Mr. Wilson

The attorney moved.  Yes, the attorney has a name, but I think that I lived here for a year before I knew it or that we had really talked.  His acquisition of a dog forced him to be more social.  I have no pets.

I moved into my apartment in April of 2006.  I was still engaged in an unnecessarily messy divorce, trying to sell my house in Shaker, and preparing for two weeks in Australia.  Did I mention that I moved in the day before Passover?  Lots and lots of stress.  I didn’t have the time for anyone else’s drama.

I wasn’t mean or rude.  I acknowledged people I passed in the hallway or saw on the elevator with a nod or a smile.  I spoke when spoken to.  I didn’t initiate any conversations.  I wanted to be left alone.

I was accosted by the elderly couple from across the hall.  I had lived in the Hamptons for about two months.

What’s your name?

Dave Cunix

Are you Catholic?

No, I’m Jewish.

You can’t be Jewish. You aren’t friendly enough to be Jewish!

I checked my doorpost – Mezuzah.  His – none.  I guess his previous Jewish neighbors had brought him cookies.  I don’t know.  He and his wife were gone soon enough and the unit has had three different tenants since.  I’ve yet to deliver cookies to any of them.

The confrontation got me thinking.  Do I have a social responsibility to befriend every tenant passing through this floor?  What about the blond who hasn’t discovered the dryer’s lint filter?  How about the yahoo who doesn’t take the shopping carts back to the basement?  I would like to pick and choose where and when I relinquish my last bit of privacy.

The attorney was a mutual choice.  We talked.  We went to a couple of ballgames.  We occasionally hung out.  And now he is moving.  He purchased a nearby condo.  He is hoping for a fresh start and equity, two things a new residence could provide.

Four years here.  Four buildings.  Number of people living here that I know well – less than four.  This is not a complaint.  It is probably more of a subconscious than an intentional choice.  I prefer my home to be peaceful.  I feel compelled, at times, to eliminate disruptions.

Define disruptions?  An infant in the whirlpool?  That’s a disruption.  A teenager arguing with his girlfriend? That’s a disruption.  Someone leaving clothes in the washer or dryer for an hour or two?  Crap, I’ve become Mr. Wilson.

Oh well.  The attorney is only moving down the street.  I will eventually talk to a couple more residents.  Hell, I may even bake cookies.

2 thoughts on “Mr. Wilson

  1. I love it, Dave. You’ve more or less described me to a t. Or is that tea, or tee? I love my privacy too. I think the thing with me is that I’m not home enough to get committed to my neighbors and surveying the landscape there would appear to be only one or two neighbors who even fit my demographic. On occasions when we have got together with the friendly neighbors to my right, we’ve had a great time and said we need to do this more. But we don’t.

    It’s an interesting question as to whether apartment living gives one an even easier way to stay detached. I somewhat doubt it. Successful detachment depends on how well one works at it. Just as successful attachment takes work too.

  2. There are five other apartments in my wing on this floor. I don’t know the names of any of the current occupants. All of the units have had at two or three new tenants since I moved in. If it stays quiet and nice here, I may see a dozen more come and go. How much should one invest in so temporary a relationship?

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