Last night when I got home close to 7pm, their music was so loud I could hear it as I came through the back gate from my car. I got inside, shut the door, and could still feel the bass vibrating the house. This was the second night in row that I could physically feel their music from clear across my house. The night prior I had to turn my tv volume way up just to drown it out and I could still FEEL it as I sat on my couch. I’m on day five of a nasty head cold, three weeks out from my biggest fundraiser of the year, and a week before my period- it doesn’t take a mathematician to know that adds up to one very cranky, short-fused Sizzle.
I didn’t even take off my jacket but instead feed the cats then walked out the front door, across our lawn, around the side of our house and a massive tree to cross their driveway and knock on their door. I rapped on the screen door a few times with no response. I rang the doorbell but couldn’t hear if it works over the music. I pulled open the screen door to knock louder on their actual door that is adorned with a white wreath with blue ribbon. I knocked again. I must have knocked five different times before someone turned on the porch light and opened the door.
“Hi I am your neighbor!” I somewhat yelled to the short Asian man who answered the door, hoping to be heard over the blaring song.
“Uh. . . which one?” He looks from left to right, suspiciously.
I point to our house on the right. “That one. I just wanted to . . .”
He interrupts me with, “We are just testing our new system! We won’t have it on all night.” No one has turned the music down so we are talking loudly at one another, him inside the house, me on the porch. From my vantage point I can see it’s dimly lit in the living room- most of it from the television and this disco ball-like light that twirls bright green patterns on the ceiling. There are multi-colored holiday lights strung around the front living room window.
“Oh well okay I just wanted to introduce myself. We’re new to the neighborhood too- my husband and I. Did you just buy this house?” I am very friendly, not wanting to come off as rude even though my immediate reaction to anything all week was capital B for Bitchy. Not wanting to get into it with them when Mr. Darcy was working late and wouldn’t be home for hours and I hadn’t thought to text him I was going over there before I arrived at their doorstep.
A petite woman appears in the room and I wave at her and smile. The man, apparently realizing I am not there to yell at them, ushers me in. “Please, come in. My name is John. We rent this place.” He points to the woman, “This is Sandra.” I shake both their hands. Then another woman appears and I wave to her. They introduce her as another roommate who does not speak much English. Sandra asks, “Do you like Vietnamese food?” I shake my head agreeably, saying yes as I look around the room. She smiles and disappears into another room.
“Wow, you’ve really got this place set up! You guys really like to karaoke?” I exclaimed as I took in the room- the massive television where a handsome young Asian man was signing his heart out, the words of his song running along the bottom of the screen in a language I don’t know. I think to myself- we’re so screwed.
“Ohhh yes! We have people over but we try not to have it go too late. Sometimes we go karaoke then come over here to karaoke more.” He talks fast with an accent. He’s compact, shorter than me but I’m wearing heeled boots so I’m probably standing about 5’5″.
“Where do you go karaoke? It’s almost like you could set up your own karaoke bar here.” I smile but am thinking ‘holy crap please don’t set up your own karaoke bar next door to my house anymore than you already have’.
“We go to the International District- lots of places. We try not to be too loud.” I take that as my opening, “Sometimes we can hear your music clear across our house into our living room. It’s not always the volume but more often the bass level. It vibrates. It’s not that it’s often going on too late but rather that it’s so persistent.” I hope that he’s getting what I am saying.
“Oh yes, yes. Do you like to sing? You and your husband should come over, sing with us!” He’s enthusiastic, like us coming over solves any problem there might be with the exceptionally loud volume and vibrating bass. I laugh and say, “Yes I love to sing. My husband, not so much.”
“Do you like to drink?” he asks eagerly. “Well, we are Irish, so YES! Do you guys like to?” thinking we have found our common language in alcohol. “Yes! We do!” All of a sudden I am picturing us two pale Irish folks in that room, towering above the avid karaokers, a lavish spread of Vietnamese food on the table, and the music endlessly blaring as we get sufficiently drunk to stand it.
Sandra reappears with a baggie full of something hot. They shove it into my hands as a peace-offering and I make my way to the door with thanks and promise to drop off some homemade kahlua to them. “It was nice to meet you. It’s good to know your neighbors.” They smile, nod, wave and shut the door.
And that’s how I came to meet our neighbors with an invitation to karaoke and a bag of mysterious, gelatinous Vietnamese food. But hey, after that they turned their music off.