Burning down the house

I’m taking this moment to publicly warn my upstairs neighbors, for my demands are simple.

by Kat Hargreaves

They might not have warned you about it in sex-ed, but there definitely comes a point in every person’s life when they hit that brick wall and decide: I am so mad; I am going to set that on fire. Am I right, or am I right?

I’m no Ben Harper, so when I speak of burning something down, I don’t mean it in the recreational sense – I mean serious business. Perhaps that point for you came early on, back in the fourth grade when that jerk with the rattail stole the strawberry Jell-O you had been waiting all day to savor from your lunch and you thought to yourself, “Momma don’t raise no fools,” and let your inner Hogan come out swinging. Or maybe it was later, when your mom told you you couldn’t see Titanic even though all your friends totally got to see it, because their parents loved them, and you decided right then and there to make your stand. For me it was while lying in my bed the other night and grinding my teeth into nubs because my upstairs neighbors decided that the night I had to get up early the next morning was the night they were going to play with what could only have been their collection of super heavy, super loud bowling balls!

I might not be the nicest person you’ve ever met, but I like to think that I contain a good amount of tolerance for those who live their lives differently from me. I have no problem with anyone that wants to spend their day playing “Halo 3” instead of studying or being a Republican instead of a human. But heaven to robots, what did I possibly do to deserve upstairs neighbors who feel that it’s OK to sing lusty renditions of “Down by the Bay” at three in the morning in front of my window?

I don’t spit on little kids, nor do I give out gross fruit to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, so why the injustice? Is there no respect for a woman’s beauty sleep? Is there no god answering my prayers? Was the Burger King teasing when he promised that I could “have it my way”?

I will take last week’s example as a resounding yes to all of the above.

Don’t get me wrong: I actually really like my upstairs neighbors – all bowling ball throwing aside. Thus, when I speak of them and the “situation,” I speak from the heart, and my heart, above all, is a tender place. My heart, however, just doesn’t understand how their activities – which keep me awake, all night every night – can honestly be that enjoyable. I like to have my fun, but in my house that’s called “YouTube,” and it entails sitting quietly and muffling our laughter while we sip Coca-Colas: good, clean fun.

So lest another night like the last happens, I’m going to take this moment to publicly warn my upstairs neighbors, for my demands are simple: If I am awakened before sunrise by the rambunctious jigging of people wearing lead clogs, I am not going to waste time writing polite notes or columns – I am going to burn this mothatruckin’ house down.

Kat Hargreaves welcomes comments at [email protected].