Since I moved into a new apartment building at the beginning of the year, introducing myself to all my neighbors – this time around – didn’t feel scary at all. In fact, there’s only four apartments in our entire building — SCORE!! I’ll be done in twenty minutes. Tops.
I walked across the hall, knocked on my first door and no one answered. Hmmm… I’ll come back later. I went down to the second floor and I heard some music and talking in the background. Knock-Knock. The music stops. I hear footsteps. The door opens and I begin, “Hi…I’m your new neighbor upstairs and…” He interrupts, “Oh, we’re so sorry if the music’s too loud, we’ll turn it down.” “Oh, no, the music is fine…I just wanted to introduce myself since I just moved into the building. (I hold out my hand) I’m Charlene.” He looked surprised, “Oh, nice to meet you. Welcome, this is my wife” (as he pointed to a woman in the background). An awkward silence. “Well, it was great to meet you both.” I offered. “Yeah, you, too!” Done. Awesome.
Two more neighbors to meet. Not so bad. And this time around, I was going to keep knocking until I introduced myself to everyone.
One night, as I walked into our building, I saw a young woman gathering her mail from our mailbox. I wait, and opened the door for her. “Oh, thank you!” She says. “Of course!” I smiled. “I just moved into the building. I’m Charlene, and you are…” (aaaannnnd…I can’t remember her name!!!!) “It’s nice to meet you.” “You, too!” She walked straight into her apartment and waved goodnight. Nice. And I didn’t even have to knock on her door!
The next day, I walk across the hall to my neighbors door, knock again and no one answers. Weeks go by and after numerous knockings…there is still, no answer. Hmmm…could it be vacant? I wonder what this person does for a living? Are they alive? Just what is going on over there across my hall?!!!!
Then, one early morning, as I’m leaving, I hear something coming from the “vacant” apartment. SOMEONE’S HOME, I thought!!! QUICK – GO KNOCK!!! At this point, I’m a bit nervous as to what or who I may find on the other side of this door.
Knock-Knock. I hear footsteps. I hear loud noises. Suddenly, I hear Alfred Hitchcock music in the background (in my head, of course). What if it’s a PSYCHO? No wait — this is my imagination…let’s get creative…it could be a really hot dude just coming out of the shower…towel around his waist…dark, thick hair dripping with…(Door opens) “Ohhhh, HIII!!” (It’s definitely NOT that visual). Just a man answers. “Hi…I’m, uh…I moved in next…across, I mean, I’m your new neighbor! (uncomfortable giggle, on my part). I live across the hall! I’m Charlene… And, YOU are?” (my one eyebrow raised). He shakes my hand. “Oh, Hi there… nice to meet you. Yeah, I’m never really home…I’ve had this place for years, I’m usually…away.” (Long pause) Away, I thought? I continued, “Well, I’m glad I caught you. Have a nice afternoon!” I shouted. As I turned towards my door, I wondered…did he even say what his name was? And just where is “away?” But I didn’t want to pry. After all, sometimes, those details are better left….behind closed doors.
So, maybe going back the second time doesn’t end up with a sweet Mother inviting you into her home. Oh, well. At least I know all my neighbors…well, sort of.