Sunday, October 14, 2007

Confessions of a Blue Meanie

My next-door neighbor is out of control. Between the incessant coke-induced clattering of high heels on wood floors, the loud head-banging music and the hysterical giggling, I am losing my mind.

Flip can't record his music because his mics pick up extraneous noise, and we are living in a hotbed of extraneous noise. (I do believe hotbed is the operative word here.)

A thrumming bass line coming through the walls is like the Chinese water torture.

Her apartment seems to have a revolving door. A great many people pass through there, some of them staying for a few days or a week in her absence. I suspect that she is renting out the apartment and parking space to anyone who needs a place to crash and is willing to pay for it.

She uses the garage as a dump. There is an enormous pile of discarded furniture, comforters and a computer monitor as well as actual garbage, all of which has become a fire hazard. It's hard to imagine why anyone would do this when there is a large trash bin behind the building.

A leopard print car seat has presided over the pile since she moved in, as well as an assortment of bottles and pacifiers. I wonder what she did with the baby.

Yesterday, I removed a milk crate in which I kept a bag of potting soil that had been completely covered with her junk. I found a parking ticket from May, as well as two empty boxes addressed to her at two different addresses in the city. I finally know her last name, which of course does not appear on the mailbox or buzzer since she is an illegal tenant.

I had what may be my meanest thought ever. It occurred to me that I could send the parking ticket to the DMV with a letter stating her name and present address and informing them that the car described on the ticket was rented by her at the time the ticket was issued. This ticket may be the tip of the iceberg. She is clearly a grifter who does not play by any of the rules that govern the rest of us.

She probably has a string of unpaid parking tickets racked up on rental cars and has moved so many times that the address on her license is obsolete.

My anger made me feel particularly toxic, so I went to an Ikebana show at a lovely Japanese boutique hotel in Japantown. Ikebana is the ancient art of flower arranging. The word "Ikebana" means "live flowers."

Ikebana is rooted in Buddhist culture but has undergone many changes since its beginnings in the 9th century. Flower arrangements are a way to celebrate events or to express emotion. They speak to people without words and bridge diversity.

The Japanese attitude toward floral arrangement, as in many things, is more spiritual than the Western approach and strives to express the wondrous creations of Nature, on a reduced scale.

There are certain inviolable principles:

An arrangement must fit the environment in which it is displayed, and the individual arranger's emotions and character must be expressed in the arrangement. Ikebana is an art of human communication, not just flowers crammed into a vase.

In contrast to most Western floral design, Ikebana compositions are based on asymmetry, requiring specialized artistic development and technical expertise.

Ikebana is noted for its mastery of proportional harmony between the flowers, vase, and setting. Its uniquely beautiful proportions have made a permanent impact on Western-style floral design, as there is probably no other culture with the highly developed aesthetic sense of the Japanese.

It was wonderfully healing to see that there are still those practicing gentle beauty in the world. Sadly, it is too easy to lose sight of that when one is denied the peaceful enjoyment of ones home.

I am focusing on the flowers.


thailandchani said...

That neighbor of yours.. truly.. something needs to be done. Perhaps you should make that call.

Anyone who is as inconsiderate as she is deserves some retribution.

I know coming from me that sounds weird.. but people do have to be accountable for their actions.

It's taken me a long time to learn how to balance that. :)

The flower show sounds wonderful! I've never seen anything like that!



heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yes. Something...

It's a weird thought for me, too. While I would never squash a bug in my living space, I am ready to concede that my grace under fire has been tested here and found lacking.

I plan to take a few classes in Ikebana so I can grasp the subtle concepts and create tranquility in the midst of chaos.

The CEO said...

I have been thinking the opposite of Ikebana lately. More of Sherman's Scorched Earth Policy. I keep looking in Surplus Stores for a flame thrower. Too many bimbos.

Snoskred said...

You have a right to your space. No neighbour has any right to intrude on that in the manner your neighbour is.

