You might remember that not quite a year and a half ago I moved one door over in my building over a rent dispute with the lady who owned the condo I’d lived in for two years. Well, the short of it is that after sitting vacant a year – which gave me an admittedly petty pleasure – she rented it.
At the rent I’d wanted the year before.
Not long ago, I met the new neighbor.
That one time was enough.
I’d decided when I heard him moving in that I wasn’t going to mention that I’d lived there before him when we eventually met.
It was such a good idea.
However, when we finally met, I was leaving and he was standing at his door in gym clothes with two bags of groceries. My assumption was that he was just getting home from work and had stopped for provisions on the way back from the gym.
He asked how long I’d lived here. Told me he was new to the area.
I had accidentally Mrs Kravitz-ed him when closing my bedroom blinds one night and seen two men getting cozy on the couch. Meeting him at his door affirmed my assumption that he was a big ‘mo.
The worst part was I could tell he was one of those clenchy, uptight types.
Whoever lived here before must have had a cat because it took me three days to clean before I could move in.
He went on to make a couple carelessly pretentious comments about things that really made me stand back on my heels to put as much space as possible between us. Myrt, realizing I was just on the other side of the door, decided to scream a few times.
Oh, you have a cat, too?
“Yup. I actually got her when I lived in your unit.”
Oh! You lived here?
“Yeah. I moved about a year ago.”
So, you must know the person that lived here before!
I lean against my door frame, “Kinda.”
Well, he wasn’t much of a housekeeper is all I know.”
He makes one of those awkward laughs that you have to watch out for, the kind where if you laugh it’s interpreted as tacit agreement? Naturally, I remained stoically neutral. Maybe my eyes narrowed just the teensiest bit.
“I’m sure I couldn’t say. I guess not by your standards, at least. But I do know the owner had a professional two person crew in here for a day a few months back…”
Me: level gaze
Me: level gaze
Him: blink, blink
“Maybe there was just a lot of hair in the ducts, who knows?”
I’m sure that’s it.
Me: level gaze
Him: blink, picks up grocery bags
“Of course, I shouldn’t keep you. And I’m sure my friend is waiting outside now! I should go. Have a good night!”
I go to the elevator and push the button, looking back just in time to see him disappear into the building’s stairwell.
What the? Who leaves their house in gym clothes with two bags of groceries?!? And we’re talking produce on top type bags of groceries.
Maybe he was cooking for his couch canoodling friend.
What I do know is that he was pretty judgy for a guy who’s balcony has looked like this for three full months now
Even worse, there’s one of those countertop compost pails sitting out there now, too. How gross is your compost pail that it can’t sit in your kitchen?
Must be more gross than a bit of cat hair.
Anyway…that’s not the petty part.
The other day I was running a bag of Myrtle related items to the trash chute – she’d had a day. First, she pooped on the living room rug for whatever subtle bit of feline logic. Then a few minutes after I served her highness dinner, I hear
Hurr. Hurk. Hurr…huuuurk!”
coming from the front door and just as I get to her, Myrtle uneats all over the entry rug.
So, I’m cleaning the rug and hear doors opening and closing all over the floor. Which is kind of my new normal. I’ve gone from a random door closing once or twice a week and occasionally seeing a tacky wine bottle in the recycling as evidence of the old lady who lives on the other end of the floor’s presence to having a neighbor who is one of those people that can never leave his unit successfully on the first try.
So, I’m cleaning and I hear a door close. A minute later, I hear another door close, then another again.
About this time, I head out to throw my cat barf in the trash chute and just as I reach for the trash room door knob, it opens. My old lady neighbor just about dies on the spot – I swear, I saw her soul try and leave her body.
She makes some urgent “Oh, my!” sounds as I excuse myself and she disappears into her unit again. That’s probably the last time I’ll see her in 2019.
I drop Myrtle’s barf bag into the trash chute and head back to my unit.
As I’m passing my old doormat, I see there’s a note sticking out from under it. Curiosity tugs at me, but since I now know that I’m unaware of my neighbor’s whereabouts, I keep going. All I can see is that it’s a piece of copy paper with laser printed text on it.
I’m kind of thinking it’s a note for a delivery driver or something and put it out of my mind.
The next morning, I’m heading out – probably for coffee – and as I’m grabbing my jacket, hear my neighbor’s door slam.
Then open again.
Then the fire stairs door slams and I wait.
I leave and see the note is still there, but it’s been moved. I push the button for the world’s slowest elevator. There’s plenty of time as I’m waiting to sneak a peek at the note.
You may be unaware of how the sound of your music travels through the walls…
It becomes clear to me that the series of doors I’d heard the night before was my old lady neighbor delivering this note before taking out her trash. Additionally, for whatever reason, she’s used English spelling twice in her note even though I’ve never detected an accent when we’ve exchanged words in passing.
Whatever. I don’t really care. I do note, however, that it’s a shame my new neighbor’s music has made a bad impression on my old lady neighbor, since they both seem rather affected.
Seems like they should get along fine.
But the petty part of this whole thing is me thinking that I lived in this guy’s unit for however long and never got a snotty, passive-aggressive, nearly-anonymous note from my neighbor about my music.
Must have been the extra insulation from all that cat hair…