Saturday, January 4, 2014

Human Neighbors - dead and alive :)

I live in a place that basically is a sanatorium.
Don't get me wrong, it's a normal apartment complex - and again not.
Besides the fact that this particular complex is in one of Vienna's nicest areas surrounded by vineyards and old village like buildings - kept that way by building regulations as not to destroy that old  charm (and keep the tourists coming - alas even if they don't really appreciate after all that wine tasting) - it's quite magically a regular renting place bud to bud with Hollywood Hills like villas that people pay millions for to live in (millions in Euros by the way) - but not Los Angeles and thus right up a hill but on the foot of the Viennese mountains of Cobenzl and Kahlenberg.
Yes, you definitely have to visit Grinzing - it's not a movie scene!
When I first moved in here - I received the rent via the then Viennese mayor Helmut Zilk, but that's a story for later - I met a deer in the front that wasn't even startled as I let out a whoop of surprise. Basically you walk in through - no, not a wardrobe door - but a huge green wooden door. Back then the buildings had that old yellow hue paint and looked much better than they do now - that's why I used to call it "Little Schoenbrunn" (Schoenbrunn castle was the residence of Austrian Empress Theresia as well as Sisi of Austria - get your European history books out!).
So you walk in though that old huge gate and are faced by few only two story high buildings loosely arranged in a big park with tons of enormous old trees - a haven indeed (especially if you know that in just 15min by car your in the inner city!)
So I am all the way back, where you don't hear a car or - unless somebody is down in the wash - any other kind of noise associated with civilization. Or so it used to be.
Behind me is the Grinzing Cemetery where tons of (now) quiet celebrities reside. Really a wonderful bunch of neighbors, that I tend to visit often - usually with a book as conversations are sparse. They are really quiet as well and only hold three or four parties a year - humble parties around Easter, November 1st and Christmas - easily to note by the suddenly lit lanterns and candles all over.
Quite a pretty sight at night I must say!
Recently it has gotten a little bit louder though.
No not from the behind neighbors, but rather from the immediate ones next door and above...
See, when I moved in here I was quite frankly "fresh blood" (and immediately adopted - mostly for collective shopping lists and their fulfillment). Everybody else living here was pretty much retired and they all where extremely concerned that young people would move on and everything would turn topsyturvy and get really loud - while they considered peace and quiet their daily must have and not to forget all the rules that applied to be able to live here - after all this is a special neighborhood and we wouldn't want to attract any kind of scam, right?
Well, the years have passed by and since we are in that very special upgrade neighborhood, I am now experience an aged immersion of the art preferred by my quiet elderly neighbors. They still seem to be acutely aware that children might be too loud - obviously by just lipreading them as most of them seem to have deterred hearing abilities that are beyond my imagination.
And so every nice evening I can easily visualize everybody around me - relaxing in their cosy chairs and smiling at past memories... while I get blown from my sofa by "Wagner" from the left, religious choirs from the right  and Jazz from the upper left. Only the piano from the upper right seems to have stayed the same level over the years - but that's really hard to make out these days...
There are evenings when I keep biting a pillow to keep myself from screaming, storming outside to inform my neighbors of that incredible... what culture?? Plus they smile, shake their head sadly and maybe point to the next door - IF they even understand.... or hitting the wall with anything. Which wouldn't do any good as I might just damage something in here and be called a vandal eventually - as of course any noise I could make would be drowned out completely in that onslaught of music.
I am now taping all programs I might want to watch on TV. This is best done between 12 and 3pm - general naptime.
And you know what? I do feel a certain responsibility for my query immediate neighbors, because I sometimes don't see them for days...
But then the music starts - and I know all is still well. Because they do leave quickly... Sometimes without notice.

to be continued...