November 25th. --- Wake up very early this morning - a quarter past 5. Why? I think, staring into the dark sky of Berlin, no star to be be seen today - Why?
I might sleep as long as I want to, because a week ago I took my heart into both hands, or better: one, because in the other hand I carried the dustbin on my way down to the cellar where the 6 big dustbins for the whole house stand (the two for plastic constantly overflowing).
In the courtyard a week ago I had heard steps behind me - AND THOSE STEPS I KNOW!
The Flying Dutchman calls the owner of these steps "Pantoffeli". The Dutch have the tendency to make everything small and harmless by adding the syllable "-je" to it (a diminutive as "- let" in English) - and the Dutch use it in abundance, living in a small-sized country.
Pantoffel might be translated to "clogs" in English (though I remember the old English word "pantofle")
I say Hi and try to put some warmth into my eyes. In daytime neighbour is unremarkable, but at night he turns into a monster - murders my sleep with wooden clogs in the apartment over my head.
Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! I sit bolt-upright in my bed. Every night, at least two times, at least since a year - yet I cannot get used to it. At three o'clock it's prostate-time: Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! For me the perfect moment to send out Red-golden Love to all Beings in the World - yet that often fails because I am at the same time busy with incarnating a pressure cooker before explosion.
To cut a long story short: I spoke to him.
Very very friendly (as no-one loves to be rebuked). Not his fault, oh no, I say - of course he is a free man who can do as he wants - and nothing to complain about clogs in broad daylight (which is almost the truth), but at night... could he be so kind and spare a HSP like me, a fragile little woman (here I try to hunch my 1.78m a bit) that stomping at night? Entirely my fault, I repeat, and the fault of a typical Berlin pre-WWII-residential building with beautiful parquet (Query: do I overdo it and sound like Hyacinth Bucket?), and could he kindly change his clomps to bedroom slippers at night?
He smiles benignantly at me. Had I but spoken up earlier! he says. I button my lips, because three years ago I had - which gave me more than one year of undisturbed sleep, then he must have discovered his favourite Pantoffel again ...
And away he walks, rattling with his knight's armour ... can I trust my eyes: is he emanating a weak aureole of Red-golden light?
Whatever: it worked!!! I can sleep through till 5 or 6 o'clock, undisturbed at eleven, midnight and three o'clock in the morning! Bliss!!!
Well done! What an excellent result to a gigantic & painful endurance test for you! The biggest question must have to be How on God's Green Earth did he not think that clogs on wooden floors could disturb his neighbours in their slumbers? Baffling! You probably have enough material to write a crime thriller with all the wicked ways you dreamt of doing away with him and/or his pantoffel. Funnily enough, I did not know there was an English word pantofle, and yet ... both the Greek and Italian word for Slippers is pantofole/pantoufle, so perhaps Pantofelli really did think he was scuffing around in bedroom slippers all along?ReplyDelete
Thank you, Pipistrello! There is still a little bit too much of The Provincial Lady in the text (that's why I call it Finger exercises, have to find my own style - that sort of tale above works and I utterly enjoy to write it, but it takes much time).Delete
Yes: thinking about how one affects others is definitely not my neighbour's most distinctive trait - so: I have to open my mouth...
I don't know whether you know that I write a lot about detective novels (and series - I have a -still unsold - fat manuscript "English Detective Series", a sort of opera-guide in German, for Germans who want to discover more than "Midsomer Murder". As the first and only thought of publishers understandably enough is: "Money!" - and the market for my fine manuscript is not that big - I almost gave up hope -- but yes: there are many ways to venture that frustration, screech, screech says my feather on the handmade paper, splattering ink like blood :-)
And yes: it might be a semantic problem Pantoffeli is suffering of -- he is a chemical scientist - thus... I don't know why but somehow I think he does not read Wuthering Heights...
Ho! No, I did not know you've a fine manuscript on crime-writing languishing ... Hmmm, a Scientist. Could be on The Spectrum.Delete
A good result Britta and you dealt with it perfectly. I, too, am always extra nice in these situations ..... I think it works so much better than being angry and shouting !ReplyDelete
I am having problems with SKY at the moment .... after over 2
months, they still haven't sorted our problem so, I might get a bit angry with them when I ring them next !!!! XXXX
Thank you, Jackie! I really thought about my reaction to him, (a hand-written letter lay on my table, but then I thought better about that..)Delete
As to complaints about SKY and Telecom and Amazon - very, very rightful to be angry with them! - yet I learned it works better to tell them first that a) I know that the person I am talking too is utterly innocent - it is always the fault of somebody else - and b) to tell them that I feel with them having a job where they have to listen to complaints and angry customers all day long... then coming back to a)...
It works sometimes wonder - they start to really help you.
That is: if you are lucky and can talk to a real human being and not an answering machine :-) XXXX
Maybe he will take up playing the bassoon - in his slippers...ReplyDelete
I hope he doesn't read this blog, Tom - you might give him new ideas!!!Delete
You very skillfully and diplomatically solved this problem. How could your neighbor not know his clogs were echoing into your home in the middle of the night? My experience is: Some are oblivious of others. Your gentle persuasion got a successful result. That's all that matters.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Susan! Maybe he is a bit deaf?Delete
Honestly: I think he is highly selfish - and to think about the effect of his way of life might not even entered his head... And maybe the neighbours in the apartment above his do have carpets? Wear bed slippers? Are seldom at home?
Or maybe it is a deeply ingrained animal habit to brand his territory by loud beating, maybe in a former life he was a woodpecker, two tons big??
I hope it lasts.ReplyDelete
Me too, dear Emma, me too...Delete
You have been very patient with him I think.ReplyDelete
Utterly patient I was - and as I would not follow the advice of my doctor (he suggested - honestly, Rachel, he said that, because I should sleep well! - to build a sound proof cabin into my fine stucco ceiling almost 4m high (bed) room!!!!) I had to brood about another solution - I mean, I had spoken to him before! - and I do not want to move...Delete
So I hope he will remember... The alternative, that after him a family with maybe 4 children would move in - is not better...
As we say here, better the devil you know.Delete
I soundproofed a wall in my previous house to block out my neighbours noises. You doctor was not so mad.
You are right about the devil...Delete
Here in the Berlin apartment the walls are approximately 4m high, and there is beautiful stucco - it would be a shame... Of course, he said: but better the stucco not to be seen than getting no wink of sleep..
Sometime read Willa Cather, My Mortal Enemy. The clogs are only peripheral to the story, but just as loud and disturbing. And Willa Cather is a great writer.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Joanne, to remind me of her - and yes, I will read that novel!ReplyDelete
When I studied American literature "My Antonia" was the only novel I read by her, and then, sorry, I forgot her - but that title...makes me a bit uneasy...will have to read it soon... thanks to kindle I can...
It's quite short. You probably will find it in a volume of her short stories. Or borrow it from the library (of course).Delete
The professor who took my M.A. thesis was a specialist for a) American Short Stories and b) Emily Dickinson. Can you imagine, Joanne, that I let (I repeat: I let, I am no victim) my husband persuade me to write about Dashiell Hammett (that was fun too, yes, I worked in the British Museum for a while, and the more than 200 pages of my thesis are still 'on demand' sometimes - BUT to think that I did not take the chance (I burn for Emily!) to write about her!Delete