I would start calling the police, constantly and regularly. That is the legal retribution - and much better to go that way than some kind of illegal retribution. They have to learn their noise has an impact on others. If they are using drugs in there, it is likely they will do one of two things - stop making noise, or move out when they find the police arriving on their doorstep regularly.

Is there a way you can complain to the people renting the apartment to her, too?

Over here we all have the right to complain about noise after a certain time of day when you live in a house but if you are in apartments you have the right 24/7.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, how I would love to have my very own flame thrower. You have no idea. Do you think I could borrow yours for a few minutes?


I have complained to the Property Management Company. Apparently, they do not care what goes on here as long as the rent is paid.

They will start to care, perhaps, when someone is shot by one of these lowlifes and his/her family sues them and the owner of the building.

Supposedly, noise is illegal after 10:00 p.m. but this is not really enforced as the police have more serious crimes to deal with.

(Of course, there may be a homicide here soon. I'm just saying.)

seventh sister said...

Theh bottles and pacifiers are used for certain drugs and could be classified as paraphernalia in her case. I don't remember what the drug is but a couple of our fine upstanding Longhorns got caught with it recently.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Really. I had no idea. I guess babies aren't what they used to be.

And the leopard print car seat? What is that used for, do you think? Smuggling the drugs?

To be fair, I have never seen her use drugs, but the skank is hyperactive and talks very loud and fast, constantly. Unless maybe she does that because she thinks it makes her an exciting person. !!

She does not work and I doubt she is teaching Bible study over there. She is turning this building into a no-tell motel.

Judith said...

Your neighbour seems to be a master of grifting etc I would contact the relevant powers (landlord)anonomously via the post and get her white trash ass out of there - its inevitable thats the way its going to be - sounds like shes unapproachable and shes used to moving around so Im sure its no biggy (Im flowing with the milk of human kindness eh?)

alphawoman said...

I can not imagine the owners of the property allowing this to happen!! Things are very different for "renters" here than And, I am so glad that I now own a house and my only worries are that the next door neighbor's wife is a B**** who does not acknowledge us because her kids were running wild in my back yard days after we moved in and I asked them if they used my back yard as a playground....because if they had only asked me if they could play in it (like all polite kids are suppose to) I would have said yes...and they were messing with my Jap beetle, that was a rant! Didn't the flower arrangement thing appear in LOST IN TRANSLATION. (loved that movie)

WNG said...

I think you need to take a deep cleansing breath and then figure out a way to get this to stop. You and the Mister do NOT need this in your life. Either make the call or tell her that if she doesn't make some adjustments you are going to make the call, or talk to teh landlord or whatever. You have tried to live and let live and that is admirable, but there comes a time when you have to put your health, safety and happiness first.

jali said...

I'm glad you found a beautiful outlet to clam yourself.

The example you posted is exquisite - so beautiful. Ikebana sounds like a wonderful thing.

Oh - drop the dime. You'll be saving yourself and others a lot of grief I'm sure.

Franki said...

While I can understand your hesitancy to nark on this woman, I have to worry that it might be you or Flip that ends up in the crossfire of something very bad indeed if she continues to be your neighbor. And how unfair would that be?

That arrangement is breathtaking.

*~*Cece*~* said...

I totally would have mailed the ticket to DMV. ;-)

furiousBall said...

This is one of those situations where you weigh the effort of taking action or just letting karma kick her ass. Since she's screwing your own happiness up, I'd go the action route. Either that or do something weirder, like enroll her in the baloney of the month club, if that exists that is, otherwise do the whole parking ticket idea. But put a piece of baloney on her car.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Good for you for finding a way to channel your energy into something positive. With Mercury in Retrograde, everyone and everything can get on our last nerve.

I love the flowers! :)

the walking man said...

Personally i would have gotten three or four of my friends who all are ex convicts who now know the value of a peaceful life and gone and knocked on her door.

If she wouldn't have listened to reason I am sure that three guys all over six foot tall and two hundred fifty pounds trashing her stereo and vanishing before she could call the police who have more important things to do anyway, would probably get the point across.

