Meat Slapper (literally, a woman who rose in the wee hours of the morn to tenderise meat for her foodstall - 4 in the morning, WHACK WHACK WHACK for a couple of hours at a time), but now she has been downgraded to The Plastic Packet Crinkler, which also happens early in the morn, afore the sun has rised! Packets make an amazing amount of noise once you have noticed them.
The guys upstairs play power-ballads during the day (and sing along as well sometimes - we hear you!), and seem to have a problem with their front door, which is slammed with force enough to wobble my monitor on my desk. And they drop change! All of them! All day! And night! tinkle tinkle tinkle!
My roommate belches like a whale, and tries to be creative with it, I giggle like a banshee and play my music too loud (I guess so - if I can music from upstairs, then they can probably hear mine), and we shout at each other in weird hybrid accents, when we play networked shoot-'em-ups or Need For Speed, just because we can.
I can’t complain about my neighbours, because I like things just the way they are. I’m just as bad as they are. I have absolutely no intention of moving as long as I’m here. All the noise used to bother me, but now, it’s eerie when it’s too quiet.
In Cape Town I lived next to the railway line, and weekends were too quiet when there weren’t trains every 15 minutes. Maybe I should clean my ears or something, and then I would notice all the noise.
Anyway, I have exams in two weeks, maybe I should do something constructive with my time now, instead of these self-indulgent little (?!?!?!) posts?