22 Feb

I find it really strange that my friend doesn’t know who her neighbors are. She’s lived at the apartment for at least a year, I think, and says she barely knows what they look like. I live in a large old house converted into an ‘apartment building’. I know who all my neighbors are. All of the apartments are small, except for the first floor, so they’re mostly occupied by singles. There are about five late-20’s to mid-30’s men. One of them has some kind of nutritional supplements resale business going on, but they all wear suits to their day-jobs, except for John. I have no idea what John does for work. I don’t see him very often, and when I do, it’s usually nighttime. He’s very polite but my dog *really* doesn’t like him. I’ve lived in this building for a year, and she always barks when she sees him. No growling; she barks at him and doesn’t stop, even when I tell her to. I always apologize to John, but I wonder why she’s so especially weird with him. I guess there’s a mild creepiness about him, but not in a serial killer way.

Then there’s the mid-50’s Blues and Enya lover. This guy moved in just a few months ago. Big smile, almost as big as his mustache. He’s barely ever aroundl maybe 2-3 days per week. But when he is, I definitely know; he blasts the Blues or Enya (really, that’s it. blues or Enya.) until 9pm, when he then promptly shuts it off. If he’s around on the weekends, I might catch him practicing the electric guitar. I wonder if he’s a truck driver.

There’s the undergraduate art student. Her sporadically visiting boyfriend is a bit weird, but she is a nice girl who visits her parents often. And she’s taking guitar lessons. The back bumper of her car is covered in stickers, mostly fast, angry music-related, like mine was when I was an undergraduate. There’s the white American woman with an Indian husband whose mother visits way too often, in my opinion. They don’t seem to love each other. They seem pretty miserable, actually. Right before the holidays, I saw him waiting outside the building with suitcases.

Oh are you guys going away for the holidays?
Yeah… we’re going to [insert forgotten vacation hot spot here].
That’s awesome, you guys will have a lot of fun!
Yeah… we’ll try, I guess. Gotta try.

I try to avoid them, though he’s always very nice to me.

There’s a young guy, probably my age, with a New Hampshire license plate who likes his weed, french fries and really bad music. Varying genres – techno, hip hop, rock – but the worst songs of each. He has boring looking friends who visit on the weekends and they listen to more bad music together, a little louder. And then there’s the first floor lady. She’s nearly 70, and just a sweetheart. She’s lived at the house for 22 years, at the same apartment. She has her granddaughter over a lot, as well as her children and their spouses, but I think she feels pretty lonely. Every time I see her I get trapped for at least 20mins; she talks a lot. A couple of times, when I wasn’t in a particular hurry to go anywhere, I somehow found myself in her dining room, being force-fed cookies and soda and learning all about her children and fun facts about Waltham.

Please… no more cookies. I just want to go upstairs to do nothing alone. Please.

But she is a widow and a wonderful lady and as much as I’m a bratty kid, I appreciate her (though sometimes I try to avoid her too. I don’t always have the time for cookies and town trivia).

I wonder who I am to them. On my third or fourth night in this building, I nearly burned it down. I put a pizza in the oven, forgot about it, and didn’t shut the oven off all the way. I closed my bedroom door and went to sleep. Around 12:30am, I woke up with Tori barking, because someone was knocking at the door. I opened my bedroom door and could only see smoke. When I opened the main door, I saw half of my neighbors standing out there.

Are you OK? Did you not hear the alarm? The firefighters are on their way.
Uuuuhhhh… Oh yeah, the pizza. I’m so sorry, everyone.

Fucking idiot. Barely three days in, and I was already a fucking idiot.

I don’t know what they think of me. Luckily, I haven’t tried to burn down the building since, so they aren’t afraid of me, I’m pretty sure. I’m a good dog owner, I am home alone a lot, and they probably can’t ever hear my music or television playing. I wear flip flops to work, I’ve been seen driving about five different cars, and I’m pretty sure some of them know I smoke weed. I don’t feel bad because at least two others smoke cigarettes inside their apartments, and I can smell it as I walk by their doors. I just kind of hope they don’t think I’m a weirdo. Like I do of John.


One Response to “Neighbors”

  1. subject-verb agreement March 4, 2010 at 20:12 #

    now, they’re my neighbors, too. great writing. xo

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