Now Introducing Her Ladyship, Ms. Crankypants ~ Outside the Margins with Diana Copland

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Diana Copland OtM


I used to hear my mom say things like, ‘When you get to be our age’, and I’d think; “I will never be your age”. My parents were probably in their forties or early fifties, and I was convinced I would never be so set in my ways, like they were concrete. Intractable, inflexible. I promised myself I would just never be that OLD, and for the most part I think I’ve done pretty well. I mean, I’m 58, which is sorta at the tail end of middle age. God, you have no idea, unless you’re my age, how hard that is to admit. I’m 58, and I have a full head of gray hair, but I’ve really never felt old. That is, until two college age kids moved in downstairs from me.

I try, really, really hard to not be an asshole. I mean, I hate assholes. I despair for the old people who don’t like little kids. What’s more fun than a baby, honestly? And I like my music on the loud side, but I listen to the stereo seldom. I have head sets and Pandora. But I live in an apartment building, which I already pretty much despise (I’ve lived in houses for nearly all of my life), and I try to be thoughtful of my neighbors. The lady downstairs, next to the college age kids, has a daughter who’s maybe 9. The little girl isn’t here all of the time, but I try to keep it down. And I am here ALL OF THE TIME. I have a car, but my son’s old beater committed suicide and so he’s using mine to get to and from work. I don’t need to be out a lot; my needs are pretty simple. Feed me, feed my cats, get what I need for the litter box and feline tummies and I’m good to go. See, not a bad neighbor, right? I live alone and I think I’m pretty quiet.  My downstairs neighbors… aren’t.

I’m pretty sure their stereo is right under where I have my TV, and I think when they’re home it’s either rap or video games. I’m not sure which, because what I mainly get is a throbbing bass line, making my floor tremble. And invariably it’s cranked up like that when I’m working. Like right now, I’m trying to edit a book and I mean we’re talking major edits. The editor I worked with before, and trust implicitly, (two of the books she edited for other authors were nominated for RITA’s last year)gave me some things that need fixing before the publisher I’ve worked with in the past will even consider offering a contract on it. And it needs to be done. I really need to sell this book. I have tremendous admiration for many of the self-published authors in our genre, but I don’t see myself being one of them, so I kinda need a publisher to want this book.

I’m sure there are writers who can work to a pulsing bass line. I, being an old fart apparently, am not one of them. When the boys downstairs first moved in there was no problem; I didn’t even hear them. Then the property went into the process of changing hands, the on site manager moved out, and the noise began. And I became aware of my old fartiness.

First time it happened, I sort of knocked on the floor, like… hey guys, that’s a little bit loud. Then they had a party, and I’m afraid it was a declaration of war. It went on all evening, into the wee hours. I finally gave up and went to bed to read, head phones in place. Oh, did I mention that my head phones don’t cancel out the noise? Cuz sometimes it’s loud enough that they don’t. And sleeping with that going on? Not so much. I have a fan on high, even when it’s five degrees outside, and I could still hear the stereo. So I finally filed a formal complaint.

I didn’t want to. Who wants to be that crotchety old lady, complaining about the whipper snappers? God, I hate it. But… what am I supposed to do? I’m stuck here when the car is gone, listening to Kanye or whoever the hell they have on. Call of Duty. Battlefront. Something where things explode. Trying to hear my own thoughts over the soundtrack of a hundred evil warrior whatever’s being slaughtered.  It drives me nuts. I changed rooms, I moved chairs, nothing helps.

Earlier this afternoon, when I discovered that you could only watch the freaking Rose Bowl game if you have cable TV (and that, my friends, is another whole basket of crankypants) I decided screw it, I’ll turn off the television and work. The minute I did the background music of a full scale war began. Thump thump thumpa through the floor. I endured it for about ten minutes, then lost my patience and banged like hell on the floor. I mean, I stomped, which isn’t something I do, because – you know, earning that ‘crabbyass old bitch’ upstairs label.

They turned the stereo down. I think my only complaint was relayed to the guys, and the management here likes me. I’m quiet, I pay my rent on time, my apartment is clean when they inspect. So when I stomped, the boys turned it down. But I keep thinking; do we have to go through this EVERY. DAMNED. TIME? I mean, we’re talking several days a week, here, with the thumpa thumpa thumpa and then me banging on the floor. I’m actually considering moving into a 55 plus place, which is like – horrifying. Me, in a senior community? Christ. Blech. No. I mean, I’m not old, right? I write m/m romance, for gods sakes. What old lady does that? And then… I look in a mirror.

I remember my grandmother, who I adored, looking at an old person once and saying something like, ‘But they’re OLD.’ My siblings and I laughed at the time, but now I’m thinking; shit. It is like everyone says. Your body gets old, but your brain? Not so much.

So now because of a couple of college age kids whose parents didn’t teach them that some things are just damned rude, I have become ‘Lady Crankypants’ of the apartment complex, the one who bangs on the floor.

Son of a bitch.

But then, I do get my ten percent discount at McDonald’s. Take that, whipper snappers!

~Diana Copland

About Diana Copland

Diana Copland began writing in the seventh grade, when she shamelessly combined elements of Jane Eyre and Dark Shadowsto produce an overwrought Gothic tale that earned her an A- in creative writing, thanks entirely to the generosity of her teacher. She wrote for pure enjoyment for the next three decades before discovering LiveJournal and a wonderful group of supportive fanfiction writers, who after gifting her with a “”Best New Author”” Award encouraged her to try her hand at original gay fiction.

Born and raised in southern California, Diana moved to the Pacific Northwest after losing a beloved spouse to AIDS in 1995. She lives in eastern Washington with four obnoxious cats, near her two wonderful adult children.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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5 thoughts on “Now Introducing Her Ladyship, Ms. Crankypants ~ Outside the Margins with Diana Copland

  1. I don’t think what you’re asking for is unreasonable. I lived in an apartment for 13 years before we moved into a house and we ran through the gamut of neighbors. My belief was if I was quiet and conscious of their right to be there, they should do the same. And when it didn’t quite work out that way, they knew it.

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