Posts tagged “neighbors

My murderer was a man from our neighborhood…

The wife and I happened to catch The Lovely Bones the other night and I have to say, that’s a damn good movie. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was even with Peter Jackson’s stellar track record of likable movies. Whether he’s directing it or producing, you’re pretty much guaranteed a decent movie. The Lovely Bones took creepy serial killer movie to a whole new level. Without dropping too many spoilers let’s just say Stanley Tucci has elevated himself to Jackie Earl Haley and Keven Spacey status as being uncomfortably chilling with regards to his performance. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – but don’t expect a bunny-hugging happy ending. There’s a 90% chance of being depressed by the end.

Anyway, I got inspired once again. I even told the wife that right when I saw a particular scene with him being exceptionally creepy in the darkness that I got hit with creativity. No I don’t intend to go out and try my hand at serial killing. I lack the proper tools and stomach to undertake that. No, I decided to create a little eerie piece of artwork of course. Forget monsters, witches and demons. Imagine this guy giving out candy…

It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?

You guys give up yet? Or are you thirsty for more?

Once again my lovely neighbors have inspired me to contemplate parenthood.


I’m debating whether we should even adopt at this point in time because actually having a child is looking more unattractive and unappealing every day. I say this because I currently have a child and don’t want him anymore. No I’m not being excessively cruel.  No I’m not referring to my pride of cats or illicit black market child sales. I actually do have a kid… sorta. I get to wake up every morning to the sounds of screaming tantrums, track and field sprinting throughout the house and the banging of toys or whatever he can get his grubby little hands on against any hard surface within arms reach. I get to hear this whenever I’m home because apparently this kid is always around. I get to listen to every single topic on his jumbled little mind all at once because he doesn’t have an inside voice and prefers to shout everything he wants to say. I even have to clean up his toys from the backyard more often than not because he tends to leave them lying around when I have to mow the lawn.

No, the child doesn’t live with me nor is he my responsibility. I just have the unfortunate luck to be living in duplex with two douches for parents upstairs.

Today I present a case study in parenting. Hilarious that its coming from a guy who has no kids. I can see the irony but alas I am perfectly qualified to judge others parenting skills because I have a gift. Yes a gift. An ability one might say. I call it a curse. I happen to be a Child Whisperer.

No I don’t speak to children in hypnotic tones. In fact I can’t stand most children. I’d sooner put them all on a large boat and send them to the Lost island before I’d have to deal with them directly. Regretfully I am a Child Whisperer and that means I have been damned with the uncanny ability to attract children of all ages to me like moths to the flame because I tend to behave like a big child myself. As a result, I tend to be the go-to-guy when it comes to parents.

“Oh go play with Ian.”

“Ian’s great with kids.”

“Ian is a natural with kids.”

Fuckin’ A I am.

As it stands I tend to do a lot of conversing and interacting with parents of all skill levels, young and old. So yes, I find myself to be quite qualified to pass judgment on any twit who has the nerve to call themselves a parent just because they have a child. Parent is a title of honor and respect that should be bestowed to only those who deserve and have earned it. A parent is a teacher, mentor, friend, guardian and disciplinarian all rolled into one. Anyone can fart out a child. Only a parent can raise one properly.

I present to you two family units on opposite ends of Ian’s Awesome Scale of Parenting & Excellence. For the sake keeping people’s identities private I’ll be using aliases. One one side we have the Goode Family. This pleasant prototypical family unit consists of a 30 something year old husband and wife duo, Mark and Adriana, and their sweet little 2 year old boy Zach. Both are gainfully employed, own a car and have a house in the suburbs. They have their own fair share of family, social and work issues they contend with just like anyone else but all in all they’re quite happy and content. Zach is an awesome little guy. My wife and I even bought him this wicked cool sandboxy play set thingy for his birthday earlier this year. I didn’t even get my wife a bloody Christmas gift last year (sorry hun but I at least came through for your birthday this year!). Yes the guy who hates children is singing the praises of a child. That must mean something. Zach doesn’t fit the mold of the children I typically come across. He’s well mannered, intelligent, respectful, listens to his parents and doesn’t raise hell. I’m sure Mark and Adrianna would disagree with the hellraiser part, but generally speaking he’s not that kid in the supermarket. They don’t raise a hand or their voices to discipline him but he knows full well not to cross them – especially Adrianna. I’m quite certain little Zach has caught the look on a few occasions and has been scared straight. She’s not a meanie by any stretch of the imagination, but you when she’s serious.

