Against my wishes (for my fear of confrontation is great), my boss phoned my landlord on Friday to complain about the fact that my neighbours’ volume problem at night is rendering me unfit for work.
It fell to the little old lady (the one who brought me soup when I was ill) to resolve the issue, and she was waiting for me on Friday evening to grill me about the noise issue as I arrived home from work. She was taking it all very seriously, with the excited interest that a lot of old women seem to take in other people’s affairs. You could almost see the “Finally! A bit of drama around here!” banner flying over her head.
So anyway, I naturally expected the noise issue to be at an end. You don’t mess with the ajummas, after all. But I woke up at 1.30am to the sound of Yer One “talking” on the phone. When I say talking, I mean shouting, and when I say shouting, I mean whining at a ridiculously high volume. It’s like she’s in my room, sitting on the edge of my bed, and whining into my ear.
Around 2am, I lost patience and yelled at her to shut up, but she didn’t seem to hear.
Around 2.30, I gave up on pleading and instead turned the TV on and cranked the volume up to 50. I sat with my hands over my ears for as long as I could bear, and then turned it off to discover that she was still talking as if she hadn’t even noticed. What is WRONG with this girl?! Does she think this is normal behaviour?!!
So I banged on the wall and howled something about the time, and still she gave no acknowledgement. Eventually I got up and watched a TV show and ate breakfast, because sleep was impossible. She stopped talking at 4.30am and I finally got to sleep.
It was only at 9am that I realised she hadn’t yet had her warning. I was awakened by the old woman going to her door and talking to her. I heard their voices. I heard the door close. And then the old woman knocked on MY door! Oh, dear lord. I didn’t answer, mortified at the thought that the girl obviously knew it was me who’d complained, and that she would probably hear our conversation, and that I would never be able to step outside again for fear of meeting her.
But the old lady kept knocking. And then – here it comes – she slid up my keypad lock and tried to open my door!!!
She has my number because I gave it to her to let a repairman in last week and never got around to changing it. I never expected her to just let herself in when I wouldn’t answer the door! Fortunately I tend to slide the snib across when I’m home, out of a lifetime of habit, protection against burglars, etc. You just never think that the intruder you’re preventing is actually an 80-year-old ajumma who thinks you’re lying in bed too late on a Saturday morning. I honestly believe that had the door not been locked, she would’ve marched in, whipped the blankets off me, flung the windows open, and shouted “What time do you call THIS?! I’ve all the cleaning done, and been to the market, and prepared all the meals for the week ahead. And you’re not even UP YET?! Get out of that bed you lazy brat!” .
As it was, the door beeped and refused to let her in, and I cowered under the blankets, exhausted and sleep-deprived, willing her to go away, which she eventually did. Not for long, mind you, for she returned with her banging and thumping and attempted door-opening not 30 minutes later. Sighing, I dragged myself out of bed and to the door, where she poured forth a torrent of rapid Korean at me, the gist of which seemed to be that she’d put Yer One in her place, but that Yer One apparently had some issues of her own with me.
I had a ridiculous conversation, unable to understand most of it, but assuring the old lady that I had not, in fact, had a guest the previous night. It was only when she left that I realised the girl next door had, after all, heard my angry yells and bangs on the wall, but hadn’t had the gumption to put two and two together and work out that they were connected to her own noisefest. She assumed that I was cheerfully being noisy in my room, rather than thinking “Hmm, I’m making an awful lot of noise for after 2 in the morning, maybe the neighbour’s pissed off and trying to tell me to shut up!”. And then had the SHEER NERVE to complain about ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Communication continues to fail. I may be losing it.