The lady next door

She is crazy. Or not?

Every morning when I go outside to bring my daughter to school I find the lady next door waiting on the stairs. For years now she is standing on those stairs, waiting till somebody sets something next the big underground garbage container instead of putting it in. And then her comments come. “You’re not allowed to put things next the container! Why can’t you wait till it tuesday?”

For a good understanding, I live in Amsterdam Old-West, The Netherlands, and that’s about the same as living in New York or the like, with neighbours all around you, above, under, next left, next right. The one time I talked with the old lady, she told me the police was after her. And indeed, every time a policecar showed up, she disappeared. Moments later she is on her post, watching and guarding her precious container. She wears a long lightbrown overcoat which hasn’t been cleaned for years. Her hair looks like an old overused floorcloth, but her eyes are sharp and she sees everything.

On monday-evening, when we’re allowed to place old furniture and the like next the container, it is her day. Fanaticly she takes everything away and places it by another container on the other side of the street. Her container has to be clean. It never can be, but that’s another question. Sometimes my wife tries to talk to her, but she flees into her home on the second floor as if the devil comes to take her.

And I wonder, is she crazy? Or not?

No, she isn’t. She is lonely and can’t tell it anybody. She didn’t learn how to talk with people I guess. And although I’ve tried many times to help her, she wont accept any help. But I see almost never someone with her and I pity her, because she’s lonely.

It could be you.

It could be you when you are old and forgotten by your family. So take care that you are loved when you’re young and take care that you are still loved when you are old. That will be the difference between loneliness and …

You can fill the last sentence in yourself, I think.