As I said, I’m in neighbour hell. The guy next door continues his assault on my sleep pattern. The other night marked his fourth wee hours soiree in less than a month. At 4:35 I was at my desk looking up a translation for “If you don’t shut your big, fat, stupid face, I’m gonna kick you ’til you’re dead.”

Oh, I talk a big game all right—my note actually said please and thank-you, but I did use a black pen and several exclamation marks. So I’d say it got my point across. Or at least it would have if the bloody paper had fit under the door. I knocked with no answer, so instead of facing my foe like the intimidating giantess I am, he opened the door to me on my knees—wild-eyed, hair everywhere, in ratty pajamas, cursing and swearing at a piece of paper—every bit the lunatic that he has created.

I looked up from my inelegant position to see him as the picture of sheepish guilt, which he could try selling to some other sucker. I was so frazzled with fatigue and mortification that all I could do was hiss, “S’il vous plaît,” and thrust the note in his general direction.

About 10 minutes later, I heard his trolls, I mean guests, leaving, so by 5 I was back on track toward some sleep. Only to wake at 6:15 with Madame Elephant Heels above me. Holy mother of god.

Earlier in the week, we finally had a face to face chat with her. She denied wearing heels in the morning. I have to say this wanting to punch people in the face is becoming an all too familiar feeling for me. No wonder. In the last month I can count the number of peaceful sleeps on 4 fingers and I’m officially a woman on the edge, which is to say my husband is just about ready to push me over one.

We decided that we are now finished with the demure newcomers routine. The other day, I sat vigil by the front door and as soon as the concierge came home (broken French be damned), I just started lamenting the situation. Neil and another neighbour (a sweet young girl who happens to be very tall, the relevancy of which will be revealed momentarily) joined in and so began the Peace Palace Hallway Summit.

The talks began slowly and built into a formation of allied forces. The concierge escorted us upstairs to speak with a potential other Walks With Big Shoes. She saw our distress, smiled kindly and then, no dice. To hear it from her you’d swear she didn’t even own a pair of shoes. Sigh. So all we know for sure is someone is lying.

We continued our strategy session albeit with a change of focus. The sweet neighbour wanted a tour of our apartment as she had initially wanted it for herself (a few more weeks of this mess and she can bloody well have it). I was doing my best to communicate with her, but my sleepy state kept getting in the way. I did manage to piece together a question about where to find giraffe clothes.

Finally I said to her (broken French again), “Maybe you could teach me French and I could teach you English.” She paused for a moment and said, “When I was living in London, I spoke much better than I do now. Maybe we can go shopping together in Lausanne. By the way, would you like some lasagna, I made too much.” This in perfect ENGLISH. Geez this crowd are a bunch of sneaky buggers. An hour I’m tripping over verbs and articles and then she springs this on me.

Overall, the support of the concierge, free lasagna and the prospect of shopping with a snappy Swiss gal can only be hailed as a successful outcome. Whether the noise improves remains to be seen. I’m not kidding you, party guy and shoe lady are both on very thin ice with me and they’d be wise to fear my wrath.

The next time they fall out of line, I’m bringing out the big guns: typed letters with words in bold, maybe even some all-caps. Let this be a warning to all. Don’t mess with the Canadians.

 

 

 

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