So I may be wrong and horribly disappointed, but evidence strongly suggests that the evil crazy wench of a neighbor, the farofeira who got lost on her way back up the serra, seems to have separated from her common-law husband and left the building!!!!!
The back story is that these two people (and practically a third guy, who may be their son and who was here all the time) moved in about 6 weeks after we did and have been wreaking havoc on our building and the surrounding buildings ever since. It's hard to say what the biggest offense has been, but I think I'm going to go with the woman's constant chain smoking, which, until last week, had basically turned our apartment into her ashtray. (When I say chain smoking, I mean that in the most serious sense, as in like, practically 24 hours a day, as in seeming to wake up in the middle of the night to have a cigarette in her bed, which seems to be directly under our bed, a mere 10 feet or so below us.) I couldn't even dry my clothes on the line under the window because they'd smell like cigarettes and I'd just have to wash them again.
She was arguably one of the worst neighbors I've ever had. I mean, the transvestite with the drum set and the meth lab in Oakland takes the cake, but she comes in at a close second.
Anyway, on this couple's list of inconsiderate behavior was their frequent screaming matches, which revealed, amid a plethora of profanities, that neither of them worked but that both wanted the other one to work and accused the other of being lazy. These matches also revealed that it was, at the end of the day, technically the man's apartment, and he wanted her out. There was lots of "vai embora!" (get out of here!) and "não vou!" (I'm not going anywhere!) repeated in circles like toddlers.
But, apparently, the man got his way, and the woman left. It's a miracle! Now we live in a regular building on a regular street again! We still seem to hear the man putzing around a bit, but just the normal noise you'd expect when you have a tiny apartment and share walls with someone, not the ridiculousness of three people (one of them crazy) and three untrained animals in a compact one-bedroom place.
I'm thinking about throwing a silent celebration with the other neighbors, including those in the buildings on each side of ours. I'll shoot paper airplanes into their windows, inviting them down to the parking area at a specific time. We'll all smile at each other quietly and sip tea from tiny cups, basking in the silence of a street without two dogs barking incessantly, a cat that always seems to be in heat and meows woefully at midnight, the laugh track of Two and a Half Men at full blast, blaring Brazilian pop and American oldies that makes the walls vibrate, and endless domestic disputes. Maybe we'll make up some kind of whispered song to say good riddance to the cigarettes, the ashes and butts in the building's hallway, the mysterious smells, and the dog poop that she threw out the window into the walkway and the parking area. Then we'll all toss our ear plugs into the air like graduation caps.
I wish I had a picture to show you. Alexandre and I enjoyed referring to her as "Brazilian white trash." She was greasy, aging, slovenly, missing teeth, and so overweight that her calves and ankles were black from blood that couldn't find the strength to circulate back up to the rest of her body. (Alexandre told me the name of this condition, but I have since forgotten.) But, by some amazing stroke of luck on my part, she's gone, and hopefully for good. Everyone else in the building is totally normal, so we're still not sure how these two characters managed to squeeze their way in (and to rent an apartment without jobs!).