Saturday, December 1, 2007

New neighbor alert!

We share the top floor of an awesome building in Holyoke with one other apartment. It's been vacant for about six months because the previous tenant, well, there's no nice way to say this: she turned yellow and died.

It wasn't all that surprising because in my four years here before she died, I never once saw her sober and she didn't usually remember my name. I heard her regularly, because although our giant old building here is pretty soundproof, the one place it isn't is in the bathroom, which contains the only wall we share.

It's weird when you only hear what happens in another person's bathroom. Also, when you remember (while you're tearing things up) that someone else can hear you.

Anyway, I saw her in the springtime, and at first I thought she had a tan. Then I realized she wasn't tan, but yellow. I was concerned about it, but I didn't know how to say anything. I didn't know her sons and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. I remember saying to Scott, "Man, she looks yellow; should I call somebody?"

A couple weeks later, I bumped into my downstairs neighbor in the hall and she said, "Did you hear about your neighbor?" She didn't even say her name. I thought it was weird.

"Which neighbor?" I asked.

"She died!"

"Who died?"

"Your neighbor."

It was a weird Who's on First situation, because she wouldn't say the deceased's name. Proof of effective communication skills aren't part of the lease application, it turns out.

My late neighbor had lived in the apartment since 1977. Thirty years in one apartment - you can imagine what would come of a place after 30 years. It took my landlord a long time to get it back into ready-to-rent condition.

(Aside: I'd like to just say that I have the best landlord ever. He really is great. He's a completely reasonable human and an attentive landlord - a great combination. The building is in beautiful condition. Also, he's not interested in anybody's business, which I found refreshing upon my arrival after the debacle that was my last apartment. Remember when I moved out of there? Gosh, I've been blogging a really long time. I would link to the whole story, but I took the old blog down. Maybe I'll find it in my personal archives and repost it. That would be a fun walk down memory lane.)

Scott and I have been really excited about new neighbors. Just now I was in the kitchen and I noticed out the back windows a van parked behind the building. Then I saw people coming up the stairs carrying household items. Then, before I could stop myself, I was running down the stairs to greet them. I even offered my services to help them unload the van.

I don't even unload the car. This is how excited I am about new neighbors.

I met the actual person who will be living in the apartment. She seems nice, but so does everyone when you meet them on the stairs, so time will tell.

But they refused my help. I started shouting and shouting about how excited I am to have new neighbors. "We've been waiting and waiting for new neighbors!" I shouted. I think I brought a little too much Jennifer Myszkowski-ness to the stairway meeting. I think I might have frightened them.

Oh, and it gets better:

After they rejected my over-zealous advances, I told her something about hoping to get to know her later and good luck and all that crap. Then I came into my house. Then I made myself some hot chocolate and put it in the microwave. While it was heating up, I started watching them out the window because I'm so excited and curious - and also because I was there. Great.

But then her friend looked up and saw me watching them like a stalker.

I was thinking of making her a welcome-to-the-neighborhood banana bread because I've got a bunch of bananas on their way out, but now I think I have to wait a few days and be a normal person so as not to cause the nice new lady any more alarm.


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