I’ve come to two conclusions. The first being I am completely obsessed with the goings-on in the apartment above me, and secondly that the apartment above me is being inhabited by 150 people. My second conclusion further reinforces my first.
I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow they’ve managed to occupy the place to full capacity. I live in the largest of all the buildings on my block with 3 floors with 12 units in it. I’m smooshed right smack dab in the middle of everyone and everything, and I LOVE it. My upstairs neighbors are loud. Loooooud… And when I say loud, I mean there are times when I find myself wondering if they’re throwing dressers and tables and barbells and bowling balls across the house as some weird sort of midnight ritual. There have been times when I’ve wondered if The Harlem Globetrotters have taken residence above me. The family that lives above me moved here from India about 9 months ago. There are two elderly women, a couple of older men, a couple of mid-30’s men and women, a few younger college-aged kids, and 2 or 3 small children whom I see on a regular basis. They play loud Middle Eastern music that makes me smile despite the fact that my door frames are shaking and my dogs are howling throughout the songs. When I open my patio doors, I hear foreign conversation and laughter. I smell their cooking and wonder what they’re eating. I imagine whatever it is, it’s beautiful. I’ll bet it was handmade by Daadima and it’s as colorful and intricate as the dresses she wears. My upstairs neighbors are always friendly in passing. I’d be willing to bet that if I walked upstairs and asked to join them in the Heavenly feast they’re consuming, they would welcome me with no hesitation. They are super friendly. However, they do not make any apologies for their boisterous living above.
I remember one incident recently that had my mother reeling, ready to storm upstairs and totally blast off. We were sitting on the patio one evening, watching the sun float lazily over the lake. One of my favorite things to do after a long shift is to sit outside and drink cup after cup of coffee. I contemplate my day, clear my mind, and lose myself in my drink. Mom and I were talking about the day’s events, recounting the craziness at work and enjoying our little relaxation ritual, when suddenly we are surprised by a ritual from above.
Down pours a torrential stream of water from the patio above, through the crevices in the wooden planks that separate the neighbor’s floor from my patio ceiling. “What the Hellllllllll,” my mother cries, her Alabama drawl shrill and panicked. Another wave of liquid splashes down upon us, into my coffee, all over our scrubs, and covers the table. I jump up and push back my heavy, wrought iron chair. My mom looks up with bewilderment.
“Ohhhh nooooooo. I’ll be right there…” comes a voice from above, and suddenly I see a little eye peering through the crack above me. “Oh no, no, noooo… I’m coming. Please you wait. Be right there…” And before I know it, there is a knock at my front door, and a small Indian woman standing before me. I open the door and she is giggling nervously. “I am so sorry. I am so very sorry. This happen when I do offering, my prayer. I don’t mean to wet you. I should do this somewhere else, then, maybe, no…?” She produces a small, silver pot before me, and nods toward it. “See, my prayer.” She smiles, and I start giggling, too. “No, ma’am. You’re just fine. It was hot outside anyway. It’s really no bother at all.” It really is no worry, as she’s just reinforced my fascination with her family upstairs.
She smiles, heads back toward the stairs, then suddenly turns around. “Maybe you put plants on patio, and I water them, too. Yes?” I nod. “Yes, Ma’am.”
This is just one of the daily incidents that occur between my neighbors and I. It is typically one-sided, me wondering what they’re doing as they live their day to day lives.
Still, I am truly convinced, and you will never make me believe otherwise, that there are hundreds of people up there, dancing and running with bricks attached to their feet. There may be livestock up there, stomping around as I watch the white plaster crumble from the ceiling onto my bed at midnight. Perhaps they all have Pogo sticks. Perhaps they’re slam dancing. Perhaps they’re not really doing anything at all, except living, which is a lot more that I do in my apartment. My mother finds it strange that it doesn’t bother me. She finds it even more bizarre that I, well, love it.
“Doesn’t that drive you crazy? You should call and complain…”
“Nah. I like the raucous…” I say. As I lay in bed at night, staring up at the ceiling, I thumb through all the wild scenarios in my mind. “Perhaps they’ve adopted an elephant…” Unlikely, but an enjoyable thought to entertain nonetheless.
I can only continue to speculate, and that’s just as entertaining to me….