Have I mentioned how much I detest our neighbours upstairs ?
I love our other neighbours. But this couple above us really test my patience.
Similar to many in our area, we live in an old building, consisting of four units where creaky floorboards and tissue thin walls are inevitably part of the territory.
Part of Sydney apartment urban living means that you have to tolerate neighbours who elephant stomp. Late night muffled bedroom noises of heated conversations are par for the course. You somehow immune yourself to hearing upstairs’ toilet flush (and other *ahem* toilet activities).
That stuff, I can deal with.
But then, we enter an entire new level of misdemeanour.
On several occasions, usually in the early hours of a Sunday morning, Hubby has had to force himself out of bed to knock on their door to politely ask to keep the blaring noise of their stereo down – only to have our intoxicated neighbour slam the door in his face. He does eventually turn down the volume. Begrudgingly, I’m sure.
By the time Hubby returns to bed, I am completely riled up over such intolerable behaviour. Hubby gets upset too but isn’t as demonstrative as I am.
So, I have become this grumpy neighbour and I make sure I let them know.
When the wife bumps into me at the front foyer and greets me, I will barely mumble a reply.
Hanging the clothes out on the line, I completely avoid eye contact with the husband as he walks straight past me to get to his car.
Admittedly, all this pent up anger and angst is emotionally tiring. Yet, I have let it continue to brew inside me.
Until the other day.
While I was cooking dinner, Hubby happened to look out our back door.
“Our neighbour has left his car interior lights on…” he said.
Just as I grumbled, “Serves him right,” I realised that Hubby had made his way upstairs to actually tell him.
Yes, the same neighbour who has slammed the door in my husband’s face so many times I’ve run out of fingers.
It was then I realised that I was learning the art of forgiveness.
Right in front of my flat nose. Right under my own rickety rack roof.
I’m not here to tell you what a saint my husband is. (It’s State of Origin season, so he is not so ideal at the moment).
Likewise, I am even further from such benevolence.
But six months away from our second anniversary, I had an “Ah ! I get it !” moment about married life.
I started thinking about our wedding vows. How we promise to forever love each other, be there for each other, keep each other happy.
That is all undeniably important and sacred.
But how about the importance of living through example ? Learning life virtues from your partner ?
As parents, we expect to be role models for our children.
Lest we forget to be role models to each other.
So, the other morning, as I was routinely hanging out the washing and my blessed neighbour walked by, I gave him a smile – albeit a little forced.
I even threw in a cheery, “Good morning…”
As much as I hate to admit it, it actually made me feel okay.
Musings of Mama Grace © 2011