I don’t know what your favourite smells are to wake up to in the morning. Baking bread, perhaps? Frying bacon? Success? But one of my least favourite smells is the smell of smoke. Or, more specifically, smoke that I didn’t intend on encountering as it billowed its way into my room. What did I do last night in the kitchen?! Was my immediate thought. I scrabbled out of bed and really didn’t enjoy the way my hangover chose to kick in at this exact time. Yet upon entering the kitchen, I could see that everything was in order. Well. Messy order. It was then that I realised that the thin haze all around me was not from my flat, but from the flat of my neighbour the floor below (whom I will now loving refer to as The Downstairs Moron).
Living above this guy has been a trying time. I thought I had it a little rough with my neighbour previously who, in addition to being distractingly attractive, was also in the habit of rising early to pray loudly in Arabic directly below my bedroom. Not that I took issue with the prayer itself, it was more to do with the hours in which the need struck to commune with the divine. 6am, for example, is not my favourite hour for the call to prayer. However, this guy did make amazing food, let me take care of his kitten when he was away, and helped me practice my French. So in the long run, I liked him.
In direct contrast is Downstairs Moron. Yet another early riser, DM also loves to sing, both loudly and badly, at early hours on a weekend. I half think he’s warming up for church a few hours later. But what is most trying about this neighbour are the odours that emanate from his flat. The front door of which I have to go past every day. And yes, come to think of it, my brain realises, the smell of burnt food is one of the staple smells that come from The Downstairs Moron. The issue today however, is that for once, the smell has climbed the stairs and woken me from my sleep by activating the pre-historic DANGER section of my addled brain. I plod downstairs and hammer, politely, on the door. No answer. I hammer impolitely. Still no response. At this point I’m starting to not enjoy coughing by this guy’s door and so I go upstairs again and Google “How To Kick Down A Door”.
After ringing my landlord to leave a vaguely panicked voice-mail informing him that one of the events happening today would be the destruction of Flat 1’s front door, I decided to put to use my newly-Googled knowledge of Door Carnage By Kicking. This lasted all of four feeble footings until I decided that I was not, in fact, the new Jet Li. Ah, but now I get to do something even more exciting. I get to do what all little kids dream of doing for real at some point: dial 9-9-9.
I can tell you, it’s quite a rush.
Next thing I know I’m standing outside, squinting through my headache made worse by the fire engine’s siren, and being told by the speedy responders that it was just a pan that Downstairs Moron had left on when he went out for work. Whatever had been in the pan may only be determined by forensic science, and seeing how the place hadn’t actually burned to the ground, this was unlikely to happen.
And while I fared pretty well, had my smoke machines replaced, and went to get a breakfast that featured absurd quantities of peanut butter, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Flat 1’s poor little front door that now lay in splinters with a forlorn looking lock dangling by a solitary bent screw.
Next time I see The Downstairs Moron, I’m going to have words. I may even inform him of his new name.