The neighbour is back. He only turns up once a year, for a month in the summer, and I tend to forget about his existence from one year to another. Until he arrives again, that is.
As a neighbour, his major failing in my eyes is his fondness for noise. He’s famous not just in my village but also in the surrounding area for playing music so loudly you can hear it in the next village. He opens his windows, and turns his radio on full blast, tuned to a cheap pop station that I detest. He also talks extremely loudly (and what he has to say is not in the least bit interesting or edifying), and when his windows are shut for the night, it’s the turn of the television. I move bedrooms when the neighbour is here, in order to not be sharing a wall and the sound of the programmes he watches at full volume in his bedroom.
My heart sank the day I saw his car arrive and remembered that my peace was about to be shattered for a month. But this time he seemed to be quieter than usual. I vaguely speculated that this may be because this year he hasn’t arrive with scratchy voice, his companion of the past 2 or 3 years. Maybe, like me, he was feeling slightly subdued. I was grateful. But precipitate in my conclusions.
Today, I was sitting in the garden after an honourable 8.5 hours of solid work, relaxing with a nice glass of chilled white wine (Rueda, since you ask) and a book by Bill Bryson (Made in America, ditto – entertaining, although I no longer trust how carefully he checks his factoids), when the throbbing electronic music hit.
Oh dear. Goodbye, happy July garden moments.
However, thanks to his many electronic and digital obsessions, Significant Other happens to have an extremely powerful music system, all fiddled with, augmented and otherwise modified by his very own fair hands (the specific terminology escapes me although I’ve heard it repeatedly in Spanish). I gave way (I am giving way as I write this) to a childish, petty impulse. I have opened my windows looking onto the garden, and I am playing Manu Chao at half-volume. Which is loud enough to be heard in the next village without the loudspeakers breaking a sweat. And Manu Chao because the anti-globalisation lyrics sung very clearly in Spanish are carefully calculated to cause my neighbour maximum political annoyance.
Vengeance is sort of sweetish but over-rated: I am no longer relaxed, and find my own music nearly as annoying as his when what I really wanted was to sit in the silence of birdsong and rustling leaves. All it comes down to is that he has ruined my afternoon, so I am ruining his.
July bodes well then.