Saturday, 25 January 2014

Monstaville Book II. Monstaville 2

[Note: Each book in the trilogy commences with a Monstaville section which offers some background in the form of related history]


 “Dealing with difficult people is dealing with their fear. Most people who create pain are unaware that they are doing so. As you deal with their reflection or criticism, you are really dealing with your own doubt and fear. The difficult person is a catalyst that brings your own wounds to the surface. Often, when you change your way of responding, the difficult person changes his response to you. Removing characterisations is the place to start making that change. When you’ve removed your judgements and characterisations from your heart, when you have removed the mask you’ve made for those people you call difficult, you will find yourself interacting with people more openly and honestly. Your mere presence will be an extension of love and will be felt by the difficult person. Such a change doesn’t happen overnight, though. It happens gradually as you heal your bag of ‘stuff.’”
- Betty Perkins (Lion Taming. The courage to deal with difficult people including yourself, Tzedakah Publications, CA., U.S., 1995, p.69).

This book covers the remaining period to the end of my journal. After I stopped keeping the journal I continued to enter the odd note here and there but I did not write down my thoughts on subsequent conflicts until I started writing these books. I have, however, written a brief account of the couple of years following the period covered by book two in the Monstaville trilogy.

After Pigsy, the next person to move in was a large woman from Zimbabwe. We spoke often. She was friendly - and quiet - at first. She was trying to suss me out though and I learned the reason was that she was another selfish manipulator. She called me up to change a light bulb for her. I obliged, and while fitting the new one (not believing that a former school teacher was that ‘helpless’), she told me that, in Africa, they didn’t know how to change light bulbs but they were very good at pulling the heads off chickens (or something). She was effectively telling a vegetarian how barbaric she was!

I became aware that, whenever I mentioned the hateful activities of the family next door, their intimidation would increase. They started making loud noises late at night just after I mentioned to her in a conversation that I needed eight hours sleep and that I was more likely react negatively to the neighbours if they prevented me from getting the amount of sleep that I required. Their campaign of wall-knocking, each night without fail between 11.30 p.m. and one-ish, lasted for a whole year. I simply stayed up later and got on with my work. In fact, it helped to fuel my literary enquiry into life in multicultural Britain (which is lying around somewhere waiting to form a project at a later date). Statistics show that one in three Londoners come from an ethnic minority so this is an important topic and, in my view, requires more debate than we find in the media at present. Later, just two days after explaining to her that I was going to bed after the neighbours’ absurd, childish attempts to torment me, they started playing Islamic music late at night. Basically, it looks like I trusted someone who was not to be trusted. After all, wasn’t this the answer to my positive affirmations? No! I was forced to recognised that the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ paradox is so rampant in our society, as a friend points out. ‘Just sickening!’ she adds.

Billy Balowski (Alexei Sayle): I've not always been mad, you know, but um...I was actually driven mad by the indifference of architects and council planners. You see, I live in a tower block, and um, the thing about those is, there's terrible noise problems, 'cause there's no noise insulation at all, you know, and eight floors below you, there's always some bastard who's got a Yamaha home organ, you know. You're just about to go to sleep and you hear this ‘DOOT DOOT! TCH-TCH, DOOT DOOT! TCH-TCH, ROLL-OUT-THE-BARREL! DOOT-DOOT, TCH-TCH, DOOT DOOT, TCH-TCH’ And, like, the people who live upstairs from me, I can't understand what they're doing, you know. I’ll listen. And all I can hear is this weird noise that goes, ‘Voom voom! Blap blap! Voom voom! Blap blap!’ It sounds, right, it sounds like two elephants on a motorbike riding round and round, while a seal bangs a kipper on the table! I went upstairs to complain, and the door was answered by this elephant in a crash helmet! Standing behind him's this seal going, ‘What is it now, Ralph?’ [Places his left hand on his hip and mimics a female seal banging a kipper on a table – hilarious!].
- The Young Ones (additional material written by Alexei Sayle: Season 1, Episode 3, ‘Boring,’ written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, 1982).

There was hardly any sound from upstairs at all for a year (caution breeds discipline and responsibility and fear, respect). Then, all of a sudden, her every step became a resounding THUD. Naturally, the next time we met in the hall after a couple of weeks, and talked, I mentioned this and asked if she had started wearing shoes at home. She said, ‘no.’ The noise was very loud. She asked me if the noise was a ‘creaking’ sound and I said no but she insisted on walking on a certain floorboard so I could hear it. So, I listened and could hear the creaking but went back to tell her that was not a problem and that what was so loud was her every step, everywhere in her flat! Furthermore, I had heard no sound at all as she had walked around for a whole year! She then said, at some point, that she had bought a new pair of slippers. She showed them to me and I almost laughed at the spectacle of this large African lady wearing these tiny-looking, pink, fluffy slippers. It was a sight! So, she went back into her flat and I confirmed that the loud thudding on the ceiling had resumed. She pointed out that the soles of her new slippers were not soft and must be causing the loud noise. She promised not to wear them but never kept her promise and continued wearing them each day.

