Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mega-confrontation.

I'm still not sure about putting this on my blog - but I've got no one else to tell. It happened 24 hours ago and I can still feel my pulse racing. It was easily one of the biggest confrontations of my life, maybe even the worst.

My downstairs 'neighbour' (in the flat below me) and I have always had a fragile relationship - superficially 'friendly' though deep down we've never really trusted each other. 
The initial trouble first began soon after he moved in downstairs six years ago when he warned me with overt hostility about my letting out my little Blackso around 5 o'clock every morning, waking him up when he was trying to sleep. He threatened to tell my landlord about my having a cat (which my landlord already knew about) when we tenants are not supposed to have pets of any description. (Incidentally, he himself has now got a dog! - a lovely, friendly little mongrel who wails piteously whenever he's left alone, which is too often.) 
Since that time years ago our chance encounters have been kind of strained 'polite' on top but after that incident I've never been able to bring myself to accept him as someone I can rely on as a friend. I habitually refer to him as 'Mr Nasty'. 
He's 59 years old but, quite honestly looks 20 years older, with battered face, apparently toothless apart from one prominent upper central tooth; he's separated from his wife and with a now 16 year-old daughter who, he told me only recently, now refuses to visit him. 
Every so often he plays loud pop music (mainly of the 70s and 80s, a lot of it unfamiliar to me) thumping up through my floor, very probably when he's got himself pissed. I can hear him daily on his phone swearing liberally at whomsoever  - his ex-wife? his 'friends' (of whom he has quite a number)? those he works with? 
It's plain that he's almost certainly had a violent past, possibly including  a prison term or more (the dog he's got belonged to a friend who's now been recalled to jail) - and he drinks and smokes, despite having had a large part of one lung removed as well as having a heart by-pass. Oh, and his work is as a 'carer'!  

But back to yesterday. It was all about Blackso again, now surely in the advanced twilight of his life (18 years old), hardly able to walk (yet eating well and still usually with a wet nose), spending all his time in the kitchen sleeping in a litter tray on the litter 'gravel', often relieving himself just where he lies (which I don't in the least mind cleaning up for him). Anyway, I've been taking him outside two or three times a day and leaving him in the overgrown back garden to give him a change of scenery and some fresh air while checking up on him every hour or so before bringing him in again. In the recent hot weather I've been laying him down in the shade but despite the heat I've seen that he drags himself to lie in the sun - maybe as a consequence of losing so much fur which makes him feel cold? Every so often I offer him water as well as occasional eats. 
Yesterday afternoon came a hammering at my door. 
Mr Nasty - "Will you bring your f*ckin' cat in! He's suffering out there under the sun in the heat." (I normally get a speechless, all-over shock-paralysis when someone directs heightened anger at me, and so it threatened to be so again, but I didn't allow it to happen this time.)  
"I've had a word with someone and they tell me to report you to the RSPCA!" (= American ASPCA). 
"Hang on" I said "If he's in the sun he's moved there. I left him in the shade." 
But Mr Nasty wasn't listening to my words. I assume he'd had a few beers or more, as he does daily. 
"How can you be so f*ckin' cruel? Just bring him inside, watch him and let him die. If you leave him there in the sun I'm going to report you". 
It didn't matter what I said, he wasn't listening.  
"I'm also going to tell the landlord!" 
My protestations were in vain. 
"And I know all about you - where you've come from!"
"Where I've come from? What do you mean?"
"I know that you used to live in a f*ckin' tent!(Spitting out that last word with forceful venom, as though I'd been a member of a paedophiles' collective!)
"I've never lived in a tent." I protested with incredulity at the 'accusation', trying to explain to him that the predecessor in his own flat had indeed been homeless and used a tent for sleeping on roadside grass verges.
"Well, that's what I was told."
"Who told you that?" (and anyway, why was being homeless such an awful thing as though one ought to be ashamed of to be in that position?)
But he was only listening to himself getting out what he had to say about my cat. 
After so much of this barrage of effing and blinding straight at me I finally slammed the door in his face . He shouted through "Right, I'm now going to f*ckin' report you to the f*ckin'  RSPCA." 
"Do that!" I shouted back. 
I came back upstairs, sat down, heart racing like mad, mind in a complete whirl. How dare he suggest I'd ever be deliberately cruel to my pets, letting them suffer. He already knew full well the high regard I have for each of the three of them - and Blackso most of all, my best friend in the entire world.  
About five minutes later a softer knocking at the door:-
 "What?" I yelled. 
"Can I just have a word with you?" 
With a sigh, and half expecting him to be standing there, ready for me with a knife, I went down and warily opened the door. 
"Look, I only mean it for the best." (No apology). 
"I know how fond you are of your cats but you really shouldn't leave them out in the sun." (His windows have a better view of the back garden than I have so he can see always see where Blackso is lying). 
I said "Have you reported me? I hope you have because I want the chance to explain to them." 
"No", he said "I'd never report you". (Yeah, right! So why the threat?)  
After stammering out further self-justification for his threats he offered me a hand to shake. I did little more than touch it though I wish I hadn't done even that. 
When he'd finished rambling on, feeling more sorry for what I might think of him than how he made me feel, I coldly closed the door and went up to sit and think again.
Of course I had to the bring Blackso inside to the kitchen, with the window blind down, but with a shaft of sunlight which Blackso dragged himself around to follow so he can lie in it.

