we couldnt take it anymore.. the stench and the cigarette butts that had carpeted the floor.. the dog pee.. the plastic cups.. the loud music.. the pizza boxes.. no this wasnt a music festival.. this was the state of our stairwell.. largely the product of our arab nieghbours on the first floor.. and what makes it worse is that they are so polite to us..
its not easy living in yaffo sometimes.. you have to strike a balance between accepting and objecting.. the same arab neighbours decided to exercise their right to object to our super cheap building cleaner and after refusing to pay their share of her incredibly insignificant fee for several months causing her to leave have consistently trashed the building..
every now and then - repulsed by their own mess they wash the first flight of stairs - which leads to their apartment - ignoring the fact that their children litter all flights on their way to their nightly escapades on our roof
i couldnt take it anymore.. so i decided to exercise my right to try and make a difference.. my wife was horrified by the idea that i might become the building's cleaner but frankly i didnt care..
so the plan was to start cleaning and make a lot of noise so people would notice and i could force some interaction.. but no one paid any attention.. not until i buzzed the door of the worst offenders..
they answered the door smilingly and bewildered and i suggested they join my cleaning venture.. my offer included that i broom sweep the whole stairwell and that when i start washing the floor that they take over the water sweeping form their floor to the entrance..
they praised the initiative and said they would happily join..
once i got to their floor they sent out a 17 year old who started helping out.. at some point his older brother stepped out with a tray of food for their neighbours on the other side of the building and he slipped on the water with his flipflops - ignoring our warnings.. he complained that i had used too much soap.. i told him id barely used any and that the substance was a floor washing liquid.. i was embarrassed that i was apologising floor cleaning his mess.. 3 chickens flew off his tray with a plastic plate and onto the floor.. the younger kid removed the chickens and threw them casually into the garden inviting cats to swarm the entrance within minutes.. the plate they left for me to clean up..
moments later the all disappeared.. leaving me to finish the job.. to be honest it was pleasant for me.. i liked the idea of transforming our shit hole entrance into a nice space..
this morning i went downstairs to buy some stuff for breakfast and of course cigarette butts were already collecting on the freshly cleaned stairwell..
it may sound insignificant to many.. but living in shit is not fun..