Neighbors, Liars, & Story Bearers

October 19 – October 25

Wednesday of the week hadn’t even passed when the such occurred:

  • My year anniversary at my work
  • National Writing Day (October 20th)
  • Having two of my essays rejected from a live reading and subsequent publication
  • Awkwardly attending the HOA meeting for my apartment building.

In that last instance, it didn’t help that my two neighbors on our side of the ground floor darted up the stairs at the same time. Would it look bad that I hadn’t gone too? Did everyone else? It would look suspicious is what.

In fact, as the only tenant present, I still looked suspicious.

Why does so much damn suspicion have to arise?? Strangers are abound in big cities. We’re not really afraid of them, and nor do we care to make friends. Everyone that I’ve known who’s ever moved to a new city has been guilty of posting the never-failing “In town– hit me up” status for all to see. A shame no one really wants strangers. They give excellent stories– keep you on your toes. I hope my dear friends take no offense when I say now that nothing I’ve ever written has ever been based upon them, because all the things I know about them, all that they’ve told me– well those are their stories, aren’t they?

I make it a goal to encounter new faces and their uncharted territory of the past– what I don’t know already about completely new people that, as little or grand our encounters may be, are forever and instantly a part of my little life. Even better, is when they arise from the most unexpected places and moments. Fast forward to the weekend, and I make a full recovery from the strange occasion of the HOA meeting. A party, a dark part of 24th Street still dancing with resident ruffians and chain smokers standing at the stairs of the apartment, and a new face who happened to be the birthday girl and hostess. This night seemed to be the perfect pool to dive in for these stories; I’m still looking for ways to make use of the Donald Trump pinata being beaten on the street to a pulp, dangling on a line from my friend’s apartment window and soon gushing open with goodies that anyone my age would take for nothing: cigarettes, mini scotch bottles, bubble gum. And even that was just the shallow end of the night’s pool.

I met the guy in the kitchen, but we had stood shoulder to shoulder as we watched Trump being smashed by the birthday girl and other guests. He’d only come with his friend who was the ex of my friend’s former roommate (who needs Hinge?); towards 3 AM me and this Premier League devotee and Twitter-bashing compatriot had already agreed to meet up another time in the near future. Some drinks in the Mission, we both loved that neighborhood. Another kiss perhaps. We both had really liked that.

Here I’ve bared with you a story of my own, taken from no one and only lived by my own example made in the moment. And I could only wish that in the instance of this unlikely yet oddly Millennial fairy tale, a happy ending could come from it. As a Millennial’s tale, it’s still being lived– the happy ending is what’s we twenty-somethings hope is the end goal to all this nonsense, to moving out to big cities and putting ourselves among strangers be it next door or on the bus or as they kiss you one last time before your Uber pulls up. Only twice has he and I kept in touch– nothing genuine, nothing charming– here was just a frog who’d hopped off and back into the shallowness of this cesspool of a city that I love so much yet resent for all its dead ends. The liars of the bunch, where their stories are nothing short of just making themselves interesting to hook you in for nothing that is really there, nothing for you at least– as a writer, a single woman, a curious soul in search of a possible new adventure in which to enjoy this city all over again to overlook its faults.

I wish I could spare my neighbors from this realization. But, my smiles and readiness to talk about the resolved leaks from my unit did nothing to prepare me for the week to follow, the Monday after I had held my Halloween party well stocked with “Thriller” on repeat and excess bottles of Newcastle that made their way onto the curb of the apartment. The Monday after when one of these bottles from the gutter had made its way to my front door out of thin air, empty and dirt covered and a reminder that in that building, eyes are watching.

And so the suspicion lives on.


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