Dear Old Guy Neighbor:
I dig you. I do. You are a nice fellow. You are a lonely fellow. You are an interesting fellow. And I honestly don't mind talking to you at all. But *YOU'RE STARTING TO SMOTHER ME*!!!!! So we need to make some changes.
Herein lies a new set of conversational rules I hope you will be willing to abide by:
- You need to start letting me be out on the roof for more than 30 seconds before you come to the window to talk to me. Otherwise I start to feel a bit like I'm being stalked and start wondering whether I should check my phone for wire-taps. An hour would be preferable--it will give me time to decompress after a long day of work before having to spend 45-minutes talking to you about the price of gas.
- Please do not make your usual cat-noises out the window at my cats when I have guests over. It is disconcerting and confuses them, especially if they've been drinking.
- If I am holding a plate of food, if I am very dramatically scooping the food into my mouth, if I am very obviously talking with my mouth full of food, all so you will notice that I am in the middle of eating my dinner, then please do not say "So you eating dinner?" and when I answer affirmatively, say you should let me get back to eating and then remember just *one* more thing you wanted to tell me real quick which, of course, takes the remainder of my dinner for you to tell me.
- You need to stop standing in the window for long periods of time without my awareness, not saying anything, just staring at me and my cats. Because when I finally notice you standing there, it freaks me out and makes me feel like I'm constantly under secret surveillance. You need to especially stop doing this at night.
- I don't eat meat. I would've told you that long ago, but you are hard of hearing and wouldn't have understood anyways. Like the time my downstairs neighbor asked you if your electricity was out and you said, "No, I have a dog." Anyways, this means that I don't like hearing lengthy stories about your meat-laden dinners. Anytime you ask me what you should have for dinner--chicken patties or spaghetti: I CHOOSE SPAGHETTI.
- My cats' names are Franny and Zooey, not Franny and Jody. The black one is Franny. The gray one is Zooey. Not Jody. Zooey. Just for the record.
- Take your shoes to be resoled already. You've been talking about it for three weeks already. What's the hold-up?
- If you're going to tell me a story for the 37th time, do not lead in with a "like I said before" transitional phrase. At least *feign* senility or something. Because if you're telling me the same story for the 37th time because you don't remember telling me it before, that I can understand. But when you lead in by acknowledging that you've told me the story before, then I am left wondering why in the bloody hell you're telling me it again. For the 37th time.
- Your stories about how people have broken into my apartment numerous times in the past freak me out, even if you end the lengthy description of the break-ins with a "but I'm sure they've fixed up the lock since then." So I officially declare a moratorium on this subject matter. Along with the price of gas. Because at this point, I think we have both reached an agreement that it's "Not so good."
- You are not allowed to end a 10-minute conversation by saying "I should let you get back to work--I don't wanna hold you up!" but then come back out again 45 minutes later and commence to talk for a whole 'nother 45 minutes. This offers me a glimmer of hope that is then viciously snatched away from me. And that's not nice.
- You need to not talk to me. Just once in a while. Like, maybe, Mondays. Because right now, I talk to you more during the week than I do my own mom. In fact, I talk to you more in a week than I do my whole family. And that somehow just doesn't seem right.
- When there is a plane/helicopter/bus going by, it would be useful to pause a moment in your conversation as I will not hear what you are saying for about 30 seconds and can only grin and nod.
- Please stop "accidentally" throwing bread-scraps up on my roof for the birds. I know you find it amusing to watch the cats freak out over the birds, but you have a driveway: use it.
- This is an important one: please keep our conversations at a 15-minute maximum, especially if they happen more than once in, say, two hours. If my days were 27 hours long, I wouldn't mind a 45-minute conversation more than once in the same afternoon. But since they are only 24, and since I sometimes only have a couple hours when I'm actually home in the evening to chill, 15-minutes it's gonna have to be.
- And finally: Do not, ever again, never ever ever stand in the window and point down towards your groin area and say "Look who's here to see you." I *will* eventually realize you are pointing at your dog, but the height of your window does not allow me to SEE that your dog is down there, so my initial reaction will be cold cold unfathomable horror.
I hope all this will better our relationship and allow it to continue to thrive, Old Guy Neighbor. I truly do. Otherwise, I am sorry to say, we may very well be on the road to Splitsville.
Labels: old guy neighbor