Other than a few head nods in the elevator and an awkward conversation or two about the weather, I barely knew my neighbors in my New York apartment building. No time like the evening I was moving out to make their acquaintance. I walked down the dim narrow hallway, and knocked on each door one by one. The purpose of my outreach – I had a lot of kitchen items I needed to get rid of rather than move.
Every door that opened greeted me with a friendly smile. I had a pleasant chat with mostly everyone. It turned out most of my neighbors were around my age, a realization I had somehow missed during my tenure of living in the building. I invited each of them to stop by to pick up a few pots or pans.
One apartment’s residents caught my attention. When I knocked, it took a few minutes for them to answer. The wait time included a loud rustle of papers and several whispers. Then, a guy opened the door in a towel with another towel wrapped around his head. I was caught off-guard, unsure how to react. I repeated what I said to everyone else. “Cool, can we come by later?” he asked. “Yeah, totally,” I responded, walking back to my place, confused by this strange guy. Perhaps this is why I never got to know my neighbors – because you never know who you are going to meet.
At one in the morning, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to greet the guy from down the hall, and his roommate. Both dressed and without towels, they came in to survey my kitchen give-a-aways. Much to my surprise (they seemed like guys who ordered pizza rather than cooked), they took everything, including an extra bowl of cereal. They stayed until 6 am watching Jersey Shore. I wondered if they woke up the next morning, wondering why they had yaken all those kitchen items. It was too late to give them back, I had already moved out.