I see him every evening when I pull into the driveway. Mr Bluetooth. He’s there come rain or shine, getting out of his BMW (of course…) permanently attached and usually shouting into his headset. His blood pressure must be through the roof as he strides about round his car gathering up his daily detritus before going into his basement flat and slamming the door.
At the far end of the car park is Ernie, the fastest ingratiator in the West. Within a week of moving in he’d rearranged the car parking spaces so for the first time since the millennium each flat had a space they could live with. Were happy with in fact. Ernie knows everyone and has assumed the role of benevolent dictator for the building. It started with his home laminated signs by the bins reminding us (in block capitals) of the need to recycle lest our bins not be emptied and thus lower the tone of the neighbourhood and has progressed to the resurgence of the bi-monthly residents cheese and wine soirée.
I round the front of the building and clock the sun worshippers. There on the patio if there’s a hint of a sunbeam with a setup to make even the most hardened sunbather jealous. With their favourite shows on the iPad, a large carafe of wine and some nibbles, they make sure to swap places every half hour to ensure an even tan. God forbid that the gardener doesn’t do a thorough job of the bushes by the pond because to lose their sea view would be earth shattering and they are not afraid of letting him know.
As I walk to my stoop I give a cheery wave to Pat and her lazy arse dog Meg who raises her head an imperceptible amount and gives the tiniest tail flick in recognition. When it’s really hot Pat joins the sun worshippers from a safe distance by sitting with her crochet under a parasol and a large jug of juice. Meg the lazy arse dog remains lying at the top of the steps keeping an eye on proceedings. I shudder inwardly at the rather not for the neighbourhood sparkly owl and solar powered LED sheep on the wall and then with a nod to Hobo the Hellbeast sat in my living room window I bounce up my steps, taking great care not to make eye contact with my downstairs neighbour.
She whose rampant appetite for orgasms has been much discussed on my Facebook because stone me, she likes a knee trembler. Having heard her almost every night for well over a month now I just can’t bring myself to raise my eyes and smile at her through her bay window. It’s not that I’m sexually repressed it’s just… well it’s just not cricket is it.
Up into the flat to be greeted by nuzzles and head boops from the Beast. If I’m really lucky he doesn’t dribble on me in sheer delight at my being home before jumping onto the arm of the sofa and howling for food. In anticipation of half past five ticking round, once he’s eaten some bikkits he assumes the position back on the windowsill ready for his favourite part of the day. We both hear it from way off down the shore, the clip clop of trotting hooves which signals the passing of two horse and traps on their way to the local working men’s club. The horses dutifully stand outside in the road whilst their owners enjoy themselves inside and the locals don’t even bat an eyelid when they go through the village.
Half past ten signals time for them to trot home and as alive as the building is during the day it starts to settle. The creaks and shudders, doors opening and closing, curtains being drawn and lights being switched off. All is silent. All is still.
And then. Then. The loudest owl you’ve ever heard in your ENTIRE LIFE gets going. Reminding us all that really, it’s his world and we’re just living in it.