This is the first (and arguably most dangerous) stage in which you deny any and all possibility that your neighbors are insane. Even though the one you just bumped into by the mailboxes definitely had crazy eye and was wearing his Vibram toe shoes on the wrong feet. At night, when you hear angry yelling and bass-heavy music pouring through the floorboards, you just know that it can’t be coming from your neighbors. Those must be the ones across the street. And if it is your neighbors, it’s probably just a one-time thing. Maybe there’s a storm outside? That shouting must be coming from their TV. What are those bird noises? Maybe they’re watching Pirates of the Caribbean or something! It’s all good! Right? …..Right?
You can’t pretend anymore. The denial and (weeks of sleepless nights) has morphed into pure loathing. You realize that the neighbors are in fact weird. They sleep during the day and fill their nights with World of Warcraft, German reggae, and shouting. They also have a parrot that they keep in the bathroom. They taught it the “Annoying Orange” theme song. It haunts your dreams. You lay in bed at night fuming, thinking that it’s time to DO something, dammit! Confront the neighbors! Call the landlord! Or maybe just write a strongly worded note and leave it on their door! You resolve to do all of the above and end this madness once and for all.
You realize that nothing is working. The notes go ignored, the phone calls unanswered. When you went downstairs to confront the neighbors face-to-face, they asked YOU to be quiet. The pure loathing morphs into exhausted desperation. Your strength is dwindling. That bird is so loud… Wait — idea! You’ll be extra nice, and bake them cookies, because you know that if you bake them cookies it will be like an unwritten promise, and they will feel guilty and stop. They’ll start sleeping normal hours and probably give the parrot away! Yes! This is it!
The cookies don’t work. In fact, they seemed to have strengthened the neighbors, who are now somehow awake ’round the clock. You fall into a deep, exhausted slump. You’re drinking extra coffee to wake up in the morning, and extra wine to fall asleep at night. You and your roommate know exactly when the neighbors’ shouting matches will start, and can now automatically adjust your TV volume accordingly. You can’t remember what life was like before the neighbors…
Because there WAS no life before the neighbors. They have become a part of you. Those expensive noise-canceling headphones you bought to drown them out are gathering dust in your room. The parrot’s nightly serenades have become your lullaby, and your subsequent parrot-filled dreams have become less disturbing and more intriguing. You’re considering getting a bird. Maybe your birds can have play dates! You’ll have to rearrange the bathroom, though.