Hallway Etiquette

This week, a sign appeared in my apartment building’s elevator. Typically, I ignore these letters at large, but this time I took a closer look.  The sign requests the tenants not leave shoes, umbrellas or personal items in the hallway.

Even though we do not share a bathroom or kitchen with our neighbors, often, it is just a thin wall (sometimes a yard) that separates our lives from their lives. How frequently do we interact with them beyond a cookie cutter conversation about the weather? I have never asked my neighbor to borrow sugar. But, she has made a few requests of me. If this sign had been posted in August, I would have thought she had hung it up herself to remind me of hallway etiquette.

During Hurricane Irene weekend, August 23-24, most of my building had evacuated. Instead, I stayed and my friend slept over. We stocked up on junk food and watched a lot of tv as we waiting for the storm to hit. Bored at home on a Saturday night, we walked a few blocks to a neighborhood bar where quite the party had started. A few hours later, we walked back to my apartment in one of the windiest and rainiest moments of the storm. Our shoes, jackets, and umbrellas were beyond soaked.  Putting them in the bathtub to dry was out of the question because I had attempted to follow reporters  instructions to fill the bathtub  with water in case our toilet would not flush.

When we woke up the next morning, the storm  had passed, but our belongings were no where near dry. So, they stayed in the deserted hallway. At 3pm, my doorbell rang. It was my neighbor who asked me to remove my belongings from the hallway because she had friends who would be visiting soon. I replied ok, and shut the door. I was expecting my neighbor to ask if we made it through the storm okay, instead, I was reminded of hallway etiquette.

Despite the months that have passed, when the sign appeared, it reminded me of my neighbor. I snapped a photo, and sent it to my friend who had stayed with me. She responded with LOL, and a picture of her own. A similar sign had appeared in her building overnight as well. So, I guess it was not just me, it was most likely the looming snow season with icy boots being left in the hall to dry.

So, apparently, we must not be alone in wanting to rent out our neighbors.

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