Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Fences

Everyone in my new building is super friendly and nice. People say "hi" to each other, and I have observed people engage in long, friendly conversations in which they convey the impression that they either 1) know each other's personal business or 2) actually hang out. Supposedly, in the summer, there will be pool parties, from which I, the swimming-disabled person, will be excluded.

I have observed these things, yes--but with my earphones in my ears, and with a friendly, silent smile and nod of my head in my quick passings from my door to the lobby door (all of five feet). In general I keep to myself. Not that I dislike these people--but with the hard-won wisdom gained from law school and all the times I have lived in buildings with lots of people or overzealous neighbors, I am hanging back. Life lessons, kids: 1) take your time in getting friendly, 2) make friends carefully, 3) nice people do not necessarily good friends make, 4) life is not a Friends episode, and 5) familiarity breeds contempt.

Another reason I don't get to know my neighbors is that my door is the door that everyone passes from the lobby to the elevator. Standing outside my door, which I have done on those occasions I leave my place of work and residence, I can smell everything I cook and hear everything I listen to, no matter how low I put the volume. I cook almost every other day, and bake at least once a week. True, I run like a mo-fo just to work it off and give away most of what I bake, but still, that's a lot. I listen to what Paul Gowder calls "maudlin shit" on repeat, like the William H. Macy character in Magnolia. For a time, I was watching bits of Pride and Prejudice almost every day, because it's a pleasant pick me up I could play in the background as I was unpacking.

I am convinced that my neighbors think that I am this 400 lb. woman in flowered dresses who knits doilies and talks to her 10 cats while affecting a British accent and grooving to "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."

Why dispel the myth? It's fun. I should start listening to death metal.

Although I never want to be that dude who listens to "world music" and has "awful cooking smells" emanating from his apartment. That's a dashiki-wearing dude with a Steven Seagal ponytail, man.


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