I also started hearing the creaky floorboard regularly, not that it bothered me, and another piercing sound of which I couldn’t figure out the cause. Eventually, I realised that it was probably her bouncing on the sofa positioned on another loose floorboard. Then, she started having parties every weekend, which is not terribly unreasonable except that I was not in a very understanding mood by that time. I was being driven mad by the noises more than ever in fact. In addition to loud music being played off and on, I had to endure these incredibly loud, booming voices upstairs. I played some music myself to block out the partying, not intending to retaliate or anything, and I was very taken aback when she turned her music up even louder. She became just like Pigsy, listening for sounds and reacting to them aggressively, like I am in a submarine and the enemy is in a battleship above! Consequently, I made sure I was quiet so that she did not know where I was or what I was doing and had no excuses to react to the more innocent of noises. Yet another clash of cultures. My genes, or sensitivity, simply have not prepared me for tolerating such loud music and talking from neighbours, or a lack of spatial awareness for that matter.

Nothing lasts forever - not even your troubles.” - Arnold H. Glasgow.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” - Charlie Chaplin.

Thus began another noise war! I had not previously played my own music so loud as to overwhelm the partying upstairs but I did now. And, I hardly cared about my other neighbours who had been turning their television up very loud for months without any response from me. So, I had to endure all the noise coming from the flat upstairs and she and the other neighbours had to endure my loud music. I would have preferred a quiet life and wearing my headphones but I was mainly trying to make a point. Namely, that if they had no intention of respecting my space why should I respect theirs? I think she was very sociable and wanted to make friends so she thought that renting a flat all by herself was an ideal opportunity to hold weekly parties and invite people she had met. Perhaps she was looking to meet a man, and she did find one eventually; at my expense, it feels, if this is the way she went about it! I reckon she had been trying to suss me out to make sure that I wouldn’t cause any trouble and just put up with it. It’s difficult to fathom what games manipulative people are playing. All I know, in retrospect, is that I was wrong to be so trusting and open. She moved out after she heard me swearing at the neighbours next door that day when they were still playing excruciatingly loud tabla drums at 2 a.m. So, I assume she must have been up and perhaps believed that I was swearing at her because it was at the opposite end of the flat to where she slept. [In other words, she probably assumed I knew that she had not yet gone to bed and that she was in her front room, which I did not].

Looking back, it seems almost humorous, like a Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck cartoon! At the time, in the thick of it, of course it was not funny at all. Nowadays, however, I can see the funny side of this situation. After a succession of selfish people and a clash of energies and interests, I felt - and still feel - blessed to have a wonderful neighbour living upstairs now. [Retrospective note: Hahahahaha!]. We have a good rapport and she seems to understand that I have been learning to stand up for myself in this place. She does not feel terribly safe in this area, she says, and plans to move, which is a shame from my point of view, but I wish her every happiness wherever she may live. Soon after she moved in, I expressed gratitude that she lives quietly and peacefully like myself. She walks around in shoes for brief spells nowadays, daily in fact, but I just ignore it. She knows it disturbs me because I have mentioned it (I explained that it was loud enough to be an effective alarm clock in the mornings). I simply accept it and forgive. I see no need to mention it again whether it is deliberate or inflicted out of indifference or some other reason. I explained the situation with the neighbours to her.

“Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive.” – Unknown.

El Phaba [the nickname I later gave to the current tenant living above me] said she wouldn’t play loud music and she hasn’t, and I assume that she agreed it was anti-social (although she did play loud music on the day she moved in and I got the impression she would have done so regularly had I not mentioned it and may even resent feeling inhibited in this way)! We have a good rapport and she did a couple loads of laundry (whites) when my washing machine broke. Meanwhile, the Bengalis next door use their cars as stereos and play extremely loud music as though the street is some kind of disco for their personal pleasure. Evidently, the mother doesn’t allow them to play loud music in the house so they listen to it in their car - which must sound equally loud indoors and to everyone else in the street as well. Another family up the road often has loud music on in the house all day with the front door and windows open. I don’t know how their neighbours endure it. And, dare I mention this, but I know of three local black residents who regularly play extremely loud music with the windows open. I can’t begin to imagine what a nightmare it must be for their neighbours. I would definitely be on to the Noise Abatement team if it was me living so near to them.

“Positivity is not about being soft. It’s about being smart.” – Quoted on a t-shirt.