Three or four hours later I took the cat outside again, but in the front where I stayed with him (the main road is too dangerous to leave him there alone). Mr Nasty came out:- 
"Look, I'm sorry for what I said."
I told him straight that what upset me particularly was that he could come out immediately with a threat, even of blackmail, when he knew perfectly well my regard for the cats which I would never contemplate coming to any harm. 
"I know" he said "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come on as strongly like I did." 
It was an apology of sorts, but really only made because, as he himself admitted, that as we live in such close proximity we really need to get on with each other. 
He offered me his hand again - "Here's my hand with my heart. Will you take it?" I did, though part of me wished I hadn't. "Are we still friends?" ("Still"? I hadn't realised we were!) Not wishing to prolong the hostility, what could I do but answer that, yes, we were?  

I haven't seen him since then though I can hear him moving about below right now. As I say at the start above, it wasn't the first blow-up between us, and I doubt if it'll be the last. 
I don't want another experience like that with anyone!

Meanwhile Blackso is lying in the kitchen, oblivious of the stirring that went on - sleeping in a shaft of sunlight.

24 comments:

  1. I don't blame you at all for being so upset. I would have been too! I'm sorry that happened to you. I do think you did the right thing to accept his (admittedly inadequate) apology to keep the peace.

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    1. There was little choice, Jennifer. A daily open hostility would have crushed me.
      I keep hoping that one of these days his physical condition will catch up on him. (So now who's the nasty one?)

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  2. ignorant bastard! too many of them out there; hope he passes on sooner rather than later.

    keep him at arm's length, dear; he is trouble with a capital T. wonder if he has dementia? and if he pulls this shit again, call the cops on him.

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    1. If I do that, W.Q., (call the police) life for me would be unbearable. He's never going to let the matter lie and will be out for revenge.

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  3. The handshake was a wise move..move on

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    1. I've been tolerating him for six years, J.G., and as long as he lives below me it's going to be hard to move on other than continue to tolerate.

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  4. I agree you dealt with it the best way possible. So many things we have to handle differently perhaps when our beloved pets are involved, I think.

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    1. The pets give it an added, distressing dimension, Elle. Don't know how things will resolve.

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  5. I say take the apology but steer clkear of Nasty; there's much more going on with him if he can go from being so vicious to so apologetic like that.
    And seriously, to think you of all people would endanger a cat? Much less one of your own?

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    1. I've avoided him always, Bob, but just to get out of my flat I've got to go past his front door which leads directly onto his living room - and I can smell him there smoking.
      Meanwhile, only last night Blackso suffered two major deteriorations in his condition. I sat by him and stroked his frail body. I really do think he's now come to the end of the road. It's now 5.30 a.m. and the vet opens in four hours. My heart feels like lead........

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  6. Sorry you have to live above such an awful person, let alone have to interact with him. Volatile people are dangerous, and it's best to avoid them altogether. And don't let some miserable bum make you doubt how much you love and care for your pets.

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    1. Thanks S/b. If only I could leave this place altogether, but my financial situation as trapped me. I know it's wrong but I can never stop my mind going along the lines of wishing something would happen on his side to relieve me of his presence. His opinion of me is immaterial but, boy, he certainly knows how to hurt.

