I deserve a medal or a peace prize, at the very least some sort of red ribbon or gold star. Why? Because I have not yet broken down the door of my neighbour’s apartment and dumped a bottle of ketchup on her head. Things have gone from bad to worse. Last Saturday morning she was at it again. Stomping around at 6:51, slamming drawers shut at 7:30, dragging furniture across my bedroom ceiling at 8:15, then the heels. All. Day. Long.

I met her gaze over the big garbage bin outside our building once, and she just stared at me. And I just stared back. Normally, I have an abundant supply of snappy snark fit for any occasion, but I was so cognitively impaired from sleep deprivation that I had nothing. Plus, I was afraid if I got started, I would have skipped right over speaking and proceeded directly to slapping.

I’m disappointed with all this—that she continues despite our official complaint to the concierge and building management company. In fact, her worsening behaviour seems to be quite deliberate and I’m pretty sure the complaint is the reason. So, loud she is, logical she is not. I thought Switzerland was the land of rules and regulations. And, judging by Neil’s $250 ticket for doing 60 in a 50 zone, it is. My friend upstairs, I’ve discovered, is French. Do with that nugget of knowledge what you will.

But I’m also disappointed that I can’t seem to tune it out or at least adapt somehow. I mean I’ve survived a 5-year soul crushing residency, multiple spine surgeries, a grueling year of physical rehab to overcome a paralyzed leg, and two years without sour cream. Yet this situation has sent me into a spin of fatigue and irritation to rival the most powerful PMS on the planet.

Well, you know what they say, when the going gets tough, the tough beat the shit out of their neighbours. Oh now, I’m joking, I’m way too passive for that sort of thing and I’m way too smart to threaten someone on the Internet. The tough get going is what I meant to say and that’s exactly what we’re doing. My genius husband has negotiated our way out of our lease (now that was a process) and we’ll be moving—again—as soon as we can find another place.

Sounds drastic I know, but it was indeed a drastic sound that finally put us over the top. The other day, in addition to her usual symphony of delight, she treated us to an unbelievably crystal clear episode of vomiting. The heaving, the splashing and the flushing all echoing above our dining table. I can safely say that the fat lady has hurled and it is enough to send me packing.

Here we go again. Foreigners with no corporate salary slips in a rental market with a vacancy rate of less than 1% and, of course, no way to test drive a second place before taking the plunge. My nerves. Really, there’s no choice. Her boots might be made for driving people to distraction, but mine are made for walking.

 

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