Almost two years ago, I wrote about our upstairs neighbour and his penchant for signing. You can read about it here, if you so desire. There's a few of things I've learned since that original post: (a) the baby that screamed all the time actually lived in a different apartment; (b) there's no wife; and (c) there's no dreadlocks because we're actually dealing with a very preppy young man who flat irons his hair.
I have also learned, via our neighbour across the hall, that this young man has very wealthy parents so he doesn't work as his parents pay for everything. My neighbour knows this because she knows everything about everyone in this building, which means it's quite okay to sit back and listen to the gossip if you want to do so but do not say anything because I'd bet my last Swiss Franc she'll tell everyone. For example, a very disturbing fact I learned the other night is that a former resident of this building used to rent his apartment out by the hour if people need a quick place to go to quench their hormones, but they needed to be more discreet than using a hotel.
I found this shocking because it seemed so unSwiss. If this had been Canada, I would have rolled my eyes and been all, "Good grief. Doesn't surprise me." But Internet, this is Switzerland! Aren't they above this? I mean, there was a guy working on our freshly paved sidewalk the other day and his only job was to jackhammer away excess cement that had escaped the sidewalk squares and creeped over to the curb. Seriously! He was making sure there was a distinct straight line between the curb and the sidewalk. Though, on second thought, maybe it's because of that sort of tedious discipline I shouldn't be shocked. They need to go crazy, too.
Anyhow, the point of all this is to say our neighbour still sings but, thanks to our other neighbour, I now have clearer idea of his circumstances: he's a spoiled kid who doesn't have a job and has decided he wants to be a professional singer, so his parents are paying for him to take voice lessons in Zurich.
I sort of assumed the unwritten law, when a person can't sing, was to sing along just under your breath because if you go any higher your voice will crack and get all pitchy. Am I alone in thinking this? Because this guy didn't get the memo. He sings at the top of his terrible vocal range all the time, and these voice lessons are not helping! The only thing they've done is given him more confidence in his shitty ability to carry a tune, and now he has homework.
He really, really, really is not a good singer and no, I am not being cruel, sarcastic, or facetious. The boy. can't. sing.
Someone needs to tell him no.
I know you're thinking I'm terrible. Everyone deserves to dream. It's what we're always told. Never tell someone they can't because otherwise you might as well just crush their soul under your shoe like a bug.
The reason I'm thinking about this is because I just read the best article by Augusten Burroughs, who is a hilarious writer. If you ever want to read a book where you have one hand over your mouth in disbelief and horror--while still managing to laugh because the dude is funny--you need to read his childhood memoir Running with Scissors. Holy shit. His childhood...I can't even...you need to read it for yourself. So when I picked up my magazine and saw he'd contributed an article, I was excited.
It's called 'How to Ditch a Dream' and here's the great summarizing line: "...there are many, many people who do not need to be told to cling to their dreams; they need to have those fantasies wrenched from their little fists before they waste their entire lives trying to achieve them."
I feel like I need to put on my Swiss passive-aggressive invisibility cloak and slip this article under our neighbour's door with that line highlighted along with a note that reads, "Adele is the only one who can sing 'Rolling in the Deep' so before you attempt it for the eightieth time, don't."
He needs to stop practicing his scales, he needs to stop singing along to anything on the radio, and someone in his life needs to tell him he will not be a professional singer no matter how much he looks the part.
The worst part is, the Swiss take all forms of schooling very seriously, so most people in our building are sympathetic to his screechy wailing because he's practicing for school.
Excuse me while I go sign up for rotten-tomato target practice.
"But you don't understand, I have to throw these tomatoes at you because it's for school."