Diaries Magazine

Building Relationships: Part Deux.

Posted on the 28 July 2013 by Ellacoquine @ellacoquine

building relationships: part deux. Hello, gorgeous! Neither are my buildings, but a girl can dream...

Living in an apartment building is sort of like a human petri dish; it's almost like an experiment where it is susceptible to bizarre incidents, random drama, and the interaction of strange characters from different backgrounds who otherwise may have never crossed paths had they not somewhat shared a living space. The night before my departure back to New York, we had witnessed a rather colorful incident in our building.
It was set, I was in for a quiet night. My bags were ready to go waiting for me at the front door, my passport and official documents were in order, my plane outfit set out on the couch (stand-by passengers using employee family passes have to abide by a dress code), and my wine was chilled. Simple!
With a glass of Bourgogne Aligoté in my left hand and my watering can in my right, I was going to kick off my raging eve with giving my window herbs the watering of a lifetime. Due to the scorching temperatures, watching my herbs fry during the day, I have been miscalculating just how much they need and end up watering the sidewalk below. Luckily our street is extremely quiet where pedestrians really are few and far between. At least that's what I tell myself....
At that thought was when our doorbell rang.
Oh no!

I knew this day would come. Someone was coming up to complain about my sloppy watering job. Merde! I expected to open the door to a pissed off neighbor, drenched, and holding a puppy who was also drenched. Freaking out, I closed the window and hid the evidence of the watering can behind the curtains and suspiciously opened the door.
Standing in the hallway was not a drenched neighbor and his or puppy but an extremely attractive Japanese girl with full, flowing dark hair, sporting a wee little outfit, who was looking at me expectantly. Bonsoir?
"BonsoirI'm sorry to disturb you but have you seen my cat? She's gray." she asked.
Had I seen her cat? Well if this wasn't the opening of a film where I had been painfully miscast...
Screaming out to Aurel in the living room, I asked if he had seen a gray cat lurking around the building. Earlier in the evening he had been in our cavernous Silence of the Lambs basement to collect the suitcases, and he offered the possibility that the cat had crept in behind him and was locked downstairs.
Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to see a cat since I had to leave mine back in New York four years ago, I agreed to join the investigation. So it may have just been my imagination but looking back, I noticed the girl, our neighbor, fluffing her hair up and adjusting her low cut dress. It wasn't until I saw her display a look of total disappointment at the announcement of my participation in the kitty hunt that I knew the hair fluff was no coincidence. Apparently I was miscast in her scenario as well. Some girls, I tell you...
The three of us walked down to the first floor, opened the basement door, and voilà, there was kitty. (So much for the hunt.) Crouching low on the first step of the basement, the cat who goes by the name Yoko, had little dust clusters stuck in her whiskers and her white paws were spotted black from the dirty floor. 
Mystery solved. Back to drinking wine.
But not so fast!
Just as we were wishing our neighbor a bonne soirée, the apartment door of Helena, our gardienne furiously sprung open. Our building manager is such a sweet woman, petite and lovely, and there has not been a morning where I have not caught a genuine smile on her face. Well there is a first for everything... 
Storming out of her apartment in a fury, she addressed our neighbor  who was heading back to her apartment, next door to Helena's.
"Attendez! Attendez! Attendez!" she screamed, pointing her finger in the air.
The neighbor stopped, putting down Yoko the Cat to scurry off into the courtyard. My neighbor didn't appear at all alarmed by the gardienne's aggression, and looked at Helena as if she was ready for what she was going to say. Us, on the other hand, were most certainly not.
"I'm going to say this in front of witnesses!" she threatened, "If I hear you and your boyfriend beating each other again, I will call the police!"
Beating each other? Ça va pas! It really is moments like these that I place hope that my comprehension is off. It was the second time she had said it, and Aurel's shock that confirmed that I was correct the first time, and that we have neighbors...who beat each other at night? All I could think of was little Yoko and her unfortunate exposure to domestic violence.
"I don't want to hear your bizarre sex games either," Helena continued, "I live right next door. It is not correct!"
It was getting juicier by the sentence, but I must say, I didn't feel comfortable being a witness to this private information being offered to us. I mean I'll just blog about it. Unfortunately we were situated behind the line of fire, and would have to interrupt them by squirming between them in order to get to the staircase. We weren't messing with it, Helena was a force not to be reckoned with.
"I know, Madame," my neighbor explained, "I am mentally ill though."
"I know you are, but that doesn't mean that I don't need to sleep!" Helena responded.
Wait, so they have discussed this before? What the hell goes on in our building? Helena continued on with her laundry list of complaints ranging from the clacking sound of her heels, loud calls to Japan, but the conversation kept rerouting back to violent sex and beatings. 
Once our neighbor, who, by the way was completely unphased, had retreated back to her apartment, Helena turned to us and transformed back to the sweet woman that we know. It was as if nothing had previously transpired. Helena entertained us with casual talk about the weather and vacation before giving us a hug and heading back in for the night. The two of us stood there stunned, shocked, silent...and decided to leave to take an evening walk to get a glass of something stronger than chilled wine.
Just when you think you are going to have a quiet night in, you get literally pulled out of the confines of your own apartment and dragged into a mini drama. Aside from learning that there are some questionable characters in our building, I also learned to not mess with our guardienne, this woman is a force not to be reckoned with.

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