I’m sure you all know the fairy tale about Rapunzel. The princess imprisoned in the tower, guarded by a witch and a dragon and so on. (It was also the inspiration for Disney’s movie Tangled)

Well, I’m not gonna tell you the whole tale, but there are some things Rapunzel and I have in common ;-). Unfortunately, I’m not a princess and fortunately I have already found my “prince”, but our situation is sometimes very similar.

When we moved into the apartment last summer our landlady and some neighbors warned us of the lady living in the first floor. She’s retired and living alone. “She’s nice, but beware of her. She can be a devil.”, they told us.

And she is! There’s no coming home or leaving that she won’t notice. She keeps track of how long the windows in the stairways are open. She doesn’t know you? She won’t let you in. You’ve got visitors coming? Warn them beforehand and tell them to enter “as quiet as possible”. She checks her mail about every 15 minutes, waiting for someone to pass her that she can harass or complain to. You want some stories?

Some time ago we decided it was time to plant our balcony. As we have a small community garden we decided to go there, as you know, planting can be a bit dirty. We hadn’t even started when she was there, too, checking what we were doing.

Another time I was going to the basement several times that day, first to get some food (we store part of our food in the basement, because it’s cooler there) and later to get the cleaning supplies… Of course, she had to check what was going on.

Now, I understand that she makes sure there’s nothing “dangerous” going on in the house and I am thankful that I don’t have to constantly worry about potential burglars etc.

But sometimes I just feel like I’m in prison. I mean, I don’t go checking the front door every time I hear something, because there’s no need and I can’t stand people constantly spying on me.

I also understand that she might feel lonely. Her husband passed away some years ago and her son lives in another part of the city, but if she’s soooo lonely, why not look for some activities? There’s a bunch of activity programs in this area of town and there are two other retired couples living here and they’re out and about all the time.

I don’t think I could stand this for any longer period of time and I’m grateful that we’re only planning to live here for about 4 more years. Otherwise I couldn’t keep the friendly attitude towards her…

Just had to get that out. Have you had any similar experiences?


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