Monday, August 13, 2007

Crazy Neighbor Lady Stikes Again!

(Scene of the craziness!)

A few months ago I wrote about the water situation in our building. To sum, my next door neighbors, two nice Portuguese professors, have an empregada (maid) that is crazy and rude. She blamed their apartment’s lack of water on me and would yell at our guards when they wouldn’t turn on our generator for their apartment.

Well, things calmed down a bit. Jesús, our handyman, did something to the pipes and the problem was solved. At least, they were hooked back up to the public water works, meaning that they would not get any water when the city water was out. (Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, lady!) After all the yelling and insults, the university the professors work for had to nerve to call our office and ask if they could hook into out pump. The empregada was so rude to us that we said no. I felt a little bad because the actual residents of the apartment, the two Portuguese women, are quite nice. But if they want to take advantage of our resources, then they should talk to their empregada about her actions.

Anyway, today is Saturday. I woke up a little cranky because the people in the house next to the building decided that 6:45 am was an appropriate time to start blasting music- cheesy Brazilian romantic music at that! About an hour later, I heard the shouting, the familiar raspy voice of my neighbor’s empregada. From my bedroom I could see the empregada at our pump and our guard at our water pump telling her to step away. She starts yelling about the water situation, calling our guard names. Once again she’s blaming the lack of water on my neighbor/colleagues and I- instead of, say, THE MUNICIPALITY, the entity responsible for supplying the water to residents. But we are easier targets, I suppose.

She basically wanted the guard to turn on the pump so that the professoras could take showers. Her argument was, basically, “Do you think it’s proper that the professoras have to take baths out of buckets?!” Oh, how my heart bleeds for them! This was one of the weakest arguments I have ever heard. Everyone takes baths out of buckets when there’s no water, including me! Our guard had little sympathy- a given, considering that he is poor and probably lives in a place with no running water and bathes out of a bucket too, like ¾ of the people in this city.

Our guard explained that the pump belongs to us and that without our authorization he could not turn it on. He spoke calmly and politely, ignoring her shouts. She then got personal, telling him he was ignorant. This was the final straw for him, and he started yelling at her, telling her that she was out line and that if she had a problem she should talk to me or Sergey, not him. She yelled again and said that she had knocked on my door and I didn’t answer (a lie) so he should go ahead and turn it on.

She finally went inside and things calmed down for a bit. About an hour later, I heard her shouting again, this time saying that there was too much noise coming from the house next door and that the guard needed to go next door to tell them to turn the volume down. He said in a loud voice, “I work for Dona Elizabeth (me, I think) and Dona Stella! I don’t work for you! You have no right to tell me what to do!” Good answer! She didn’t like it, however.

Another hour later, I heard her shouting from the stairwell, this time “talking” with our downstairs neighbor. ("Talking" = shouting and not letting the other person speak.) She was complaining about the water situation trying to get the neighbor to come up and talk to me. Now, the downstairs neighbor is hooked into our generator because she is friends with Jesús, and she doesn’t want to press her luck. So she just said, “There’s no city water, so we don’t have water. There’s nothing was can do about it.” At least one of our neighbors is smart!

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