The fight with my neighbours, of course. It started because once again, because I was sick and trying to do some work on the laptop, and because the music from next door was *so* loud that I could feel it pounding through my body, I was audacious, rude and inconsiderate enough to venture next door and ask if the music could be turned down.
WELL. You should have heard Carla (landlord) go off. She was livid. If I don’t like the music, I could move out! (Um... you already told me I had to?...) I was so shocked, I started to cry. What the hell happened? She used to be friendly. I just couldn’t understand it.
Anyway, I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I came back home, but I was too upset and I really couldn’t handle the music. So I went back next door and tried again. Carla came and talked to me, still super cranky - ‘I like to have parties’, she said. The implication being, fuck off if you don’t love loud music, malae. This is our house. Nobody wants you here. (Even if the rent you pay is funding our billiards table, stereo, parties and basic living needs, like food.)
Anyway, I apologised for offending (because I suspect they’re pissed off with me pretty much for existing and probably for other things I have no clue about), and tried to explain that I wasn’t trying to stop their fun, etc etc, I never complain other times, I asked *this* time because the music is ALWAYS on and I am sick and trying to work.
She didn’t particularly give a shit about that at all – she was pretty much concerned with her family’s Right To Partay Nonstop – and of course she was pissed that I dared to come into their house last Thursday and turn the music down.
I explained why I had gone in (because no one could fucking well hear me shouting). She said, I should have called her. I pointed out, I don’t have her number – although I do have Lee’s – and I didn’t think of it. I also pointed out that someone had come into my house and done things without telling me. She looked superior and said ‘Lee, my husband’, like, of COURSE Lee is allowed into my house without telling me (can I just point out here that my house is always locked and empty, and theirs doesn’t even have doors, and ten people are always home?). I said ‘But, I didn’t know – you didn’t tell me’ and she looked kind of silly then like oh, I didn’t think of it that way.
The conversation finished and I still felt so shaken. So hated. Because I was the only one there, it took about four conversations with friends that night and the next day to remember that in *my* world, I wasn’t being unreasonable. In my world, if someone said ‘Hey your music is loud, could you turn it down, I am sick and trying to work’, I would. I also wouldn’t throw a party on a Monday evening. After having thrown a party the previous Sunday, Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday. Often at 7 in the morning.
In one respect, it’s one of those cases where two different cultures clash. I’ve tried hard to avoid these kind of situations, or minimise the effects when they happen. I’m told by other Timorese friends that nobody asks anyone to turn the music down.
The thing is, I’ve been *trying* to be patient, trying to do what I think they prefer (e.g.: never complain about incessant, crappy, loud music). Trying to understand that I’m in their country. But a friend pointed out to me: they let you come here. You are the renter. What’s more, you are a *good* renter. In Australia, nobody would mind a quiet tenant.
And that’s the other respect. These lot of people are just not interested in being friendly to me at all. And it’s not because they’re Timorese. Not at all. No matter where they were from or where they lived, these people would be inconsiderate arseholes. I don’t often use words like that about people, but these guys really deserve the label. They liked the previous lot of housemates, partly because the guy was Timorese, partly because the girl acted like a Timorese, but a lot, I think, because they both liked to stay up late and party. So they were nice to me then, because of the others, but they have no reason to be nice to me anymore.
I feel rather like I’m being driven out. The timing of my requests about the music and the story about the parents moving in – it’s possible, but it’s just as likely they’ll get more unsuspecting malae in and charge them $800 instead of $500 a month for the house.
But, you know. I hated the noise. It’ll probably stop if the parents do move in (I can’t imagine parents putting up with the stereo going every day), but I don’t care, because I won’t be here.