Peace is contained in quiet from rudeness.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


I have talked to the property management company several times and it's clear they don't care about our quality of life.

But I'm pretty sure the DMV will care. Sometimes, the milk of human kindness must take a back seat to expediency.


I miss owning a house, but still, we'd rather live in San Francisco than in TN, where our house was.

I don't remember an Ikebana scene in that movie, but since it was set in Japan, your memory is probably better than mine on this.


Yeah. What she said.

I know. It's wearing me down, and that's no way to live.


We are the ones most affected by living next door to this cesspool. So, back to Plan A. (Which is really Plan DMV.)


That is my worry, too. We pay more than we can afford to live in a safe neighborhood, and we are not getting our money's worth, to say the least.


I totally will, today.


That's the thing. She doesn't own a car but rents them when she needs to. Which is why I'm sure she thinks she can ignore parking tickets.

And while I normally would prefer to let karma play out, she is making our lives wretched, so maybe I AM her karma.

I have a postage stamp and I'm not afraid to use it.


So many of the arrangements were exquisite. I had intended to go to the show anyway, but I realized that it would also be good therapy.

Truly, though, our neighbor gets on our last nerve no matter what Mercury is doing.


I don't have any ex-con friends. Can I borrow yours?

"Peace is contained in quiet from rudeness." I'm still pondering that. Thanks.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I think you are red sunflowers amidst tall leafy bamboo.

I also think a little religion is in order here.

As previously suggested, submit her name and address to every religious organization in the bay area. One of them has to work on her.

Then find one that gives you peace and visit them frequently.

Couldn't be worse than what you have at present, right? And, you have the consolation of knowing that you did something positive to improve the situation; something not mean; something that will help her and you two. ;o)

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like the idea of putting her on mailing lists, but since she is an illegal tenant, she doesn't get mail here but probably rents a mailbox at the P.O. or the UPS Store nearby.

I'm still pondering red sunflowers amidst bamboo. Lovely!

Jay said...

Ah, nice you got a breath of zen after all her toxicity.

Irrelephant said...

When I get that bad I turn to origami. Any bit of paper will do, I've used everything from huge sheets of shipping paper to the tiny foils off Hershey's miniatures. A few minutes of careful concentration, my fingers know the motions but my brain has to be involved to make sure it's done RIGHT, and a crane or a raven or a frog pops out from my fingertips and I can move on again.

I'm glad you got your flowers. *smile*

Irrelephant said...

Oh, and may a thousand cranes worth of peace rain on you for not killing the little eight-legged cobbers. *s*

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It was like being in another, better world.


Oh, you're really talented. Origami is a fascinating art form.

Thank you for the thousand cranes, raining. (I don't kill cranes, either.)

The CEO said...

My flame thrower is your flame thrower Susan, all I have to do is to find the damn thing. Then it's bimbos straighten up and fly right.

Odat said...

That's so sad you have to be subjected to such "trash". Like you said, you don't squish bugs, but hey...a little squishing here is called for! Squish away!

And hey that flower arranging sounds fantastic. It's something I could use too. My flower arranging leaves a lot to be desired...or maybe just shows the world my wild side! hehe.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


You are too generous. Death to bimbos.


It's strange that I am so drawn to Ikebana with its discipline because my favorite kind of outdoor garden is the so-called English garden with everything growing wild. And I have so many houseplants that our place resembles a jungle.

Scarlet said...

Wow, this woman makes my neighbors look like Mr. Rogers.

What DID she do with the baby??

heartinsanfrancisco said...


There has been no evidence of a baby since someone left a poopy Pamper on the bench in the building lobby right after she moved in.

I don't think there is a lot of maternalism going on there.

Melanie said...

yikes. well, if there is someone to call and complain to, I would try that first. Mailing the DMV ticket may do nothing to alleviate your disruption.

I hope you find some peace. Not being able to record music because of the neighbor is unacceptable.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Flip is a musician. It is very annoying not to be able to record.

The property management company doesn't care about our comfort, so we'll probably have to move at some point -- when we simply can't stand it anymore.