Friday, January 25, 2008

Unneighborly neighbor update

I've offered regular updates about my new neighbor situation over here. There's an update. There's been an update for upwards of two weeks. I didn't write it because, well, I was afraid the neighbor would find it here and a scene would be made.

I would have no fear of this except that his royal highness, the Count of Suffolk Street, Scottula D. Buttox, casually mentioned to the new neighbor that I have a blog.

But, friends, I can no longer stay silent.

A short recap:
  • I over-rolled out the red carpet for the new neighbor
  • After my shame (and a month) had passed, I left her (and everyone else in the building) a box of homemade cookies and candies for Christmas
  • She replied with a tin of cookies containing mediocre chocolate peanut butter squares and delicious oatmeal cookies
  • I replied with a thank you note and a request for the oatmeal cookie recipe
  • She replied with a meticulously hand-written letter one full page long containing both the recipe and her hot tips for how to make cookies better, which were extremely involved and which I summed up here in about 1/20th of the number of words
  • I was offended that she sent me cookie tips because I had made her some pretty fucking awesome cookies, but then chose not to be offended after anonymous advised me that she was trying to find common ground and obviously we both like cookies.

I showed the letter to a couple friends and asked them for their take. JBo said, "Listen, you're even now. You did something crazy with the shouting down the stairs. Now she's done something crazy with this letter and you're even."

I took real solace in this.

Two weeks ago I was arriving home from my extremely painful massage about the foot to alleviate the bastard plantar fasciitis. As I climbed the stairs, I heard our door open. I shouted up the stairs, "Darling, is that you?"

It sure was him. But he wasn't opening the door for me. Seems the new neighbor had knocked. She wanted to borrow an egg. I arrived at the top of the stairs just in time to inform her that we were plumb out of eggs, but that I could offer her dried egg-white powder, which works in a pinch.

She declined, but we got to talking, all casual and friendly-like about things.

Somehow, and I don't know how, I mentioned that my sister is a phlebotomist.

Her reply, "No offense, but you could train a monkey to do that job."


I said, "Well, my sister is a human being who is a phlebotomist."

And she said again, "No offense, but you could train a monkey to do that job."

Scott and I started this whole trying-to-prove-that-Tesia-has-mad-phlebotomy-skillz-and-isn't-a-monkey thing. We're hopelessly devoted to her, after all.

Then she started talking about how serious she was about her cookie tips, and how important it is to avoid flat cookies by adding extra flour. (Aside: my cookies were definitely not flat!)

Scott started telling her that I worked in a bakery for six years. She wouldn't hear it. She just kept repeating her tips (or un-tips, as the case may be).

Then she asked me what radio station I work for. I told her. She replied, "My sister hates Country music."

Um, well, uh. "Great."

Our encounter ended with her telling us to stop by anytime. We said, "Yes! We will stop by!"

At first, upon mulling the whole thing over, I was wholly offended. Then I realized that this is a human who clearly does not know how to communicate with other people and her extreme negativity must come from a place of insecurity. I don't know how telling me my sister has the job of a monkey, that I need to avoid flat cookies and that her sister hates Country music helps her deal with her insecurities. And maybe this is just a story I'm telling myself so that we can all be pleasant if we bump into each other in the hall.

I have to admit, though, that I'm hella disappointed. I really, really wanted a pal in the building.

Of course I do have a pal in the building. He sleeps in the bed next to me. He's the Count Scottula D. Buttox.

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Blogger Unknown said...


What an unusual sort you have been sidled with. What rude comments. How unfortunate.

Extra flour. Pthhhpt.

January 27, 2008 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger elizasmom said...

I don't in any way discount that what she said to you was offensive (monkeys? really?), but from the perspective of an observer, the scene you describe has a riveting Larry David/David Brent trainwreck quality to it. At least she will be good for entertainment value.

January 28, 2008 at 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my stars! That is some real disconnect she's got there.

I think your assessment of the situation is accurate and will help you navigate further interactions.

And to repeat the monkey comment!


January 28, 2008 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Sassy Pants said...

Sadly, at first when I read "phlebotomist" I thought, "Her sister reads the shape of people's heads?!" Which, if that was the case, IS a job a monkey could do, except for the whole telling people what the bumps mean. But since that is not what a phlebotomist does I would very much prefer to have the monkeys keep their hands off me. A good blood drawer is a blessing. A bad blood drawer is evil. I'm sure your sister is the former.

February 2, 2008 at 4:52 PM  

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