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  7. Ouch.
    I dislike ignorance, confrontation, and rudeness too.
    I am sorry you experienced such; I am glad to see you getting support here.

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    1. Thanks to you too, Dr Spo. This blog is my sole avenue for support, and you and others haven't disappointed.

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  8. Oh my God! I'm so sorry you had to put up with that, Ray. But glad he had the (semi)decency to apologize.

    Good to know our darling boy Blackso continues on. Give him a hug for me.

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    1. Thanks Rozzie, but at this moment I fear my lovely Blackso might have gone. After new and disturbing signs last night, which looked might they might be terminal, I was hoping he might have passed away peacefully in the night. Waking up at 4.30 a.m, I found him lying in the litter tray but with one leg rising and falling with his breathing. Then at 5.45 he gave a couple of big swallows of air and then was still, looking like his breathing had stopped. I haven't dared to touch or disturb him by putting food under his nose in case he's still there. Now, at 7.45, he's still not moved. I really do hope now that he's passed on in blessed peace. At 9.30 the vet opens. Before then I'll have to check if he really is there or not. (I'm weeping like anything as I type this.) I'll post news later. :-(

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  9. Oh {{{Ray}}}, I am so very sorry to read that. You certainly gave him a wonderful life. No pussy cat could have been more loved or well cared for (despite the remonstrations of the prick from downstairs!).

    It also seems that he waited for you to see for youself that his passing was indeed peaceful.

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    1. I've just dared to touch him for the first time, Rozzie. He's cold and stiff and not reacting to food put under his nose. Half an hour before I carry him to the vet and my tears are still flowing freely for my very own lovely little boy.

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  10. I think he did only mean it for the best but had no skills to do it. Embarrassment manifests itself in strange ways Ray. Dont feel bad about it and as John say, move on from it. Maybe one day you could get on with each other with some give and take. He has problems too.

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    1. He's devoid of any semblance of diplomacy, Rachel. Practically every day at some point I hear him yelling into his phone, effing this and effing that. Exactly who's on the other end, of course I have no idea, but whoever it is/they are, it's standard behaviour for him.
      I haven't yet told him about Blackso's passing but sooner or later I'm going to bump into him (I've only got one way out of this place, which is right past his door, while he has two exits). If when I tell him he indicates in any way that I was to blame for bringing on my dear Blackso's death - and I wouldn't put it past him to do that - I'm just going to totally lose it. Sure he's got his own problems as we all have, only some of us manage to stop our own matters invading the lives of others, especially in such a confrontational manner. I'm spending so much energy in trying to contain my loathing of the man.

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    2. If you see him say Blackso passed away and he led a good life and move by. No point in hovering around. Some people do have problems communicating and of course there is no excuse but I try to turn the other cheek.

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    3. Of course you are right in suggesting that's the way it SHOULD be done, Judith, but I'm not sure my mind has sufficiently settled to be capable of it. In fact I know it hasn't. I'll try to avoid him as long as I can (which isn't at all easy), and if, when I tell him, he complains that I should have told him earlier, well that's just too bad.

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  11. Ray,
    I too hate confrontations. Yours sounded absolutely horrible. Especially since you did nothing wrong. We are so fortunate where we live now. On both sides we have wonderful neighbors. That wasn't the case when we lived in Pennsylvania. Even in this neighborhood we could easily have had some of the less desirable neighbors which are in this development where we live. We are lucky. We all want to live a life of peace, especially in our old age. I hope things have settled down for you and your neighbor now.
    Ron

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    1. I'd been trying to avoid bumping into Mr Nasty since Blackso's passing thinking that he might well say that I'm to blame for bringing on his death. But as I was returning from the cinema yesterday afternoon he was also returning from walking his dog. He asked how Blackso was so I told him he'd passed on. He asked, apparently shocked (which I think was genuine) when it happened. I told him Monday morning at 5.45. "I'm so sorry." he said. I just said "I miss him dreadfully." and hurried inside.
      If only I could leave this place. He is now the major reason above all else why I'd like to leave - and now with Blackso gone that's one less reason to want to stay. I've had 14 addresses in my life and Mr Nasty is the most unpredictable and cantankerous (and potentially dangerous) neighbour I've ever had anywhere. I just wish 'Nature' would step in and somehow relieve me of his presence. There, I've said it - again!

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