Sunday, October 14, 2007
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a string of unpaid parking tickets racked up on rental cars and has moved so many times that the address on her license is obsolete.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.