On the other side of the spectrum we have my make-ya-wanna-drink-the-kool-aid neighbors. They’re a twenty something year old unmarried couple, who I’ll lovingly refer to Val and Pryce, and their 2 yr old demon-spawn of a child Loki. I’m not sure who works between them. They’ve lived here for almost a year and the most I was able to gather was that she’s possibly fecal movement engineer (yes a shit shoveler… not that there’s anything wrong with that). He’s a hippie douche that likes to ride his bike, play soccer and strum away on his guitar – badly – as he ponders the complexities of life all day. She likes to party like a sailor into the wee morning hours whenever she has the chance (which is quite often because she pawns little Loki off to her parents whenever the opportunity presents itself). The have a car but I don’t know if they own it. It kinda sits out there in the back lot with expired tags. Far be it for them to renew them, they just borrow mommy and daddy’s car all the time and create traffic jams in the parking area. And of course they obviously don’t own a home because they live above me in a tiny 2 bedroom unit with wonderful hardwood floors.

Yes. Hardwood floors + 2 yr old Norse God of Mischief. You can see where this is going.

Loki has the potential to be a likable kid. He’s cute, has a lemon blond mop of hair on his head and speaks quite well… when he’s not shouting or throwing tantrums… which is like rarely. Unfortunately Loki’s mom and dad suffer from an acute medical condition that is sweeping North America called IOTAMCDS, otherwise known as I‘m Oblivious To Anything My Child Does Syndrome or Ignoritus if you prefer. They seem to be under the impression that their child can do no wrong and that nothing he does is ever wrong. This in turn gives little Loki free reign to wreak as much havoc as humanly possible for person his size. He runs inside the house with horse-like grace, throws things against anything solid enough to make some real good noise, screams bloody murder when he doesn’t get his way and shouts as though you were in the next county when talking to him… all to the familiar tune of  “he’s just a child”.

He’s just a child.

That’s the tag line for bad parenting. Ever notice when a child does something stupid or annoying the first thing out some parent’s mouths is “he’s just a child”. Give me a break. Children, especially really young ones, are able to soak up information like sponges. If you teach a child how to behave they will learn how to behave. It’s really not that complicated of a concept. For the most part if parents are on point their children they can teach them those key values of respect and responsibility. I really don’t believe in bad children, only bad parents. Unless the kid truly is a seed of Satan and pops out with pointy teeth, horns and a spaded tail flapping, they’re not bad. They don’t know bad. They learn bad from lazy parents who choose to coddle their children as opposed to teaching them. Parents who want to be their friends rather than their parents.

Why are Loki and Zach so vastly different? They’re the same age. Same youthful enthusiasm. and love for life They’re loved by their makers. They’re not destitute or stricken with poverty. They can get whatever they want. How can two children with so many similarities be so different?

The only answer is the parents.

Word of advice potential baby makers of the world, if you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of raising a kid, then don’t have one. I’m not talking about feeding them, clothing them and putting a roof over their heads. That’s only a small part of the job. You need to be ready to take on the full task full bore otherwise your children become someone else’s burden.

All I see is you…

Mr. Rogers
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Remember this guy?

Good ole Mr. Rogers. I used to watch that show all the time. His therapist-like voice would put me at ease as I watched the little train go to the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

That place was dope.

Now that I’m a 30 something year old man I got to thinking about that show the other day and realized he’s to blame for all the woes I’ve had with neighbors over the years. He lured me into a false sense of security and made me believe that neighbors could actually be nice, genuine, friendly, cooperative and respectful people.

