My neighbors’ door goes KABOOM.
It is unfortunate. I mean, a door is supposed to go SLAM, right?
Theirs doesn’t, though. There are two distinct syllables to this earth-shattering ear-bombardment: KA and BOOM. It is clear as day.
Or night. Whenever it is that they are slamming the door.
For the life of me I can’t figure out the physics of it. I mean, if the BOOM is the actual slamming of the door, then what is the KA? And if the KA is when door bangs shut, then what the hell is the BOOM?
I think about it a lot.
* * *
I am currently living at my parents’ beach house in Sea Isle City. It is close to Atlantic City, which is where I am currently working, so it makes a lot of sense for the time being.
During the summer, Sea Isle is a bustling beach town, full of families and partiers alike. It is harder to find a parking space during a weekend in the summer than it is to find the point in seeing a movie featuring Katherine Heigl.
But I am coming to learn that Sea Isle is a ghost town during the winter. Very few people live here year round.
In fact, I drove down my street today. It appears that besides my parents’ house, only one other residence is occupied on my street from the beach to the bay.
Guess which one it is.
Ding ding! You guessed it! My neighbors!!!
And the extra-special-super-awesome detail about my parents’ beach house is that it is a side-by-side!
I mean, what are the chances that out of the some 200 houses on the five blocks, the two occupied dwellings are only separated by two inches of wall?
Pretty cool, huh?
To compare, it feels as if I went to the movies by myself. Twenty minutes into the movie, a man waltzes into the empty theatre, looks around for a while, then sits directly next to me.
But it is not just one man living next door to me. There are four of them. The dad, the mom, and two girls. If I had to guess, I would say that one is eight, and the other thirteen.
And while they might not have any care in the world for how much noise pollution they create, I try to be a very thoughtful neighbor.
For example, I take special care to be quiet when returning to my house late at night. I neglect to use the remote lock button on my key to lock my car door so as to avoid the beep! that the car makes when doing so. Instead, I lock it by actually inserting the key into the door and turning, as they did in olden times.
I tiptoe up my outdoor stairs, making sure not to stomp. Once I reach my front door, I pull out my cell phone to light up my keychain. As I find my house key and ready it for insertion, I take special care not to jingle my keys.
Once inside for the night, I am always mindful of my neighbors. I am as quiet as possible in everything I do, even when putting ice cubes into a cup.
As I lay myself down to sleep, I smile a little bit as I envision the people of the world tranquilly enjoying their peaceful slumber.
A few hours later I am awakened by the early morning hustle and bustle of my neighbors as they prepare for their day.
That is the sound of one of the little angels as she runs down (most) of the steps, electing to jump from the third-from-bottom stair.
* * *
The thing about my neighbors is that I never see them, which is extra annoying because I know that they can always see me on their home security camera that they’ve got installed.
No word of a lie, I have been living here for five months and have seen them three times. That is not an exaggeration.
I first saw the dad on the day of the freak earthquake that hit the east coast. During the first five seconds of the quake, I obviously thought it was just them running around like usual. But when the chandelier began swaying back and forth and I could literally see the house itself swaying, he and I ran outside at the same time. Honestly, the thought of our home collapsing before us really made us talk seriously about our home insurance; safe to say, in situations like these, you ought to compare plans to see which insurance coverage best suits you, which is precisely what we did.
The second time I saw one of them was when my buddy, Petack, visited me for a weekend. As I went outside to greet him and help him bring in his bags, the dad was sitting on the steps, texting or something.
The third interaction occurred when I said “hello” to the two girls on my way to Wawa one afternoon as they were walking up the stairs with schoolbags on their backs.
And that’s it.
Anything else I know about them comes from the constant clamor that they make.
Because of the fact that they are so frequently heard but so scarcely seen, I am confident that one of two things is happening.
One: They are dead (See: Dream House, The Others, Stir of Echoes, and tons of other movies with essentially the same plot for more details on this theory).
Two: They are in the Witness Protection Program (Think about it: They live in a ghost town. They never leave the house. And I have no clue where the nearest school is).
Despite whatever humorous take I might take on this option henceforth, I am actually very serious in saying that there is actually a good chance that they might really be in the Witness Protection Program. And for the sake of simplicity, I will use it as my working theory for the remainder of this post.