I have known that I was getting old for several years now. The face in the mirror hints at it. More importantly, I know I am getting old because I am chronically annoyed.
If I had a yard I am quite sure I would be chasing kids off it. As it happens I live in an apartment. Which until recently seemed to be filled with old people. I suppose we have lived here for so long my husband and I have become the new generation of old.
Our building has lately been filling up with college students. Kids away from home for the first time. I hear them coming in at 4AM loud and drunk. They are doing their best to find their keys and their apartment while lying down in the hallway.
Yesterday I heard a woman (probably another oldster like me) banging on the door down the hall. Turn that music down or I'm calling the cops!
Never mind that we had 30 inches of snow. No emergency operator in her right mind would be sending a police car to shut down some loud music. Maybe if there had been an actual altercation they would have considered it, but the streets are not plowed so there might need to be some blood.
There is a university around the corner. Our building must be running a special for students because they make up two thirds of the population here now.
I stick my head out when I hear them staggering in the hallway. I have turned into Mrs. Kravitz. I peek out my keyhole to assess the situation.
When I get back into bed I cannot fall asleep. I am angry to be awake at 4AM and I am astonished to realize that I have turned into the old lady snoop down the hall.
Last night was the last straw. The upstairs neighbor was laughing hysterically at 2AM. She kept clicking her heels back and forth on her bare floor laughing and laughing. I heard no other voices so I am assuming she was listening to someone on the phone or entertaining herself.
Hebephrenic is the word that comes to mind. Only because in seventh grade my daughter won the city wide spelling bee championship on that particular word. I am not making an actual diagnosis here.
Look, I want to laugh as much as the next guy. But nothing is funny to me at 2AM. This happens so frequently I would actually be interested to ask what is so damn funny up there. I need a laugh too. But not in the middle of the night. Old people need their sleep. So I did what any crotchety old person would do. I got the broom.
I tapped on my ceiling like old Mrs. Kravitz would. I tapped four times.
Everything stopped. No more clicking back and forth. No more shrieks of laughter.
I had done the unthinkable. I put the kibosh on this one woman party with a broom. A sure sign that I am approaching a state called "elderly."
My own daughter is away at college. I am blissfully unaware if she is fumbling for her keys on the floor in the hallway at 3AM or laughing hysterically while pacing in high heels. She is in a dormitory where she belongs. Far far away from old people who need their sleep.
And out of the reach of the cranky old lady in apt. 202.