At this point in time I’d gladly take a creepy old pedophile in a cardigan over what I’ve been dealing with over the years:

  • I remember many years ago… maybe when I was wee… I used to live in a ground floor apartment in the projects. Those of you unfamiliar with what “da projects” are, I suggest you take a trip to any major city and look for a grouping of apartment buildings where you say to yourself “Hell no I’m not walking through there” and viola… there you go. You’ve found the projects. Anyway, my bedroom was adjacent to the bedroom next door. This next door neighbor happened to be an elderly man suffering from some form of dementia or Alzheimers because he needed a nurse on call pretty much 24/7 to help him out. One of the things he had a tendency to  do – frequently and at the oddest times of day and night – was scream bloody murder that the top of his lungs until he was eventually calmed down by his nurse. Now I was young. Real young. Young enough to not really understand what his issues were and the hardships that he was suffering through. This man terrified me for years with his nightly death howls until one day… they stopped. I was told later on in life that he had finally passed away. I was overjoyed that I didn’t have to be tormented by him anymore but it was only when I grew up that I actually felt really sorry for the old guy and what he must have went through. Oh well… such is life.
  • Many many years later (and still in the GD projects) I had the totally fabulous fortune of having one of the neighborhood drug dealers shack up next to me. It was so everything I wanted in a neighbor. Pretty much every night I got to hear him either bang or beat up his live-in girlfriend. Can’t tell you how many times the cops were called. I can’t stand people but c’mon… beating up women is just so thoroughly uncool. It was also awesome that he would do his transactions in the hallway to my building and (lucky me) sometimes even in front of my door. Wicked huh? What could I do? I wasn’t about to dime him out and risk living in a war zone as a result so I did what I always do – tried to ignore it. One day (once again after a few years of torment) SWAT decided to raid his place, arrest him and toss away the key. Sounds like a fitting climax to the story, huh? Too bad I moved away the year before…
  • When my wife and I were first seeing each other we lived together briefly in a 2 bedroom apartment with her (then) best friend. It was a tiny place and her friend rarely went out so you can imagine how difficult it was trying to get some alone time. Couple that with the enticing aroma of potatoes and cabbage that was ever present in the building’s hallway and that pretty much sealed the deal on us leaving asap. Oh did I mention that our super liked to come into our apartment whenever he liked? Yeah… that place was brilliant. And thus marked the beginning of our shared oddessy in trying to find a “decent” place.
  • Lived for a while in the basement of my mother-in-law’s house. We converted it into an apartment and it was pretty decent. The neighbors were great because – you guessed it – they were her parents. We all got along so it was pretty dang cohesive. Course that all went to hell when we found out the foundation was buckling near the front of the house. A contractor was called in to jack up the house, knock down the bad foundation wall and pour a new one. Sounded like a good plan in theory. They certainly got the jacking up the house and knocking down the wall part right. Course it took them like a month or so to pour the actual new foundation wall. That’s right. You guessed it. We had nothing but tarps and vapor barriers separating where we lived from the creatures of the night (and I ain’t talking about skunks and raccoons).  Thankfully my wife decided to go back to school so it was off to Waterloo at that point.
  • Living on campus wasn’t too bad – at first. It was a brand new apartment complex right on university property. It was great  for her because she really didn’t need to use her car to get to classes. Unfortunately we had a ground floor apartment and the building was new – which translates to the walls (and floors) were thin and not that soundproof. Don’t get me wrong. I know nothing is truly soundproof but the girl above of sounded like a bloody horse galloping about and she must have been exceptionally clumsy because she would drop things constantly. To one side of us we had a girl who felt the whole building needed to hear her Bollywood music during the day and to the other side we had a GD stairwell. Joy joy. When the administration said that they were raising the rent the following year (while not addressing some of the major concerns around the building itself) we hit the bricks yet again. The search continued…
