Every apartment block has a nosy neighbour: someone who casts an overly-watchful eye over the daily comings and goings – and we have our very own curtain twitchers in the form of… Susan and Dick.
Susan and Dick are a retired couple who moved into our apartment block with seemingly only one purpose in life: complaining. Susan is a twittery sparrow of a lady, with darting eyes and an accusatory scare. Prone to odd bursts of jittery laughter, she permanently scans the entrance gate of the apartments from her perch in the window. Poor Dick is a world-weary packhorse – placid and obedient – clearly worn down over the years by hen-pecking Sue.
When I walk past their window, I have this ridiculously childish urge to yell: ‘Sue loves Dickkkk!’.
This curmudgeonly couple take Neighbourhood Watch to a whole level. Susan knows the car registration of each and every resident – and their visitors. When she isn’t peering out of the window, she is firing off angry emails to the management company, complaining of noise, bins, squirrels, door mechanisms, and many, many other mundanities. Only last week, I spotted her measuring the communal entrance door, with a tape measure. Goodness knows why.
Deflated Dick seems to spend the winter shovelling snow and gritting the car park, complaining bitterly about the lack of support from other residents. One of his favourite pastimes is to Google neighbours to discover more about them. Nothing delights him more than finding out the occupation and workplace of a new resident. ‘Did you know the blonde girl in Apartment 4 works in PR?’ (Let’s hope he doesn’t google me!).
When we first moved in, the husband and I were very much in favour with SuDick. Basically, we nodded and smiled in all the right places, tutted in agreement about whoever dared to leave the gate to the bin compound swinging in the wind, rallied round to help Dick with his snow shovelling. But it was only a matter of time before our delicate relationship broke down. And broke down, it did…
Approximately a year ago, SuDick mooted the idea of having a carpet installed in the main entrance outside their apartment, claiming that the clip-clopping heels at night were interrupting their sleep. Initially, we were sympathetic and agreeable. That was, until we discovered that they didn’t just want to carpet outside their own apartment; they wanted to smother the whole apartment block in carpet, covering the perfectly nice wooden flooring – all at a cost of several thousand pounds.
Unbeknown to SuDick, I began a stealth campaign to veto the carpet, approaching residents one by one to join the boycott. It was risky. And when Susan got wind of my renegade carpet gang, she sent me a terse email, accusing me of causing ‘dissension among residents’.
We haven’t spoken since.
But there’s more fun to come. Bird-twitcher Dick has been leaving nuts out for his sparrows, which pest control claim are attracting pesky squirrels. The nuts, they say, have to stop. Oh dear.
I’m already building up to sending an ‘all residents’ email with the subject title: DICK’S NUTS ARE CAUSING A NUISANCE…