It’s interesting the things you can surmise about others without ever having exchanged one word with them. I’ve been in my new apartment for about four months now, and I’ve had what you can consider a real conversation with only one of my neighbors (this elderly lady Marilyn, who has this tiny, fluff-of-a-dog and always wants to chat when I’m late for something). And it’s not because I’m unfriendly or a (complete) recluse. It’s just how the world is today. But it doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve never exchanged more than a passing “hello” with my neighbors, because you can guess a lot of things about a person simply by how they act, what they wear, and what you overhear them saying. With my keen sense of awareness and others’ inability to keep privacy completely intact, here are some things I’ve learned about my neighbors without ever having met them:
The rude lady with the annoying dog moved out. She lived right next door to me, and her loud dog would always bark at the most inconvenient times. I ran into her a few times in the hallway, and once in the laundry room, and she was not very nice. Also kind of a slob.
My downstairs neighbors are rednecks. The kind that dress head to toe in camo, sit around and drink beer all day and can be heard from the parking lot.
My new neighbor is a huge Gators fan. She has a UF door mat and I’ve seen her walking around the complex in Gators pajamas. She also has people over a lot, and I can hear them cheering through the wall to what must only be a Florida Gators game.
Whoever lives in the corner unit keeps late hours. I can see their windows from my bedroom window, and when I’m laying in bed at night (usually around 12 or 1, so it’s not like I’m going to bed super early), I can see their lights on. I can’t imagine what they’re doing up so late every night, and come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone come out of that apartment. They’re probably vampires. Or albinos.
Several of my neighbors have bad taste in furniture. But I can only guess that, because their tattered couches and beat-up mattresses are always sitting by the dumpster waiting to be hauled off to garbage heaven, they must have realized this, too, and have moved on to better things.
I’m not the only one who doesn’t trust the elevator. The prehistoric thing is dangerous, almost having literally crushed me to death when I moved in. Plus it’s the loudest thing you’ve ever heard, and as I never hear it from my living room (it’s really that loud), I can only guess my neighbors would rather take the stairs than chance a face-off with the mechanical demon.
My neighbors like things neat and tidy. The maintenance shed is right below my bedroom window (unfortunately for me, who would prefer sleeping in on the weekends instead of being woken up by the whining of a saw or banging of a hammer), and the maintenance guy is always out there fixing one thing or another. Not to mention I always run into a guy leaf-blowing the (outside) hallway- literally, I walk around the corner and there he is. Not sure if he is the same guy making noise below my bedroom window, or if he’s a completely different person, but either way, there’s always something or other going on around this place to keep things lookin’ good.
The old couple downstairs were probably hippies. Their screened-in patio is all psychedelic and colorful, and I’ve often seen (and heard) them out there nights playing guitar and singing something soulful and folksy. Kind of nice, actually.
There are several pack rats living here. I can tell because when I go for walks, I can see everyone’s patios and balconies (it’s amazing how much you can learn just from someone’s porch). It seems to be a trend to use balcony space to store unwanted furniture, knickknacks, odds and ends and just random junk. This makes my apartment complex sound kind of shabby and low-class, actually, so I take that back (it’s really a very quiet, classy place to live, and it looks like a German town, so I’m happy).
There are sure to be more things I’ll learn as the months pass in my new home, and I know there are plenty of things my neighbors are sure to have discovered about me just by living in the same building; stay tuned for part deux of my analyzation, where I turn the tables and take a good hard look at the quirks and behaviors I am notorious for, and how I must come off to my neighbors. People can often have a tougher time looking themselves in the mirror, but I tend to just laugh at myself. Stick around; should make for a good read. Until then, what are some quirky bits you’ve learned about the people living near you?
By the way, if any of you live next to a Tim Burton-type (or the real thing), please let me know, and I will relocate immediately. Thanks.