  • We found ourselves in the ghetto next – which was a step up from the projects where I started. The one bedroom apartment was a decent size, had a balcony, didn’t have to pay hydro and was on the 3rd floor of a 4 floor building. Looked pretty respectable at first glance but then we got to living there. Wow. Firstly, I have nothing against immigrants. I love ’em. They make the world go round. However when you get different nationalities cooking their native foods all at the same time in a building that has no ventilation in the hallways… it makes for a pungent smell the likes of which permeate through clothing and embed into your skin. It was awful. It was like baked garbage with a side order of ass. Not to mention we had a mother and child above us (again with that mysterious clumsiness disease) who dropped things all the time and a neighbor who liked to play booty bass at all hours of the night. The underground garage looked like a scene out of the Dawn of the Dead remake and the stairwells leading to it were dimly lit, wreaked of weed and often wound around blind corners. Not to mention we had your standard compliment of deviants, drug dealers/users and roving packs of rabid children found in any ghetto… so once again it was time to move on.
  • We found ourselves in a duplex… or at least what was advertised as a duplex. It’s not really a duplex. It’s more like a 80 year old house that has a crappy wall separating the upstairs and downstairs units. We were tired of living the lives of nomadic gypsies so we decided to make the best of it. We were told that the upstairs neighbors consisted of a single mother and her two young children so we thought we were finally going to catch a break. Little did we know that the mother didn’t even stay there most of the time and was basically letting her two late teen children use the place as a flop house. Sex, drugs, and loud blaring music dominated the landscape from that point on. It’d be great if we were the ones having the sex, doing drugs and rockin’ out but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Did I mention that it was an 80 year old house and not a duplex? In case you can’t put 2 and 3 together that means shared ventilation, no soundproofing (as opposed to very little sound proofing) and absolutely zero peace. Long story short, after nearly bringing the landlords to court over the illegal activities going on upstairs the situation came to an abrupt end when (once again) SWAT descended upon the house. Having staked the place out for a number of days, they finally decided to raid upstairs. Why? Oh because the son was a convicted criminal and had stolen good up there. He disappeared before they arrived and he nor his family have been seen since.  And these were the people who lived above us. Shall I even mention our next door neighbor? Of course. She apparently had a job as a professional sun tanner by day (and no I don’t mean she worked at a tanning salon, I mean she actually would lounge outside every day and sun herself – even when there wasn’t any sun). Mind you if she didn’t look an undead crackhead it may have made the situation somewhat tolerable. So she must have worked at night then right? You can say that. There has been much speculation about that. The people who run the pizza shop across the street say she was dealing drugs – heroine by the looks of her. The salespeople at the car lot next to them suspected prostitution based on the steady stream of cars that would be in the driveway at all times of the day and night. I personally think it was a little of both. Either way she was in league with the schmendrik upstairs so it made for a lovely experience on all fronts. I suspect whatever it was she was into caught up to her because one day moving pods were in front of her place and in less than a week she was gone. No for sale sign. No nothing. Just poof.

Maybe I’m a harbinger of bad tidings? Maybe I cast a bad luck aura around me that attracts miscreants like flies to shit? Who knows. Maybe there are good neighbors out there? I thought we had some for a year after the idiots vanished but then like a fleeting thought they were gone. Ee still reside in the same place. We have a good relationship with our landlord so it kind of offers us a lot of flexibility regarding the property. Plus the street theater is awesome. Some nights, if you listen quietly, you can hear the majestic sounds of the drunks as they make their way home from the Stampede Corral – the local country bar.

How about our new neighbors? Well let’s just say they deserve a post all their own. I don’t think I have the web space or time to start talking about them here…

All I do know for sure is that good neighbors are like the Neighborhood of Make Believe… they’re  figments of your fucking imagination! If you’re reading this and have good neighbors, don’t believe it. They’re crazy as too. You just haven’t seen it yet (and hopefully won’t). If you still don’t believe it then perhaps you’re the crazy neighbors. You know how it goes. No one ever tells the crazy person they’re crazy. ;p

No Mr. Rogers. It is not a beautiful day in the neighborhood…