Well, it was in our block of flats last Friday night.
As you may have guessed, this is the follow on from the ‘definitions’ post of Sunday where I defined ‘anger’. In recent months, our upstairs neighbours (directly above us) have taken to inviting friends round from time to time to get drunk. Now, I don’t know whether it is as a result of thoughtlessness and stupidity, or whether they really don’t care, but they are extremely noisy and of course all of that noise transmits down to our flat beneath. I’m generally far too passive to make a stand, and so, as they’ve not disturbed my children before, I’ve not personally complained to them. However, Friday night (into Saturday morning) opened up a whole other level of anger in my personality.
As most of you will know, the quickest trigger to spark the anger of most parents is to threaten the health or happiness of their children. This is why I got so bloody angry on Friday night.
The party started at 8pm, and revved up until well after the 11pm cut off in our lease for loud noise. Some time after midnight they calmed down enough to allow us to sleep, only for us to be woken up before 3am by a woman literally screaming as if her nearest and dearest were falling off a cliff in front of her eyes. A man’s voice joined in the shouting, and I genuinely at that moment thought that one of the party guests was trying to hurt themselves, or jump out of a window or something. I found out later that this was when the fight had started. GG and I sat in our room, telephone in our hands trying to decide whether we should be calling the police. Then the hullaballoo calmed down, and so we put that plan on hold. I went to check on the boys and found Handsome wide awake, sitting bolt upright in bed and obviously disturbed and upset by the commotion. I brought him back into our room to try to soothe him back to sleepiness when all of a sudden the noise started up again, but to a new level.
At the front of our flats we have security doors, fitted about seven years ago, with toughened glass panels and a remotely controlled lock system. Well, the guy who had been fighting upstairs had gone away, returned with some friends and (I later found out) a golf club and proceeded to hammer seven bells out of our security door. The glass broke with a sound like an explosion, which terrified our son, still sitting in our room with us, and GG, on the phone to the police at this point, reported later that the police telephonist couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing down the phone line. The vandals carried on up the stairs (I’m glad they didn’t have to pass our door) and kicked in the door of the flat above us. There, the fight recommenced, although it was reasonably short lived, as the criminal ‘guests’ were well aware that the police would be on their way. So, with a parting threat of returning to put other windows through, they scarpered.
The police arrived fairly quickly in a riot van, although everyone had gone home by this point, so I think they hung round to try to deter the drunken vandals from returning and doing more damage. I had got dressed and gone to clean up the glass in the communal hall. I needed to do something, as I was just so angry at our neighbours for bringing this sort of trouble effectively to my home. My heart was racing and I could feel myself heading towards either tunnel vision or seeing red, so I figured that vigorously sweeping the hall might calm me down a little. I didn’t get any more sleep that night either, as I thought that I’d better stay up and stay on watch in case the vandals carried out their threat of returning to break windows – at least I could have phoned 999 as soon as they came near.
Nothing of this nature has ever happened on our street before, so a lot of my neighbours are pretty shaken up at this incident, and reflecting on how much worse it could have been. My imagination runs riot at times like this, and so I can see all sorts of alternate happenings: One of the neighbours could have gone out to intervene and been seriously hurt; the vandals could have decided to randomly break any of the windows in the building as well as the main door; they could have vandalised all of our cars as they approached or left the flats; the alternates are endless and still playing on my mind now. And I still don’t feel completely safe, which is a brand new and wholly horrible feeling for me – in the eight years we’ve lived here I’ve never felt at all uneasy about personal safety for me or my family. I think this is a major factor in the perpetuation of my anger.
The fact remains though that my neighbours were in direct violation of their lease agreement in allowing this to happen – we have to take responsibility for our guests when they are on the property – and I’m hoping that they will now see sense and restrict any gatherings of their so-called friends to pubs and bars, rather than above my home. Luckily, Cheeky slept through it all, and although Handsome was very upset at the time, worrying about his brother being in a different room to us and wanting me to check on him constantly, after he had had a couple more hours sleep (when he eventually got back to sleep at about half past five) he was fairly OK. The door is still not fixed though, so I’m glad that we have strong locks on our own front door and are not reliant on the broken main door for our own security.
Sorry that this has been such a long and ranty post – there really should be a prize for anyone who manages to read this far! – but I think I really needed to write it all down.