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Townhouse. Townhouse unit.  That’s what I meant.

I’ve lived in this one for about four and a half years. Time flies.

That’s a lot of rent checks. I don’t really care. I had owned four single-family homes before I moved into this townhouse-condo rental, and I much prefer renting. When your rental needs maintenance — provided you have the right landlord — you make a phone call. Not your problem. If they don’t take action, get it fixed yourself and throw the receipt for the repair in with a shorted rent check. That method never worked for me on any house I personally owned. If you want your life back, shift all the joys of homeownership back to someone else — or better yet don’t take them on in the first place.

But life in a multi-family dwelling does have its own challenges. Common walls carry noises. Everyone is aware of everyone else. It’s hard to come or go unseen or unheard.

Shortly after I moved in, I got a call from my very nervous landlord.

“We’ve had some complaints. . . ”
“The wind blew your kid’s beach ball into the neighbor’s carport.”
“Sorry about that. I’ll bring it inside.”
“. . . there’s something else.  . . ”
“The neighbors are complaining about noises. Loud noises. . . . Do you have, like, a TV on in there all the time?”

At the time I didn’t even have my TV hooked up. I spent most of my time on the Internet with the laptop speakers off. Most of the time, that’s what I did. Those loud noises had to be coming from one of the two other units in the quadruplex. Sound travels through walls, and the innermost walls of each unit are interconnected.

“I can’t even tell you what they say it sounded like!” said the landlady with more than a tinge of embarrassment.  As a mature adult, my thoughts immediately ran to the sounds of loud pooping. Heheheh. Pooping.

“These . . . these . . . noises.” She continued. “Her living room is right on the other side of your master bedroom. . . and I . . . ”

I sneered.

“There’s nothing, nothing going on in here! My kid’s in bed early and here only half-time. He’s usually playing on his iPad. I work all the time and when I’m not working I’m on my laptop or at the gym. If you want to send the manager over when these loud noises are happening he can see little old grey-haired 42-year-old me sitting here with my computer and a glass of wine and . . . and I . . . I . . . I. . . ”

<<<insert sudden realization here>>>

This isn't my "o" face. It's my "Oh." face.

This isn’t my “o” face. It’s my “Oh.” face.

Ohhh. That. Uhhh. Yeah. . . .that time . . .

The banging: It came like morse code from the other side of the wall. Bang bang bang. It was to counter earlier banging originating in . . . my master bedroom.  Guess we had been kinda loud.  But then there’s that line from John Hughes’ Summer Vacation where Clark says that Grandma couldn’t hear him speaking directly to her, but she could hear an ant fart. No matter how quiet we tried to be, still came that bang bang bang from the other side of the wall, likely from someone who hadn’t had sex since women wore sanitary belts and non-virgins in Oklahoma were stoned as witches or something.

So, finally, I reached up and banged the wall back. In rhythm. Hahaha. I thought it was funny.

We both did, actually.

A few weeks later I returned home to see paramedics outside my morse-code correspondent’s unit. She was an original resident from 1972, back when the complex had been sold as a retirement community. No more banging noises. I felt kinda guilty. I saw a “For Rent” sign go up a while later.

Of course, there’s this Karma thing. The new renters were these two gay guys who sounded like they were doing vivisection on each other all the time.

Oh well.

That’s life in the unit.

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Check out Diamond-T, my debut novel, HERE.