Bitesize Episode 41 - Charlie Chatter on Drama in the Hood | Pt. 1

Aug 3 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this bitesize episode, Charlie gets personal and shares with you a dilemma that he is currently having with his neighbours, as it is causing him some distress. Please listen in and then email Charlie about what you think he should do to return his living space to harmony.
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 041 - Transcript

Charlie:
All right there. How's it going? If this is the first episode you've listened to of this podcast, I recommend trying another one. Feel free to start at the beginning as I explain a little bit about why I started this show and and what you can do to get the most out of it. In this week's episode, I'm going to let you in on the personal life of the host of the British English podcast, which is me. I'm not sure why I phrased it like that. Just. Just sounds annoying, doesn't it? Yeah. So I want to tell you a little bit about my personal life. From time to time, I get personal. So, yeah, as a first time listener, try another episode and come back to this another time. For the seasoned listener, welcome back. And hopefully we can agree that most of the time I theme the episodes around a cultural aspect or interview interesting folk, but I feel the need to do a Charlie Chatter episode because I've gotten myself into a bit of a pickle and it's keeping me up at night. It's even making me behave in ways that I don't particularly identify with. And I'd like to I'd like to get it off my chest. And I think if I get this out there to you, then it might help me get over the predicament. And who knows, you might have some advice for me, but either way, I hope that talking about it with you will help me move on from it somewhat, because it's preventing me from getting into a creative flow in order to produce good content for the weekly episodes. So if you don't mind, let me bend your ear with my problem.

Charlie:
Okay. Let's see. What do you need to know to set this situation up? Well, you probably need to get a picture of my living situation. So I currently rent a small two bed apartment in Sydney with my partner, which is on the second floor of a three storey building. And we've had a healthy relationship with the neighbour above us for the last 2 to 3 years since we moved in. She's a homeowner and has retired. I will say she's one of those law abiding citizens who will go to great lengths to keep order in her living space. For example, I think once we put some hard rubbish out by the bins and she gave me a stern talking to which I don't have an issue with, I'm just letting you know what type of person we're dealing with above us. Then one year after moving in, a young couple move in downstairs. They seemed pleasant enough, but not long after moving in, they started to fight and every couple of weeks they would have a shouting match in the middle of the night. I spoke with the guy a couple of times in exchanged pleasantries because I did get the feeling that it would be bad to get on the wrong side of him.

Charlie:
It might have been to do with the fact that I spent three long, hard years studying psychology and graduating with the ability to read everyone's mind, or the fact that he had a tag on his ankle when he moved in. But hey, I'm not here to judge if he's done his time. He's done his time. And I think it's important for society to allow people to learn from their mistakes. And, you know, there could have been a thousand reasons why he had it on. Oh, just realise that's a language learning reminder. Learn from your mistakes. Lovely. Anyway, at times I would have to go down and ask him to lower the volume of his music because one, I was recording a podcast and two I have never witnessed a louder sound system. We're talking staircase rattling, picture frames vibrating and head pounding kind of level here. It was almost comical how, you know, when I would go down and knock on his door, he couldn't hear me knock because it was so loud. And then he would open the door and he couldn't hear me say Hello, mate, sorry, but any chance you could turn your music down? He actually couldn't hear me because the music was too loud. Actually, I think I was a bit more direct after the first one because I just couldn't believe how loud it was.

Charlie:
Either way, he would actually turn it down, so we started to live rather harmoniously. Stacey and I would still occasionally hear the music, but when I wasn't recording a podcast, we tried to just pretend it was it was exactly the song that we we wanted to play in our apartment. And when we knew they had friends over partying, I think I even I even set a timer once saying to myself, you're not that person that ruins other people's fun. I think over the last, I'd say ten years, I've come to value rational behaviour more and more to the point where if I'm slightly unhappy but more people are enjoying the situation like the one I'm describing, I feel like it's reasonable of me to put up with it and to an extent of course. But yeah. So I've become very conscious of trying to find the most rational, reasonable way of of being. Obviously, I'm not perfect with that by any means, but I'm conscious of it. That's my point. I'm conscious of it, and I'm telling you all this for a reason. Okay, so I think I've set the scene. Oh, no. I do want to add that once when they had a gathering, they got super drunk, got into an incredibly passionate argument, and the girl decided to get in her car and drive away again. All of this in the early hours of the morning.

Charlie:
And please know I wasn't peeking through the curtains to get the goss. It was literally impossible to sleep through this kind of volume. And I did then stay up thinking she'd come back and smash into our car, having, you know, been intoxicated. But I tried to get back to sleep thinking like she wasn't driving how Leonardo DiCaprio did in The Wolf of Wall Street. Thankfully, though, nothing came of it, and another six or so months went passed without any dramas. Then one day my balcony door was still ajar after grabbing my bike, and an older lady, who is a homeowner in the building adjacent to ours, started reversing her car out of her space because our back door balcony looks onto the small little car park or driveway of multiple apartments. So she was reversing out and at the same time, the guy from downstairs was walking past her. Obviously no one wants to be ran over. But as she was going at a snail's pace, I was taken aback, to say the least, by his reaction because he lost his shit and verbally abused this poor old lady. I was thinking about heading down to try and defuse the situation, but he left before I had made up my mind. I'll admit I could have reacted quicker, but I was a little stunned. And I also felt like he was seeing red and I wasn't sure if it was my business or not, and I might have only made things worse. I'm not sure.

