Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Here is a brief introduction to my neighbors, or at least the ones I see all the time and who inspire me to write short stories. Before you judge me as a creep, Peeping Tom, Nosy Nora, or any other number of harmful names, let me remind you I don't have TV or internet at my apartment, and many of my neighbors don't have curtains...or these activities occur on the balconies three feet from my bedroom window. All I have to do is sit back and observe.

The Hoarder
One of the more interesting neighbors. Not only is her apartment swimming in piles of random things - a giant kimono on the wall, a collection of scales above the cupboard, papers, dishes, vases - but her outdoor patio is also a mess of plants, furniture, and kitschy statues. As far as I've seen, it's just her and the dog (who shall remain nameless for its privacy). Because we have an unobstructed view of her kitchen and living room, she provides the most convenient entertainment for our apartment.

The TV Junkie
Probably the most mysterious neighbor, s/he/they literally keep the TV on 24/7. In the week and a half we've been here, I think I've seen it off once. Otherwise I get to see pieces of America's Got Talent, CSI, Dora, Judge Judy...all closed captioned, all the time. But I never see any people. One night I was convinced Extreme Hoarders was on and I about peed myself. The TV Junkie and the Hoarder live right next to each other. True love?

The Exotic Gardener
I don't see these neighbors often, but they must go out on their balcony sometime to tend to the exotic garden growing there. They have patio furniture too, but its hard to spot among the bamboo shoots and blossoming vines all over.

The Honeymooners
I recently discovered these neighbors, despite their location directly across from my bedroom. I first assumed it was a guy, maybe several, since they seemed to be having a typical Chicago bro party the night we moved in (drinking beer on a balcony with a bunch of dudes = Chicago), and I began wondering how to make friends with them in time for football season. I found out the other day this may not be the case. I came home to find a guy sitting on his balcony underneath a woman, who was straddling him. They were making out pretty passionately until they realized I was in my bedroom literally three feet away. Then they went inside. It happened again last night--they were laughing and talking on the balcony, then it got quiet and I looked out to see him standing, holding her. She had her legs wrapped around him...and again, it wasn't long before they went inside. I guess I would feel less like a creep if I knew their names, but then again, if they are comfortable, who am I to feel weird? Human connection is a basic need.

The Circus Troupe
These people live on the south side of us, in a 3-story building set back from our street to give them a front yard complete with a pine tree and a small flowering garden. There is also a patch of yard that is more dirt than grass, and this is where one of the tenants practices his flaming baton routing. He keeps the batons unlit and goes over his routine several times each day. Okay, so that doesn't make all the tenants (or even him) part of a traveling circus, but I have also seen a girl wearing a dress and hat with feathers on it, so it could be true.

The Hipsters
This group lives directly below us, on the first and garden levels of our building. Technically they are two groups, but I have yet to fully delineate who lives on which level. My biggest interaction with any of them is if they are on the front porch when I leave or come home. They are either sketching, smoking, or just porch sitting.

And those are my neighbors. These observations make me wonder what they think of our apartment. Are we just the new girls right now? The crazy Germans? We don't have curtains either, so I'm sure they've seen/heard some interesting things.


  1. good humour, good time for you, and good work on not technically peeping and yet still peeping.

  2. This is amazing. I thoroughly can relate and enjoyed ..the honeymooners and the hoarder ! I was thinking about your last paragraph tooo.. It would be interesting if they are noticing you as well !

  3. I thought you were "the hipster" ;)

  4. I like your stories. Life in the big city. Too bad you don;t have a granny to watch you.