The cold war was (from what I have read, heard and seen in overly prevalent postcard photos) really something pretty dysmal to live through, if you were anywhere near the influence of mother Russia, or caught between the trade embargoes, tension and lack of internet, then you had no choice but to sit back hopelessly and watch the super powers scratch at each other until they both gave up.
A similar relationship exists between myself and my neighbour. A sour, bitter husk of a woman evidently deprived of zygomaticus major or any connected muscle tissues at birth. Every greeting is met with a grunt, and normal formalities are swept away in a muddy stream of silence.
Perhaps she's so eternally noxious because mail that cannot be delivered to the rightful recipient is always dropped in her jagged talons - yet then I remembered the only reason she receives this mail is because the woman in the hall opposite who usually does so is on holiday.
Normally not a bitter man, I took the first few encounters with a nonchalant laugh and a flick of my hair (this recounting may be falsified), but naturally, after a few run-ins and not being able to squeeze even a smirk from the creature, I did what I usually do when someone rubs me the wrong way; and continued being nice.
It was not until today that this changed, when I rang the doorbell to collect a package on my way to work, and was greeted with an eye at the keyhole and then retreating footsteps, followed by music in the apartment behind the door being turned up. It was this moment when I decided to retrieve my white enmity gloves from storage - where I swore I would leave them - and begin a mini-cold war of my own.
It's an experiment, per se, to see if her icy demeanor and excecutioner-style unkindness is actually unintentional, or whether she truly is Jadis, Queen of Charn and has no capacity for warmth.
I will ring her doorbell once more on the way home, and when she answers, I too will stare at her with ursine bluntness, my usual smile vacant, my greeting consisting of just three - possibly four syllables (everything in German requires at least double what one normally uses in English), and then I will take my mail, thank her (omitting the standard "kindly" and "very much" - sure to come as a shock) - after which I will turn and leave without waiting for her to close the door.
Before you cry "genius", and "she can't help but become infuriated" I will just say, yes, I know. Surely, my victory lies close.