The Bat and the Mobile

Living in a block of flats is a akin to having a large family. There is an element of forced intimacy that few denizens of the suburbs experience. This tends to polarise behaviour to some extent, because flat-dwellers either evolve insular habits, or develop the “who gives a shit what the neighbours think” attitude.

Naturally, there are always one or two weird individuals who fit into the latter category that one would rather avoid. In our block we have ‘The Old Bat’. Her real name is [NAME DELETED BY LAWYERS] and she’s a sad, mad, bitter old pain in the khyber who is never without a gripe about the “dreadful behaviour” of her neighbours. Hardly a day goes by without me hearing her yammering away in her high-pitched whiny sing-song voice, making somebody’s life miserable. The Bat’s common complaint to her adjacent neighbours is about the “dreadful noise” they make (running baths, flushing toilets and other examples of gratuitous racket-making). Additional crimes against her include hanging washing on ‘her’ line; throwing rubbish in ‘her’ bin and using ‘her’ outside tap (of course, all of these things are common property and not hers at all). It isn’t surprising that she’s lonely, because most people would prefer to avoid her whenever possible.

This is probably why she lurks around in the parking area every morning and tries to trap people into pointless conversations as they are leaving for work. One has to be extremely vigilant, but a couple of days ago, I was just about to reverse out of our parking bay when this face suddenly appeared at the passenger window. Imagine the Crypt Keeper with a blue-rinse and you’ll understand why my wife screamed in fright and the sprog began to cry in terror. I had a brief (and fortunately, victorious) battle for control of an essential sphincter and stalled the car in the process. The Bat was not at all impressed with our reaction and has subsequently given us a wide berth. Life is good.


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