In Arabic they say…
اختار الجار قبل الدار
My loose translation, which doesn’t sound as nice is, “Choose your neighbor before your house.” Why would they say that? Prior to my time here in Saudi Arabia, I don’t think I ever really thought about it. I lived in my parents’ house until I went away for college. If I had annoying neighbors then, I assumed it was because they were young and didn’t know any better. I know that my parents must have thought of such things when buying our house but as a spoiled, but nice, girl growing up I never thought of all the reasons why they chose the neighborhood they did.
Well, enter my new apartment. I live on the second floor. There’s a family below me and there was a family above me. Before I moved in, I thought that being between two families would be a good idea. And who asked me to think? Thinking sometimes leads to the wrong idea or conclusion, as in my case. I had seen the kids from downstairs, and they seemed normal. And you know how the saying goes, things aren’t always what they seem. Who knew that such sweet, innocent looking kids would turn out to be my nemesis? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I do believe that they are Satan’s offspring. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. They screamed at the top of their lungs, apparently in an attempt to see who could scream the loudest before their voice boxes exploded. Unfortunately, the contest is ongoing and they still scream though it is a little less than before. Their other favorite past time was banging on walls. What makes it really fun is that they usually start at night. Maybe I was wrong. They’re more active at night. Hmm, could it be that they are in fact, vampires? It remains a mystery. Anyway, one day it was so bad that I decided to go speak to their mother. Lucky me she speaks neither English nor Arabic. I knocked on the door and asked her again to be sure, “You don’t speak any English?” She shook her head and I proceeded to complain about those demons they call children. My arms were flailing right and left, up and down in a futile attempt to tell her to do something about her kids. When I think about how ridiculous I must have looked, I can laugh about it. But only a little. As if that wasn’t enough, the neighbors upstairs had a baby who literally seemed to spend his/her every waking hour crying. I thought to myself, “They’re lucky they’re here or I’d report them to Children’s Services.” The husband downstairs apologized to me on more than one occasion, and I believe he was sincere. But you know what, buddy? Your apologies don’t mean crap when I still have to listen to your psychotic children day in and day out. Do I sound a little angry? I’ve done my best to remain calm even as I wish I could throw them off the balcony. But don’t worry, I would never do anything like that. But in the movie I’m going to write, I will. You know what’s funny? He actually asked me to teach them English. As if. He’d send them to me and never see them again.
My neighbor downstairs finally came to me with good news a few weeks back. He said the family upstairs would be leaving and that would cut down on the noise because his kids wouldn’t have anyone to bother. So I kept telling myself to be patient. They’d be gone soon. Things were looking up until…
Someone opened a karaoke bar upstairs. And I probably wouldn’t have noticed except I could hear singing, loud and bad singing. The first time I let it go even though they were singing Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World.” That’s right, “Heal the World.” The next time I heard them, it was Barry Manilow. I asked, “Dear God, what did I do to deserve this?” They went on an on singing, “Do you lo me like I lo you?” WTH? I finally decided to pay them a visit. I went upstairs, knocked on the door three times and waited. No answer. Of course. How could they hear me when it was karaoke night in Yanbu? I went back to my place and wrote a note. I slipped it under the door and I can tell that they did read it because it has gotten better. Thank God!!!
So beware of psychotic children and karaoke-loving maniacs.
Ah, just another adventure, here in KSA.