Allow me introduce my neighbour, Lady Olga Hoo-hum. She's been living in the flat across from ours for the last 48 years. Yes, that's just as long as Patricia Doyle's hairdryer has been going. Co-inkidink, huh?
Forty-eight years in the same two bedroomed-flat… wow. But that's not the point. Lady Olga Hoo-hum is slightly bi-polar. I call her Lady or Dame because she's very proper, regal in a way. I call her crazy because she is. I think her surname reflects her dichotomous personality.
Dame Olga doesn't work, so we tend to bump into each other during the day. Sometimes I'll go for weeks without seeing her – I can hear her waiting for me to shut my door before she opens hers. So I never know whether I'm going to be greeted by the Lady or the Crazy.
Dame Olga bought me a bunch of bright yellow tulips and a vase when we first moved in.
Crazy Olga called the police when we went away for the weekend and didn't secure our balcony door properly. Crazy Olga verbally attacked me in a drunken haze (hers, not mine).
Dame Olga rang our bell one day to present me with a bottle of home-made rhubarb chutney.
Crazy Olga bitches about the neighbours at the top of her voice in the echoing hallway.
Today, the blessed duckie was waiting to pounce on me when I got back from the shops – as I put my key in the door, she popped out to give me her latest offering… AllerHande: het tijdschrift van Albert Heijn. The local supermarket's monthly magazine.
I can't decide if this latest interaction should be filed under the Crazy or the Dame.
But the truth is, I like Crazy Dame Olga. She takes the time to speak Dutch (slowly) with me, even though her English is almost perfect, and is patient with my three-year-old attempts at full sentences. I really, truly appreciate that.
Three reasons why I can't blame her for being loopy: a) she's old b) she's been living in the same flat for half a century c) she's Dutch… en iedereen zijn gek. That's my attempt at saying they're all bloody nuts.
In short, Crazy Dame Olga is worth the entertainment.