My first apartment in Brooklyn was on Avenue U. We were one flight up - no elevator. Everything about that apartment shouted, "Welcome to New York City." Didn't you think so too Mrs. Thompson? Our apartment was tiny, and there were four of us living there. Our bedroom was just large enough to fit two bunk beds and one dresser. The kitchen housed one table, a couple of chairs...and four bikes. Because lucky us, we got to ride bikes in that area. I would sit in the kitchen window fire escape at night when I couldn't sleep.
Directly below our apartment was a bar. Across the street was a funeral parlor. How convenient for when a bar fight got out of control. We especially loved karaoke night.
One night the crowd at the bar was exceptionally rowdy. We, in the apartment one floor above, did our best to sleep, but it was mostly a wasted effort. Little Hermana McKay slept on the top bunk, I on the bottom. I could hear her tossing and turning and mumbling about how she just wanted sleep. I quietly laughed...I was in Brooklyn after all, and I wouldn't have expected anything less than a rowdy bar crowd.
About 1 am a car alarm sounded. Car alarms in NYC are obnoxious to say the least. They rotate through four or five different sounds, and they can go on for hours...this one was no exception. The alarm had been going for well into a half an hour when Hermana McKay jumped down off the bed, and stomped all 90 pounds of herself into the kitchen.
Hermana Madsen, in the other top bunk whispered, "What do you think she's doing?"
Sister Verrue, from the other bottom bunk whispered back, "With McKay, who knows."
We stayed silent for a few minutes while we heard Hna. McKay turn the pages of the phonebook. Finally she spoke. "Yes, I'd like to report a car alarm that won't stop."
The three of us in the bedroom started laughing...quietly of course.
My greenie self knew a few things about Brooklyn and I spoke up. "It's the middle of the night, on a weekend in Brooklyn. I'm guessing the cops have better things to worry about than a car alarm gone haywire."
After being on hold for a while, Hna. McKay slammed the phone down, stomped back into the bedroom, climbed up to her bed, and said, "I hate this place." And with that we drifted off to sleep.
I can't hear a car alarm without thinking of that night. I always laugh.
Our neighbors (who we have never met) have a car alarm that would rival any found in Brooklyn. It seems to always go off when the neighbors are out of town. One night Becca wandered into my bedroom and whined, "Make it stop." And stop it eventually does, but not until the batteries are worn out.
Friday night the alarm sounded...and lasted for an hour Becca reported. (I wasn't home to hear it.) ((Nor were the neighbors...they were out of town again.))
Saturday night the alarm sounded again. Becca was not happy.
After watching half an episode of NCIS to the background tune of the car alarm I went in search of a piece of paper and pen.
I wrote the following note and Becca put it on the windshield of our neighbor's car.
Would you be so kind as to either disable your car alarm or shoot the cats that set it off?
Those of us who have to listen to the noise."
I know what you're thinking...you want me for a next door neighbor...