Oh yes, she did. You know I’m talking about heel lady upstairs.
So, in a pathetic attempt to reveal the true identity of our mistress of torture, my husband and I lay in bed tracking the movements of the elusive Yellow Bellied Heelpecker. We listened as she pulled on those infernal boots and then, like every other morning, she click-clacked her way into my skull.
After 40 minutes of this blatant disregard for her fellow creatures, we heard her open her door to leave and Rusty sprang into action to face this cuckoo bird head-on. He raced out the door and met her just as she finished banging the shit out of the stone stairway. He stood there—bare feet, flannel pajama pants, flaming red hair sticking off in all directions—and yelled, “AHAAAAAA! MENTEUSE!!”
In reality, he didn’t yell or call her a liar in French. What he did say (fairly politely I might add) was that it was clear it was indeed her driving us to the brink of insanity (really, not a giant leap for me I’d say). She gave him the head tilt to one side and the heavy exhale (you are annoying the crap out of me in womanese). He asked her again if she could please refrain from the boots so early in the day. And she said something like, “One can only do what one can do.” Sweet saviour.
Neil, god love him, persisted. He said, “Madame, is it really absolutely necessary for you to wear boots because we … ” There’s no end to this sentence because that was the moment when she turned and walked away from him. Hand to god, mid-sentence, she just clomped off, the worst part possibly being the harsh echo of those goddamn heels. Mesdames et messieurs, I ask you, has it come to this? Where is the decency? Is this how civilized people now behave?
It’s a good thing she didn’t face me. I know for sure I would’ve said something unwise and likely everybody in the building would have been treated to the sound of my purse meeting her head—a Swiss smackdown. Not exactly. Oh it’s tempting, all the ways we could retaliate—ringing her doorbell every half-hour from 2-5 in the morning or taping speakers to the ceiling and blasting Led Zeppelin all night long (that one from my genius brother-in-law). But where’s the grace in that?
No matter what kind of garbage gets thrown my way, here’s one thing I know: I always feel like garbage if I descend to a level that I think is beneath basic human compassion. I mean it has to be terrible for her to be so snarly and immature, right? Maybe she’s sad or angry for a perfectly good reason. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from being a psychiatrist is you never know the burdens people carry around with them on a daily basis.
I saw her today in the hall. I smiled. I said bonjour. I tried not to stare when I finally came face to face with the taupe suede, 3-inch stacked wooden heel footwear from hell. We’ve decided to take the high road and write a letter to the building management company, hoping the ball bounces our way.
And I’ll try to appreciate her for teaching me tolerance. If that doesn’t work, I’m going all ninja on her bitch ass.