So the lady drove off and that was the end of that. Fast forward another year of living pretty much amicably until they bought another vehicle, a van actually, it's quite a big van. Now, they already had another car and all of the residents of the block get one car space. Now, the lady from upstairs being who she is couldn't handle them parking the van illegally. And to be fair, it was blocking her space quite a lot. So she tells the girl that they need to move the car. And as I was working by the window at the time, I overheard how hostile the girl was in response to the lady upstairs. Dare I say she was far from rational and we've witnessed them both be incredibly hot headed towards each other. So, you know, it wasn't a surprise. Eventually they get the picture and stop parking illegally until the lady from upstairs goes away for a while. And this is where I unfortunately or fortunately, I don't know, maybe you can tell me. I step in. I messaged the lady from upstairs to say, Are you aware that the tenants downstairs are parking illegally again? And is it an issue for you? I sent that message because I thought that the van was blocking another lady, actually the one he verbally abused. And I was thinking, I reckon she is probably too scared of him to ask him to move it, so maybe I should go down and try to tell him why it's an inconvenience for them.

The lady from upstairs rings me and basically says that this is unacceptable and goes on about some other minor things that have gone wrong in our building and points the finger at him. But this I don't know. This ruffled my feathers a bit because as I said, I'm a little bit obsessed with being reasonable in all situations at the moment. And I felt like she was being assuming and exaggerating his behaviour. So I firmly told her how she has no evidence that it's him with the other stuff and that him parking illegally shouldn't warrant an eviction. We end the conversation soon after that. But she said, please, can you at least just send me a photo of where he is positioning the van? I was hesitant, but also thought she might be wanting to see if he's actually blocking them in or not. And if you're wondering why she didn't just look out the window herself, she was away during the weekend. So I decided to just take one very obviously from my balcony, and that way she can't really use it because it's not anonymous. But oh boy, was I wrong and I'm still paying the consequences two weeks on, and I can imagine it might lead to another six months of living in a hostile environment, without your advice, maybe. And and just in case you can't guess what went wrong, I'll tell you what caused this whole thing to blow up in my face in just a moment.

So as I was saying, I sent the photo and heard nothing back from her. Another two days go by and I get a loud banging on the door. I open up and the guy from downstairs is staring me down. And to my horror he says, 'Dude, why are you trying to evict me and my pregnant girlfriend from our apartment?' Now, unfortunately for me, the ground didn't swallow me up whole there and then and I was very much still in his presence. But before spilling the beans, I wanted him to tell me more about this accusation. So I simply said, I'm not trying to get you evicted. What are you talking about? Which was and is true. I'm not trying to get him evicted, but he didn't waste much time in getting to the fact that a picture had been taken of his van being parked illegally and that the picture had clearly been taken from my balcony and this was part of an application to evict them. So with a flood of rage towards my upstairs neighbour for doing exactly what I asked her not to do, and immense embarrassment towards the man standing in front of me for looking like a pathetic little snitch over a parking space that doesn't even affect me.

Charlie:
I was unsure how to proceed. In hindsight, I would have liked to start by apologising and by saying that I was promised that the photo I took was not going to be used as evidence towards an attempt to evict you. Instead, though, I said something along the lines of this in a really clunky way. 'I personally don't have a problem with you parking there or you, you know, when I ask you to lower the volume of your music, you're very nice and you turn it down for me. But well, yeah, the van is causing problems for for the for the older ladies. And I saw how you talked to one of them once, and it made me feel bad for them. And since then they've, they've told me that they feel a bit, a bit threatened around you'. I can't quite recall the words he used to reply to that, but he certainly mentioned how the lady upstairs has been on his case since they moved in and apparently once was standing outside his window staring in at him whilst he was getting changed after having had a shower. And at this point I actually tried to crack a joke and then quickly remembered that he might attack me. So I swiftly went back to to being Switzerland in English. We use Switzerland as the phrase for being neutral in an argument, being the neutral person.

Charlie:
I think this phrase comes about from the fact that in the past, when countries have been at war, Switzerland or specifically Geneva, has been the place that representatives of those countries go to, you know, to to be in a neutral ground, to negotiate. So, yeah, people say I'm being Switzerland or I'm Switzerland when they want to just be the neutral party in an argument or debate perhaps. Anyway, so I went back to being Switzerland and he ended the conversation soon after that. But he definitely left in a bit of a huff, to say the least. And I went back into my apartment, dialled the phone for the police and said, 'Please help me, I'm going to be murdered in my sleep'. I didn't really. I did, however, ring the lady upstairs, though, and I did give her a piece of my mind, one for attempting to kick him out, despite what I had just said before, and two for submitting my photo that was obviously putting me in it. Putting me in it, meaning making me the one that get in trouble. Putting somebody in it. Putting them in trouble. Right. We've run out of time for this bite sized episode, but I'll be back soon with another one to update you on the situation. But if you don't get any more episodes from me ever again, well, you'll know what has happened and maybe, maybe give me a minute's silence out of respect and all that. Thanks. Appreciate it in advance.

But quite seriously, I would like to hear how you would choose to proceed as it will genuinely help me figure out what I should do. So email in to Charlie at the British English podcast dot com. Or as the cool kids say you can slide into my DMs on Instagram goodness may slide into my DMs, meaning message me on my Instagram account, which is the British English podcast. But no need to point out the obvious that I was an idiot for sending that photo and for taking it on my balcony. That is a given. I know this. I am also aware that despite saying I am trying to be a reasonable or rational person in life at the moment, you might see this whole situation as ridiculous. But yeah, I keep thinking about it probably because I feel like I could have been a bit of a better human in this situation. That's all, though. Thanks so much for letting me bend your ear on this one and for listening all the way until the end. All right. I hope you have a nice week and that you don't have any issues with your neighbours. My name is Charlie and I look forward to speaking to you next week on the British English Podcast. The British English Podcast. The British English Podcast. The British English Podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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