After locking horns with SuDick and my weary battles with Greenclaws, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I’ve entered a cold war with another of my tiresome neighbours; I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m the problem.
Bill from Apartment 2 is one of those ‘I’m-alright-Jack’ characters, who is perfectly pleasant when you bump onto him in the corridors but underneath his friendly facade, lurks a selfish and mean-spirited man.
Bill and I were muddling along quite well (with a neighbourly wave here and there) until one evening the husband accidentally parked in Bill’s parking spot rather than our own (if you knew The Husband and his acute absent-mindedness, this is a perfectly plausible mistake).
The next morning we found a note on our car saying: ‘NEVER PARK HERE AGAIN’. I was a bit taken aback. The mask of friendly Bill had slipped.
Outside our apartments, there is an unofficial parking bay which people occasionally use if they’re too lazy to park in the proper car park down the hill. Bill, in particularly, was a regular user. However, at a recent residents’ meeting we collectively agreed that we shouldn’t park there as it was causing an obstruction to others.
Initially, Bill took this new rule very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that if anyone ever parked in that spot, he would leave one of his NEVER PARK HERE notes on the offending vehicle. Like SuDick, he was another retiree with too much time on his hands (and a seemingly never-ending supply of post-it notes).
A month or two elapsed – until, to my amazement, Bill started parking back in the very spot himself. I couldn’t believe it. Talk about double standards.
It was time for some payback.
Spotting his car there one morning, I scampered rapidly back into our apartment, grabbed a post-it note of my own and wrote: DO NOT PARK HERE.
‘Ha ha! A taste of your own medicine, Bill,’ I thought, as I gleefully slapped it on his windscreen, before heading down the hill to clamber in my own legally-parked vehicle.
However, as I drove back up from the car park… Oh no! Bill was there – standing by his car and brandishing my note, a look of pure rage etched upon his ruddy face. I attempted to maintain an air of superior indifference as I beetled past. But we both knew I had been caught red-handed.
I thought nothing else of the incident until I returned home that night and found my post-it note back slapped on my front door for all to see, with a new message scrawled on the bottom.
‘GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT’.
The cheeky swine. I was furious. And in my fury, hastily bashed out the following email:
Seconds after hitting the ‘send’ button, I regretted it. It was a bit strong, I thought anxiously. Even The Husband (bcc’d in) was shocked by my venom.
I spent the next few weeks skulking down the corridor and tiptoeing to my car, hoping never to bump into angry Bill again.
Until one morning, I hopped in my car and was just plodding up the drive when the engine suddenly cut out. I just about managed to pull over. I turned the key. The engine coughed slightly and then nothing… I had broken down.
And worse still, I was now parked myself in the illegal parking space! Surely this could not be happening.
With a heavy heart, I had no choice but to abandon the car for the whole day, with a giant note pinned on the windscreen stating: CAR BROKEN DOWN. AWAITING RECOVERY.
I could just imagine Bill’s smug smile when he saw my sad, malfunctioning vehicle occupying the much-maligned spot – before being carted off to the garage.
Bill had won.
And he didn’t need a post-it note to tell me.