Perhaps it is just that a degree of selfishness sets in after a year of living in a flat. One day, after I had played some loud music when El Phaba was out in retaliation for all the tabla drumming I was enduring at the time, I overheard a guy from the neighbour’s house informing her of this as she was walking home. She replied, ‘Oh, is he, right, OK.’ Since her parents are from Pakistan, I did wonder if she’d been approached by them and had agreed to something. They are cunning and very good at indirect, but prolonged intimidation that slowly injects poison into their victim whilst it appears that they have not engaged in warfare on a radical level. The drama is hidden from view. They could easily have contacted her on her mobile if she was around so she could come home, forcing me to turn the music off, since I would certainly refuse to enter into any kind of noise war with her as well! Well, if that is true, they must have discovered that such a strategy could not succeed. I’m simply too smart! Then again, she may have just been humouring them, knowing what they’re like.

At that time, El Phaba also started wearing shoes in her flat much of the time but since that nightmare did not continue for long, it is not a problem. Anyway, I reserve judgement on that one. It does appear that she involved herself, particularly because of the timing as well as suddenly being reluctant to chat to me as usual, but appearances aren’t sufficient things from which to draw conclusions. When someone is friendly and helpful, it is difficult to imagine that they could wish you harm (or believe or sympathise with the nasties and join them for subjective reasons). I endure the brief spells of daily stomping, the ‘status quo,’ patiently, not wishing to make things worse.

You've changed
You're not the angel I once knew
No need to tell me what we're through
It's all over now
You've changed
- Sung by Billy Holliday (from ‘You’ve Changed,’ written by Carl Fischer and Bill Carey, 1941).

If you live with people in the same house and you are disconnected and do not feel able to sit down and talk, sometimes the weaker-minded person can gradually believe all manner of things. They feel insecure and paranoid about what you are ‘up to,’ especially in relation to themselves because they are living in their subconscious pretty much all the time. They don’t meditate and, therefore, they are closed in on themselves. They see life through a dirty pane of glass and they only want to know people with similarly tarnished vision; for, these they feel they can ‘trust.’ They fear what they do not know. The reason is so clear: the caterpillar doesn’t want to know it has the potential to be a butterfly. After all, who really wants to go through the chrysalis stage and lose everything to which one is attached in order to change? Not knowing the beauty and meaning of freedom, human beings have been stuck in a rut for so long. They may simply test you selfishly in order to see what they can get away with because they cannot be bothered to show you any respect. Not respecting themselves, they demand respect from you. The wild person does not wish to recognise that their behaviour is ‘wrong.’ They want to behave however they want. Being undisciplined, they are not up to living in this kind of situation. It requires strength and sensitivity, and a civilised attitude towards other people.

It is when people behave selfishly and destructively over a long period (especially through such thin walls in one’s home) that one cannot help respond in some way in an attempt to put an end to the ordeal. So many potentially mutual learning processes with myself at the hub! Well, I have learned a great deal anyway! Hence, unseen forces led me into this precarious position. I looked on the Internet not long after the trouble kicked off in the beginning for information, or anything that might help me tackle this situation, tips on dealing with selfish and noisy neighbours. I could find nothing. I don’t know what is out there now, but I am offering my own experiences and insights anyway. [I have included some information that I later found on the Internet in 2009 in Appendix I of the first Monstaville book].

How to shift that energy - of someone who’s a pain in the butt. (Notes from ‘Who Are the Ascended Masters?’ a talk by St. Germain and the Ascended Masters channelled through Ashamarae McNamara, 12 June 2009,

  1. Own that they are there in your service. Ask why they are in your life? The answer is, ‘To serve me.’ Everything in your reality is there to serve you. Some things you would like to stop serving you. What do I believe about me that I require this service? They don’t leave. If you dismiss them they reappear. They change bodies in order to show me what I believe about me whether I believe it in this moment or not.
  2. They are here to show me I don’t like that one because that is not me for sure! I never act that way. And maybe you do not but in essence you do. If you are not moved by it then you are not doing it yourself.
  3. Pay attention. Witness it. Look at it. Take it in. This is an opportunity to learn about me, a belief I have about myself. It is all an illusion but it is still dancing in the form of another. Is this what I’d like to hold onto, to keep? In that moment, give it to God. Ask him to clear it at its root and let it go.
  4. Decide if it is something you’d like to keep or not. Offer it to God. You brought them into your life in steps. When you are a child your mother says you’re a brat and you accept it because she is your God telling you who you are. When you realise you are not that you clean it up with the Grace of the Divine. It is a foolish step to do it alone. It is foolish because you are not alone anyway but also because you need extra power. Say, ‘Please help me with this.’ You created it and you can uncreate it. And when someone shows you kindness it’s something in you too: kindness.  

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