I do not know my next-door neighbor.
I’ve lived here for almost a year, and have never said more than “hey”, or done the ubiquitous guy-nod, should I ever pass him on the stairs. I wouldn’t recognize him in a line-up, and I don’t even have an inkling of an idea what his name might be.
Nevertheless, I know that he works a great deal, and is never home, preferring to stay at his girlfriend’s. He buys the paper, and likes to let them pile up outside his door in roughly one-week increments; when he then, presumably, throws them all away. Sometimes I stack his growing pile neatly next to his door. I wonder if he thinks the paper-boy does that. I know that my neighbor is slightly out of shape and doesn’t belong to a gym. He does, however, have an unused, rusted-out weight bench on his balcony. He doesn’t watch much TV or listen to the radio…at home.
This weekend, I had the chance to meet my neighbor. You can attribute our mutual disregard as a function of us both being guys and never really running into one another. Saturday, though, was a different matter. I was on my way to put my clothes in the dryer, and he was evidently on the way to the pool (and he is slightly out of shape). At exactly the same time, we both opened our respective doors (which face each other), began to step out, and then stopped abruptly, hands still on our doorknobs, staring at each other. Our eyes locked, and I realized that this was my chance to say something outgoing like, “we don’t seem to run into each other very often, but for the next time we do, my name’s Dave…”. I’m sure the same idea was going through his head, too. Instead, we both said “hey”, dropped our eyes, and I went down the stairs while he waited for his girlfriend, both of us somewhat defeated.
I noticed, even though he was home, that there were 3 days worth of papers stacked up…hmmmm.