Neighborly Neurosis

You’ve heard about the Hoarder, right? She’s my tenant, my next door neighbor, a very nice woman who lives in an apartment stuffed with stuff and things and more things and other stuff. She’s also very tiny so I’m surprised her apartment has not yet swallowed her up.

So the other day, Mr. Darcy and I are returning home and I notice multiple bags in the hallway. Bags filled with what appears to be recycling. Her apartment door is slightly ajar and I can hear voices. This piques my interest because a) I’ve never in the 2.5 years I’ve lived here heard her have a visitor over, b) could she actually be cleaning (gasp!) and c) I am nosy. As we walk past I poke Mr. Darcy while pointing and (stage) whispering “look inside the Hoarder’s place!” because I want him to see the hoarding in all its glory but instead he looks the other way aghast that I, again, have zero ability to be subtle.*

It’s true; subtlety is not my strong suit.

A little while later as I lugged laundry down to the wash room I noticed that the bags had multiplied. Where there were three there were now six. While I commend her progress, I don’t much care for looking at other people’s trash. Besides the lease specifically states that tenants are not to clutter up the communal hallways. I let it be as much as it irks me because if she’s actually cleaning her hovel, I don’t want to stop progress.

The next day I leave to go to work and there are still bags there and now, a large box apparently containing an air purifier. This puts me on edge. But I don’t say anything. I tell myself to chill and if the stuff is still there when I get home from work, I will talk to her. Mr. Darcy texts me later that morning on his way to work to report that some of the bags had been removed. But when I arrived home that night there were still bags of trash and the air purifier. Grrrrrr! Again, I let it go thinking she’s trying and I should cut her some slack. She does have a bit of a limp and maybe it’s harder for her to clear out her debris. I mean she’s differently-abled and I should be more understanding. But still, I HATE LOOKING AT THAT SHIT IN THE HALLWAY.

Here’s where I wonder: If you are a hoarder and you live in a communal apartment building maybe it’s a cruel twist of fate to live next to your apartment manager who also happens to be a bit of a clean freak. Or it is possibly The Universe trying to help you get a grip. Don’t make me call A & E on your ass.

It’s then Tuesday and I leave for work noticing there are still bags and the box near her door. I swear to the baby Jesus that if she doesn’t remove that pile of shit by the time I get home, I’m fucking writing her up. Then I apologize to the baby Jesus for swearing and ask for a little help with having some patience and tolerance because I AM ON THE VERGE.

Can I get an Amen?

I arrive home last night to, guess what? Three bags and the damned box. I drop my stuff in my apartment and write her a note. Not an official warning that goes in her file, just a neighborly notice saying that while I appreciate she is cleaning out her apartment would she please not keep stuff in the hallways for days at a time as it is disrespectful to the other tenants and against her lease agreement.

Because one day? Okay, I can tolerate it. But three days? Hell to the No. If you let one person breaks the rules then all hell breaks loose. I’m trying to run a reputable establishment here for fuck’s sake.


*Remind me to tell you sometime about the time when Mr. Darcy and I were on a plane and I was very unsubtle.


25 thoughts on “Neighborly Neurosis

  1. I am not subtle either. My friends and husband have all been embarassed at least once. Oh well.

    I really hope she is cleaning up her place, but agreed, don’t dump your stuff in the communal area.

  2. Maybe she was scared into cleaning by the news story of the elderly couple here in Chicago who was found after being trapped for 2 weeks under the fallen heaps of stuff in their home. Last I heard, both were still alive, but suffering from dehydration, malnutrition and rat bites. Two weeks trapped under garbage while rats nibble at me? That’d be enough to make me clean.

  3. I so thought the end of the story was going to be that she was dead and it was a family member cleaning out her apartment. I’m glad she is alive still. (that sounds really strange to type out!) I can’t imagine living with so much stuff. I feel cluttered when I even have a normal amount of “stuff” and feel sort of like I can’t breathe when the kids leave their junk all over the place so I can’t even imagine seeing someone elses garbage in the hall like that. If I lived on my own I would be the opposite of a hoarder I think. Luckily I have kids to balance out my own throw/give everything away issue and to make enough of a mess that I live like a normal person.

  4. Yeesh! Well good that she is cleaning something, of course. Maybe it is a process. Inside the door to outside the door to the dumpsters? I hope for your sake it’s all gone now!

  5. living next to a hoarder would make me very itchy (especially after seeing the episode of Bones where a hoarder died and they were checking out his apartment and not only were there rodents and bugs, there were SNAKES – barf)

  6. Just for the record- there are not bug infestations or rodents in this hoarding situation. She’s got a LOT of stuff in that apartment and it is insanely messy and disorganized but it’s not to the point where she could die under a pile of her miscellaneous stuff.

  7. Oh, man, I’m glad that is not my neighbor. I would assume that the hoarding has taken over the hallway and I would make it my business by passive aggressively taking the stuff out to the dumpster myself. Because I am a snot like that. I am actually impressed by your restraint.

  8. @windsor grace: Uh, I totally do. I felt like I’ve made that clear based on my multiple posts indicating how neurotic and controlling I am. 😉

  9. It sounds like you were very controlled in your reaction. Three days? That ridiculous. She could ask for help if she needed it.

    btw – so do tell about the plane unsubtleness?

  10. Plane story, please 😉 I think three days is pretty good, I don’t know that I could have waited that much time to say anything.

  11. I hate my upstairs neighbors. HATE them.

    The other day they threw dirty mop water (or some other kind of water, but really how many kinds of water can you be tossing from a bucket from your apartment? Not that we have that many places to mop but still.) across their balcony and onto the ground below where Vahid’s bikes were tethered to the pole in front of my patio.


  12. Heh! Or, maybe instead of cleaning? She is just “branching out” her storage options, into the nearby hallway?? You know, like country people do, on their front porch? (There will be an old couch next. There has to be, to hold all the boxes going out there!)

  13. I’ve probably shared this before, but we lived across from a real-life hoarder at our last apartment and she and her husband were eventually evicted for it. Our rental company actually had a clause in the lease about keeping the apartment clean — that is specifically meant for these types of cases. She had already ruined one apartment in the same complex before they moved near us and then she had her ‘fresh start’ but within 2 months, she’d filled up the ENTIRE house.

    The reason that the management even knew what was happening was that she’d steam clean the small patches of exposed carpet every night (365!) and the carpets never dried fully one day to the next, so eventually they molded and rotted and actually rotted all the floor boards and support beams underneath. They were about to fall through a hole in their floor! After they left, the people fixing the apartment had to wear full yellow HAZMAT suits – it looked like a scene from ET.

  14. Was completely thinking of the Bones episode…

    Rules are rules, she shouldn’t be leaving her crap out. Betcha she thought you would pick the bags up and dump them for her.

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