By Katilin Marie
Remember the good, old college dorm days, when neighbors would bicker and snap at eachother over music volume, squeaky mattress springs (or loud moaning), and perpetually beeping alarm clocks? I was naively under the impression that once I’d moved out of the dorms, I would be finished with the passive agressive arguing over a shared space. But I was wrong. So wrong.
My apartment situation can only be described as unique. I live in one of 5 apartments in a massive, 200 year old house. I’m in apartment #4 and I share the upstairs hallway area with apartments #3 and #5. I also share a thermostat with apartment #5. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except apartment #5 is occupied by a Crazy Lady.
Some info about Crazy Lady:
- She is in her 50s or 60s
- She does not appear to have a job
- I have never seen her wearing outside clothes. She only wears nightdresses and pajama shorts.
- She seems to spend the majority of her time talking on the phone
- I suspect she may be a hoarder (as evidenced by the glimpse I caught of floor-to-ceiling stacks of newspapers in her apartment)
When I first moved into my apartment in June, I allowed my landlady to set my thermostat, which is thankfully in my apartment, to her desired temperature and I did not touch it. This did not stop Crazy Lady from leaving a series of passive aggressive notes taped to my door, in which she chastised me for “turning off the AC when I leave” and “keeping the temperature too high.” I eventually mentioned this to my landlady’s daughter and the notes stopped.
For the past several months, Crazy Lady (henceforth referred to as CL) and I coexisted peacefully. That is, up until a few weeks ago.
The War Begins
Now, in addition to her alleged hoarding ways, CL has created an odd little display of items in the hallway outside of her door. This display (which was there when I moved in) consists of a small bookcase piled with odd books (Catholicism for Dummies, for example), random odds&ends, a Teddy bear, empty cat litter tubs, and, most recently, an enormous Yankee candle. Which she likes to leave lit. In the HALLWAY.
The first time I came home for lunch in the middle of the day and saw an unattended candle burning in the hallway, I blew it out without much thought because FIRE HAZARD. That evening when I arrived home from work, the offending candle had been removed. In its place, another candle of equal size but different scent was burning cheerfully. I assume CL must have thought my objection was to the pine scent and not due to a fear of firey demise. I blew this candle out as well.
The following morning I was greeted by a different scented candle, leading me to ponder just HOW MANY CANDLES this lady had. I extinguished this candle too. Later that night, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up so we could go out to dinner, so when a musical knock sounded at my door, I didn’t even bother to check the peep hole before I answered my door.
It was not my mom who was waiting for me. It was Crazy Lady, and she told me she had a Christmas gift for me: A brand new “Christmas Eve” scented Yankee candle. She explained that she liked to give all of her neighbors gifts for the holidays, but I knew what this gesture really meant.
Yes, Kate-book readers. CL had given me a Guilt Candle.
For the next few days, I came home to find CL’s candles unlit, but the hall still hung heavy with fragrance. She was just waiting for me to leave before burning them. And then on Saturday, she left an eye-wateringly strong scented candle burning with a note beside it that said “Please do not blow this out. I am checking on it every 10 minutes.” The putrid scent permeated my entire living room and gave me and my boyfriend major headaches. We left her candle alone, but my boyfriend noted, “A fire doubles in size every minute, so it would be 10x bigger by the time she finally checked on it.”
I’m planning on discussing this weird, passive-agressive candle warfare with my landlady today when I pay my rent. I’m curious what you guys think about this whole situation.
Was I over-stepping my boundaries by blowing out CL’s candles?
Is it unfair for her to treat the public hallway space as her own personal area?
I was loathe to confront her face-to-face on this issue because I think she’s kind of nuts. However, I am VERY concerned about my apartment burning down since it’s the place where I keep ALL OF MY SHIT. Also, I leave my cat there during the day, and I worry about her.
What do you guys think?
My CompliKAITed Life is a column by Kaitlin Marie running on Kate-book.com every other Wednesday at noon. You can read all about Kaitlin’s Zombie Apocalypse plans on her blog Zombies4breakfast.com. Oh, and follow her on Twitter here or on Pinterest here. She pins obsessively.