In Central London, they say you’re never more than 8 feet from a mouse. I think the same could be said for humans. They’re everywhere. You could have the biggest, swankiest, most expensive apartment, and yet you’re still just a paper thin wall away from someone else.
Some of them can be great, and be lovely, friendly people; some of them can keep to themselves, which is also fine… and some of them can provide you with more insights into their private life than you’d ever cared to know.
I live underneath a guy who apparently fancies himself as some kind of modern day Jim Morrison crossed with Elvis. As I write this, I can hear him overhead, strumming on an acoustic guitar and crooning loudly… unintelligibly, but loudly. Granted, right now it’s 1pm in the afternoon, so hearing him sing his little heart out right now is no big deal. Although, unfortunately, my flatmates and I have been treated to his vocal stylings at 1am. Not so cool. We’ve also been provided with the sound effects that accompany his evenings with ladies (those poor bed springs)… and more bizarrely, something that sounds like bodies being dragged across his floor.
Then there’s the guys across the block, who like to open their bedroom window as wide as it goes and sit on the windowsill and rap.
There’s an old Bangladeshi woman who lives in the ground floor and kind of crouches outside her front door a lot. She’s usually cleaning or polishing something, but as soon as she sees any young people, she freezes and glares at them until they finish walking by. She kind of creeps me out, if I’m honest.
The only home I’ve ever been in London that wasn’t out in Zone 1,000 or something was my ex-boyfriend’s house in Zone 2. They had a real, honest-to-goodness house, garden and all. In my flat, we don’t even have a working microwave, never mind four floors and a front and back garden. But that house was expensive. And because it was such a nice place, they made the most of it with a LOT of parties. Which probably made them the annoying neighbours.
I guess in London your flat can be cheap, central and nice… but you only get to pick two of those. Central flats are rarely cheap, cheap & central flats are almost never nice, and central flats are never quiet.
In my flat, we can hear when the French guys downstairs have a party, or when Jim Morrison upstairs uses the bathroom… when he’s not busy romancing or crooning, that is.
I’ve spent nearly four years in London, in small apartments, with a whole host of different flatmates (as I’ve mentioned before), and right now, with one more year of university left, I’m starting to think it’d be nice to try live alone at some point. I’d hate to go straight from parents to flatmates to boyfriend without ever having a period in there of it just being me… and as I’m coming to realise, in London, it’s almost impossible to live in Central London alone unless your salary is the GDP of a small country.
Having said that, I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to haul myself out to the suburbs just yet either.