Neighborly Neighbors

Because I'm living a fairly actionless life, I kind of like the un-private drama of living in an apartment complex. Sharing walls with strangers makes their ordinary sounds into my own little speculative mysteries. Maybe the couple downstairs isn't a couple at all-- maybe she's being held hostage and that's why their words are clipped and pained. Maybe the man in the basement apartment who apologizes every time his thin and frenzied German Shepherd jumps on me is really a CIA agent and that's why he needs a huge dog. I see this neighbor at 11 in the morning, in a short sleeve off-white business shirt and tie, walking his canine, and I think, that is definitely a secret agent man. Little does he know, I'm also a spy up here on my third floor roost.

Luckily the walls are thick. I can hear the evening movements of my backdoor neighbor because my windows are open and I'm laying on a low couch drifting between reading, napping, and eavesdropping. (Which is fitting, since I'm literally the definition of this word- sitting under the eaves in a room onto which water drips.) I like the word eavesdrop. It sounds innocent. I've never really felt bad eavesdropping- if I can hear it, I should have a right to listen.

Sidenote about eaves dripping:

The note-so-nice neighbors did give me a little neighborly caveat the other day:

Don't put ANYTHING next to the windows in your living room. The sap from the trees out front drips onto everything in August and you can't get it off.

My feet feel like I slid through maple syrup if I walk too close to the window. Teenie got a whole wad of it tangled up in her hair and spent an entire movie picking it out and saying, "I can't believe there's still more of it in there!"

My car door feels like someone smeared a package of Starburst on the side and let it sit in the sun all day, and if you walk out front in flipflops, the ground pulls them right off your feet.

Right now, the neighbor whose kitchen shares a wall with mine, is (hopefully) finishing washing the dishes. I hope he/she is finishing because they've been at it at their sink for over half an hour. There's a steady stream of faucet water being obstructed by hands and china, and behind the shuuuush of water going into the drain is the plunking and clattering of plates, glasses, and silverware being shelved. The water turns off every now and then and I can even hear the soft padding of hands on a dishtowel.

I wonder why this person has no other person talking to them or helping them. Why doesn't he turn on some music? I almost want to call out through my window, "How's the dishwashing going?" just so he/she doesn't seem so lonely.  Then I realize maybe it's my own loneliness I've been listening to.

One last piece of porcelain just made two terminal clangs-- one, when my stranger's hands put it down, and the other, like it had fallen over on the wire drying rack. I feel like I got something done, like I should wipe my hands off on my thighs, once one way, then once the other, like "That's it. Dishes are done."

A sneeze, which felt wierdly intimate. Soft footsteps toward away. A breeze pushing through sappy leaves on its way down from cobalt clouds. This is how my Sunday night sounds.