Sunday, March 11, 2012

Crazy Neighbor Lady

When we moved into this new building in September, most the neighbors pretty much ignored our existence, and continue to do so.  Only one neighbor took a slight interest, an elderly woman whom we see in the early morning hours, as we are on our way to Gan and she starts her daily "constitutional."  Very often, she delights in Harry's "human" behaviour, and watches with glee as he goes into the elevator with her.

On Purim, we gave her Mishloach Manot, because she is a widow and all her children are in the States, and because it is nice to be remembered on the Jewish family-oriented holidays when you are alone.  I know that feeling more than most.

Yesterday, as Raphaela and I returned from the park, we saw this neighbor and Raphaela called her "Bubby," a term of endearment which she applies to any older looking woman.  I smiled and thought nothing of it.  About fifteen minutes later, as I was trying to put Raphaela to sleep, I hear manic ringing from the doorbell;  it is this neighbor, enraged, because Raphaela (a two and a half year old) has dared to call her "old."

"What impudence, for your daughter to assume that I am a grandmother!  I don't look old at all [she does], and when I go to America and take my grandchildren for a walk, people I assume I am their mother, not their grandmother!  [Right...] I don't understand why your daughter would say such an awful thing!"

My first thought was that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions, and I experienced a twinge of regret for having reached out to her.  Then I wanted to laugh, but held myself back, out of respect for her years of life experience, and the delusion that seems to manifest as humans age.  I remembered that my grandfather Z"L would change the age on his birthday cards, and he hovered around 47 for quite a few years; thinking that by replacing a number, no one would notice the truth.

Finally, I gathered myself and explained to her that Raphaela likes her and cares about her, and is always happy to see her in the hallway.  I continued to elaborate, complementing her on her choice of classical music [played very loud every day throughout the day, so she and the whole building can hear it, but she is not old...].  I asked if maybe some day, when Raphaela comes home from Gan, we could come to her house and visit, and she could teach Raphaela about music and instruments, and share with us the stories of her youth as a professional opera singer.

That seemed to placate the neighbor and she felt comfortable enough to ask me, "Where's the father? I assume he is around and not involved enough in your daughter's life."  I responded with a smile on my face, that there is no father in the picture, and that thank G-d we are doing well.   The neighbor returned home, satisfied with my response and her information gathering mission.

1 comment:

Commenter Abbi said...

scary, and I think the more distance you put between you, the better. She sounds unbalanced. Stay away.