Lockdown Day 15

We have survived 14 days of total lockdown in Johannesburg! And I think we are both at our limit of boredom. Don’t get us wrong, we like to watch Netflix series and enjoy the occasionally movie but we also like to get outside. I have made three trips to the supermarket to pick up some food. The streets are quiet with a few cars going zooming by. Every so many steps I run into another individual out for a food run but all in all, it has been very quiet in our area. In addition to my telework and reading five reports, I have completed two eCornell courses online, about to finish a book (A Very Stable Genius) and conducted some family history research. On the docket this weekend, is a 4,000 piece puzzle with Sheila.

Unfortunately, this lockdown has us in conflict with our neighbors. As the lockdown has lingered on, our bedtime has gotten later and later. We find ourselves on WhatsApp calls, in Zoom Tele-Conferences and on normal telephone calls with people back in the US and other places. Three nights ago, I joined my cousin’s 50th birthday party. Wednesday night, we were having a chat session with Sheila’s brother and his fiancé. This call was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Because at midnight we got an aggressive knock on our door. It really caught Sheila off guard as she jumped and stared at the door. My first thought was “who the hell is beating on my door.” As I approached the door, I yelled, “Who is it?” The voice on the other side said, “Your neighbor from apartment 12.” We unfortunately don’t have a peephole in our door so I slowly opened the door. On the other side was a man in his bathrobe not looking very happy. I imagined he was there to tell us that we were too loud. But his first words were, “do you know the building code?” I was like, “what? I am not familiar with the building code.” He then proceeded to give me a list of our transgressions which also included late night of moving chairs. I tried to explain that if it is us, we didn’t mean to be noisy neighbors. And then he said, “I have already reported you to the board!” He said his wife was taking sleeping pills because of our noise and he had moved to the other bedroom. I was thinking, ‘we aren’t throwing house parties and blasting music through the walls’. This guy would never survive Nigeria:-)!

Family birthday celebration (l) and church friends from Abuja (r)

After his comments about reporting us, the conversation then changed in my head because I was thinking, “he could just knock on our door and tell us that we are too loud and should keep it down.” I have lived in other apartment buildings where we have knocked on doors to let people know that the music or TV was too loud or vice versa. I was offended because I saw his wife the other day as she drove in and she didn’t say anything, not even a hello. Maybe it’s me or the fact that I have lived on this continent for too long because in Nigeria, people were quick to let you know if something was out of the ordinary. I apologized to my neighbor, closed the door and rejoined the conference call. We decided to end the call because we had been on it for two hours. I fumed for a while wondering, ‘why did he not come to us earlier?’ But I guess, not everyone approaches things in the same manner or is the friendly neighbor. I guess being stuck at your house for 13 days (for us, we have been stuck in for 22 days) will cause you to run aground of your neighbors. It’s unfortunate but maybe we will bake them a cake to show that we are friendly neighbors. But it has to be after this coronavirus pandemic subsides as we don’t want to be accused of trying to make them sick. I’m sure our neighbors are nice people, obviously we got off on the wrong foot! Stay safe friends and be good neighbors.

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