I assume the prompt “Neighbors” is about our neighbors, and is not an outlet for me to vent about how unimpressed my sister and I were by the Australian soap when it finally made it’s way to America, years behind, and with far less Jason Donovan and Kylie (and Danni) Minogue than we had thought there would be. I’m just sayin’.
I live in an apartment building that has 17 units. I know the names of exactly three residents besides my own family: our former super’, one of his daughter’s (although I’m not quite sure which one matches the name), and the woman who lives right next door to me, and that one is completely by chance. It’s a shameful state of affairs, especially considering I’ve lived here for four and a half years now.
I’m not quite sure how it came to pass that I never introduced myself to any of them. It could have been the language barrier (most of my fellow
inmates residents speak English as their second language. It could have been that I’m just terrible at introductions, often forgetting them at the first only to never really get a second chance without that awkward moment of admitting that, even though you’ve chatted many times neither of you knows the other’s name. It could have just been that I was hoping to be here for only a year or so before moving. To be fair, none of them, the people who lived here when we moved in at least, introduced themselves either. And so, here we are, over four years later, and I live basically in a building full of stranger/acquaintances, not knowing what to do about it.
These S/As are actually quite a nice group for the most part. There’s a lovely woman with a late teens son, a tween daughter, and a baby girl the same age as my Pirate Princess. We chat every time we pass each other in the courtyard. She even invited us up to the little one’s birthday party once. Her husband is a nice guy. Still have no clue what their names are. A woman who lives upstairs says hi every time I see her. She asks about the kids. She’s pleasant. Couldn’t tell you her name if my life depended on it. I know I should do something about this, but it’s hard mustering up that kind of courage, the kind that says, “I’ve been remiss in my manners for the past four years. Allow me to introduce myself to you now. I’m the jack ass in number four that never told you her name nor inquired after yours. Pleased to finally meet you!” You see my predicament.
This post is particularly apropos today. A woman who used to live upstairs (but had to move to the building next door after a fire destroyed the back half of the upper two floors a few years ago) stopped by last night. When I opened the door, there she was, Whatshername, holding a plate of homemade cookies. They were adorable, decorated with pastel colored frosting and little Eastery sprinkles. She said that her daughter had made them for my kids, and added two bigger ones for me and my husband. How sweet is that?
My S/As really are nice people. We all get along so well, and we all look out for each other. We chat. We laugh. We talk about the weather. We knock on each other’s doors if we hear the smoke alarm going off. We just don’t know each other’s names. In a day and age where it is becoming the norm to not know one’s neighbors names, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m as guilty as the next girl of not taking the time to get to know the people that surround me and share my space. Is there a way of fixing this? Of course. Is it an easy way? Not really. If I want it fixed, I have to just admit to them that, “Hey. I never got your name when I moved in and I’ve been too embarrassed to admit it all this time. I’m Bridget.” It’ll take every ounce of guts I have, but at this point, I kinda have to do it, don’t I? After all. She baked us cookies.
In response to prompt number 3 in this weeks edition of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop.