Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog-tober - The Lay of the Land

The junkies have stolen the mattress. 

And there was much rejoicing.

Communal living, or multi-occupancy living arrangements can bring some interesting situations to pass. The mattress in the car port has been one of those arrangements.

There are three flats that come off my stairwell. I've lived in my flat for nearly seven years now. In that seven years, only the neighbours who have changed have been the ones in the flat across the landing from me. 

Downstairs, the Nessa in the one bedroom apartment keeps irregular hours, but is very pleasant. We chat about work and exercise when we meet coming in and out. 

Leah and Daz have lived in the flat below me as long as we've been there. We have keys to each other's flats. I feed their cat, Aladdin, if they go away for the weekend. As neighbours go, they're great. Quiet, unobtrusive, but you can always have a chat with them.

On the other hand, the people across the landing from me change regularly. Over the years there has been a myriad of Asian students, a family with a baby - in a one bedroom flat - how they've done it I don't know - a guy called Noisy George, who drove Nessa to distraction with his door slamming - he moved out a few months ago, not that he bothered me.

There is now what appears to be a pleasant Asian couple in there. They've always been polite to me as we pass on the landing. No worries there.

Their storage habits, on the other hand - have been dodgy at best.

Since my new neighbours have moved in, a collection of old furniture has been collecting on their side of the car port which we share. An office chair here, a box or two there. In front of all of this, an ancient, battered, blue Magna, which has seen better days, complete with "Hello, Kitty" headrests. Neville doesn't mind who he sleeps next to in the carport, but the dodgy Magna and the crap were getting a bit too much for me to bear.

When a king sized mattress joined the clutter a few weeks ago, I'd had enough.

I like to think of myself as a good neighbour. I don't make much noise. My friends are quiet. Okay, so I'm in and out early and late at times - I don't leave rubbish around or hurl abuse at people.

Leah from downstairs broached the subject with me last week.

"Who is going to tell them about their crap?" she asked me as I came back from the gym one evening.
"I don't know. It's irritating that they're storing their crap down there."
"That mattress shouldn't be there."
"I've been seeing evidence that the junkies are coming back."
"Hmmmm. Want to talk to them together?"

There are some things about our car ports you should know. First of all, the driveway isn't secure. Anybody can get in and out.

Secondly, over the years, we've had trouble with drug users choosing our carports for an alternative shooting gallery. As I've said before, as long as they leave me alone and take their stuff with them, I have no problems with them. Generally, you find a fix in the carport every so often and that is it. Nobody's OD'ed down there thank goodness. A pair of rubber gloves and some newspaper and the syringes can be safely removed. The police are aware of the situation, but they can't do anything.

Thirdly - the body corporate has decreed that storing stuff in the carports, other than cars, is not allowed. If it isn't a car or a locked up bike (which may get stolen so deal with it), or one or two items that cause no offence, the carports aren't to be used for storage.

Leah and I braced ourselves. We went up to have a polite talk to the neighbours.

They weren't home.

We never did get to have that chat.

This was a few weeks ago. In the weeks that follow, junkie detritus began to accumulate. A collection of handbags - more than likely stolen - began to gather at the hood of the Magna. The mattress, which was once stood up against the wall, fell onto the car. The neighbours did nothing about it. A polite letter to the body corporate was penned asking them to reiterate the carport rules.

It never got sent, but it was drafted. 

Leah and I were quite happy to ask the neighbours politely if they could move their rubbish and soon. It was more a gentle request to them asking for their junk to be removed. However we never got to see them.

Last night, as I was coming home from Blarney's I nearly backed over a couple of junkies. There was no scene to be made. I just made sure the car was locked and walked on quietly. They were sitting on the mattress, shooting up, chatting quietly among themselves. There was no need to engage.

I popped down later on my way to get some dinner. I did a quick round of the car to make sure it was alright. It was.

This morning, I made my way to work and I checked on the car again. It's a bit scary to think that you nearly ran somebody over in your own carport. I just wanted to be sure.

The mattress was gone. The left hand, driver's side window was smashed on the Magna. One of the "Hello, Kitty" headrests was gone

Neville was fine, thank goodness.

It appears that junkies might have a use too. Even if it is to scoff at their appalling taste in car accessories.

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