Dealing with my drunken neighbour.
I’m not a very neighbourly person, though I try to be social and respectful of my neighbours; I like to keep my door locked and not let light into my apartment.
They can’t seem to wrap their head around the eerie fact that I love solitude.
“Who’s the guy that barely leaves the house?”, the receptionist tells me, my neighbour had asked.
The receptionist told her, “I think he’s a writer…not sure”.
I’m not sure either, receptionist — but Thank you for making me seem employed.
I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, and whilst for the most part it’s great to work from home; every now and then my neighbours get worried why I barely leave the house.
It’s a fair assumption, for the most part.
On the other hand, my lease didn’t require me to constantly make love to my neighbours.
Full disclosure, I am friendly on the rare occasion that I do speak — but I know not to get too friendly with people, because I’d rather just keep it to “Hi, How you are? How’s your day been?”.
Except well…for this recent occasion, it’s 2 A.M. and I’ve just woken up to get ready to work on my project. My lights are on; are it’s the most peaceful time of my life — it’s when I’m most creative.
I’m waiting for my coffee to cool down a little, because I don’t want to burn my tongue.
And then there’s a loud knock on the door.
I’m wondering if I’m about to get robbed.
It’s my drunken neighbour, who I’ve only ever said “Hi, how’s your day been?” to.
“Hey, uhh is everything alright ma’am?”, I murmur as I cough to clean up my clogged sleepy throat.
“Mind if I come in, uhh…I drank too much and I don’t want be alone”, she informs me.
I don’t want her to come in, I barely know her and I’m not very comfortable dealing with people — so I utter the first thing that pops into my head “I’m making coffee. I’ll get you a cup if you want? We’ll go downstairs, near the pool area. I heard it’s nice.”
I get us a cup a coffee as she stands awkwardly between the entrance to my apartment and the exit; whilst I look for another cup — I never bothered buying more than one.
Finally, I find an old mug that I got for free when I bought coffee at some point — so I decide I’ll just use that one; it’ll do.
“So what’s seems to be the trouble?”, I ask; regret it instantly — you don’t ask a drunk person what’s the trouble! what’s wrong with you, Nabeel!
She tries to collect her thoughts and says, “You’re a weird guy, you know? You never leave your apartment. And every time I run into you…you’re on another planet.”
I sit quietly, not knowing how to respond.
I light up a cigarette, hoping it’s not too offensive to my drunken neighbour.
She asks if she can have a drag, I light one up for her.
“I just needed a drag…”, I’m informed.
“Sorry…uhh. I didn’t think to share. Who knows what kinda germs I’m leaving on my cigarette.”, again regrettably not the nicest thing to say.
“You’re afraid I’ll leave germs on your cigarette?”, she says whilst giggling.
“No No! I mean’t me. Not you. I don’t care about other people’s germs…”, I explain.
We share a moment of silence as the cigarette slowly burns out into ashes.
And the worse thing happens, the moment I’ve been trying to avoid.
She resting her head on my shoulder, and I’m thinking “Oh crap, how do I get out of this mess?”
“You’re a writer, right? What do you write?”, she inquires
“Oh umm…I’m not a writer, it’s more a hobby really.”, I tell her.
“How do afford the apartment then…?”, she asks as though I deal drugs on the side.
“I had money saved up from my previous job, and I invested it…so it keeps me going”, I hope that’ll be the end of the conversation.
I’m keeping time because I need to get my ass into the shower and go to work.
Now how do I tell this drunken devil to get off my shoulder and go to sleep.
THE RECEPTIONIST! — Oh the bloody receptionist, surely he’ll be my saviour.
I work up the courage to finally say, “Hey, how about I go ask the reception to let you into your apartment and we’ll call someone you know to come over and look after you?”, it seemed like a fair deal — from my point of view.
I was wrong.
I’ve just been the most absolute, insensitive jerk — and she knows I’m trying to get rid of her.
I don’t like dealing with people. Not at 2 A.M. in the freakin’ morning and I’ve got work to — I’m thinking to myself.
I don’t drink nor do I party — I wouldn’t know how to deal with this person.
I keep coming up with enough excuses to justify that I’m basically not being the jerk here.
It’s late and I need to get to work.
I help up my drunken neighbour, a few calls are made and smiles are shared — finally another drunken acquaintance arrives, probably someone she’d partied earlier with tonight.
And she tells me, “Hey dude…thanks for that! You’re alright, you know?”
I’m alright? No. I’m not. I’m a jerk. I’m trying to get rid of you, mate. Surely she’ll have to know that by now. Maybe it’s the alcohol, she’ll avoid me the next day I hope — and that’ll be the end of that.
Well except it’s not.
I get back from work, it’s 6 P.M. now and her door’s half open; I’m trying to sneak into my apartment without making my presence known.
Suddenly she jumps behind me, and says “HEY! Thank you for last night.”
— It wasn’t last night, buddy. It was this morning.
“It’s no problem. Don’t worry about it. No big deal.”, I say as though I’ve got a dead body in the back of my car.
“No, really. I’m cooking…would you like some?”
“Oh no I’m good!…I ate. Thank you, though. That’s very kind of you.”
“Well you can come hang out any time you want, you know?”
“Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks…you’re alright now?”
“Yeah…yeah! Yeah, I’m fine. I just drank too much.”
“That’ll happen. Take care of yourself, mate.”
“No actually, listen. I wasn’t alright…a bunch of shit happened. It was stupid, and your light was on. So I knocked.”
— I don’t ever turn my light off.
I guess in that moment, it just felt that I maybe didn’t need to be too much of an arsehole and just listen.
So I do.
I tell her, I’m not used to being around people — but I tried my best with whatever I could figure out to do.
There wasn’t much to it.
I live in the same building and she knocked for help. No biggie.
For some reason it’s a huge biggie to her and keeps reminding me, I am welcome to talk to her anytime I want.
I don’t talk.
I’m happy to listen, but I usually don’t have much to say.
I say the words, “Whatever it was, I hope it works out.”
She smiles, letting me know — somehow things were going to be alright.
So now I’ve got a neighbour that won’t stop sending me leftover food, except I don’t own a refrigerator.
Oh, another one of life’s simple pleasures.
I guess I’ll be finally buying that refrigerator.
…and I guess I’ll stop being such a jerk to my neighbours and open my door every once in a while to let a little light in.
Keep them from guessing if a psychopath lives next door.