I mean to say, I write "installment" in the title and the spellcheck threatens me with expulsion from the universe, being whipped by Angel Delight (butterscotch flavour) and all sorts. But it looks right I think, so look it up in my trusty Collins English dictionary, where Mr Collins tells me that it can be spelt with a double L or a single one. I choose the latter and decide to open this blog post with a mini rant about it. Pah! is all I can say.
The first two parts of this post can be found here and here. An apology is necessary, for no other reason than sometimes that Brit in me feels a need to apologise. That's what we do. But the real apology is for a three part post, something I never intended, just that the story is a long one. I hope, as do you no doubt, that this is the final part.
So I'd spoken to A about the mess, I'd accepted her worryingly grovelling and out of character humble apology and life sailed on, as it does by the river.
You've never met my neighbours before have you?
Well the ground floor of RD Towers has two apartments; mine and the one next door. There's a wall that separates us and we have a hall that contains each of our front door. They're a really nice couple called J and D. They must be in their later forties, he's divorced with a grown up daughter and she, the D in the couple, is a air stewardess for Virgin. I'm pretty sure she's not a virgin, that wall is quite thin you know.
J (the he) works in oil. But he's not a painter, I mean he works in proper oil, so he spends a lot of his time away from his apartment. D, being air crew, also spends mucho timeo awayo. The result is that they convene at their place every few weeks and I don't see them that often. They're nice, easy going and pleasant enough.
J likes to play music and with the wall being what it is, this means I often hear his choice of playlist, something that's never a problem for me. Life, as far as I'm concerned, is better to music. Because of this it means that he's a fellow who never has an issue with noise from my side of the wall, such noise usually being the dull thud of me practicing on my electronic drums, which some find annoying.
So I reckon we're pretty perfect neighbours for each other, though J might prefer me to be a blonde large breasted nymphomaniac. As I would prefer him to be come to think of it, though proper girls' breasts I mean, not a bloke with manboobs.
And last Sunday J and D were around, the first time I'd seen them this year. I bumped into them by the lift. We shot the shit for a bit, then we chewed the cud and then finally we chatted about things.
There was talk about the weather in New York, where D had just flown in from, some bits and pieces about what they did for Christmas, a section on my sojourn to the motherland and then J hit me with it, the thing.
"And how was your flat?"
"Eh?" said I.
"How was your flat, after the parties?"
"The PARTIES??" I said.
"Erm yes, parties. It wasn't a problem, your daughter even came and apologised about the noise the next day. And she warned us about it before as well. "
All of which made me feel a lot better, as you can imagine.
"Parties?" I said. You know when you get stuck in that place, the place where there are thousands of things going through your head yet you only manage to get the same word out repeatedly? Well I was there.
"Did she have more than one?" I asked, as if that wasn't clear enough already.
J hesitated, his mind already feeling sorry for A, for the trouble he might have dropped her in. But, as Marty McFly knows very well, you can't go back in time.
"Well yeah, she had more than, ahem, one. There was New Year's Eve and at least one more a couple of days before...... but the noise wasn't a problem at all, we're not bothered by that sort of thing. Really it was fine."
I offered my profound gratitude for his act of grassing up my eldest, we swapped lighthearted banter about the things kids do and off I went to the gym, where I slowly seethed, realising exactly why A had been relatively quick to apologise and admit to things, why she'd agreed to my every demand. It was all a cover up and I'd so nearly been duped.
I returned from the gym, knocked on J and D's door and gave them a bottle of champagne as an apology and a thank you for putting up with the noise. J refused it, then took it and we did that manly dance of not accepting something but not being sure at precisely which point to back off. We got there in the end, him taking the bottle and me being pleased that he had.
I was back in that situation that every parent has had to face; when you're actually proud of your child for doing something and getting away with it, almost in this case, but you have to let them know that you know and that it's not to happen again.
I was also pretty angry with her. Two parties? It was out of order and she needed to be told.
After some tactical pondering my favoured course of action was one of letting A know that I'd found out the truth without coming down too heavily on her. I sent her a text saying
"I hear you had 2 parties while I was away"
The response came instantly
Which put me in an awkward posish.
I let it lie, figuring the best thing was to wait until she was with me a few days later.
Wednesday came, as Wednesdays do, and I picked up the girls. After some preliminaries, mostly involving them raiding my fridge and chocolate drawer and eating things as if they haven't eaten for weeks, I summoned A into my room. She followed me, trying to look cool and nonchalant. I led her, attempting the same. Both of us failed with massive success.
"So" I opened with. It seemed like a good way of setting the tone.
"I hear you had two parties while I was away." I'd decided not to divulge my sources early, to see how she'd react. That, as well as opening with "so", was pretty much my plan.
"No" A replied, but said it with that indignant teenager voice, so it sounded more like "nooo ooooerr" going down about a semitone, perhaps a tone, in the second syllable. The word "no" as far as I can make out, is one small word consisting of one syllable and two letters. There's not much to it. If it was a food it would be a salad with only lettuce and no dressing. How every teenage in the world can say it with so much expression and meaning is a mystery to me.
I knew that I had to ramp things up, that we were close to a stalemate. At the risk of their wrath I had to reveal my sources. It was sensible but perhaps not a good way to ingratiate myself to the average journalist.
"Well I saw J and D next door, they've been away, and they said you had two parties actually"
And I said the "actually" in that petulant "ha I've sussed you out" way. I meant it to sting.
"Well I had friends round twice, but they were hardly parties. And we didn't really make that much noise so I don't know why they're complaining."
"Well they weren't complaining, they just mentioned it. They were fine about it" I said, realising that I was on precarious ground that was about to collapse underneath me.
"You never said I couldn't have people round twice. And they were okay about the noise yeah?"
The ground gave way and swallowed me.
"Well, you know" I came back cleverly with.
"You should ask me next time."
"Yeah okay Dad, whatever."
And life carried on.
I think it's safe to say I won that one easily.