Since it’s been about 5000 degrees in the shade here in the upper Midwest, I’ve been spending a lot of time around the house. “The house” is actually our dumpy condo. We’ve lived here for just over 12 years and have seen some…um…things. Things that make me wonder if every place is this weird or if we are just “lucky”. Like the people who hate me, the old lady who thought everyone was a communist or a gypsy, or the lady who was led out in cuffs for being a Craigslist prostitute. Oh, you should know, my husband and I nickname everyone and we are not very creative about it.
When we first moved in, we had a neighbor across the hall, Ann (AKA- The Old Lady Across The Hall). She left Czechoslovakia in the 60’s. I am guessing that is the reason she suspected everyone of being a communist, but I’m not sure why she thought everyone was a gypsy. Seriously, every time someone new would move in, she’d corner us by the mailbox and in a conspiratorial voice whisper, “Have you seen the new people? Communists. Gypsies, too, maybe.” One time I asked her how she knew a communist on sight. She gave me a knowing look- like this -and said, “I can tell.”
One evening my husband came in looking slightly traumatized. He said he came up the stairs and saw The Old Lady Across The Hall standing in the middle of the hallway sans top. He said it was like when a naked little kid runs into the room and you have no idea where to look. She said, “Oh, I thought you were my friend, Marie.” She didn’t move, didn’t put her top on. Just stood in the hallway in her bra while my husband fumbled with his keys trying to look every where but at her. A few weeks later, the people kitty corner to us (whose balcony faces our couch) started hanging out on their balcony in their underwear. They were younger, taller and slimmer, but it was like watching an American Apparel ad come to life- very uncomfortable for the viewer.
Underneath the American Apparel People, we have The Dog People. The Dog People hate us because 12 years ago “someone” complained to the office about their dog barking every morning at 5 AM and we got the blame. Okay, it totally was us, but all that happened was the office sent them a letter. They didn’t get a fine or anything. Yet, to this day they hold a grudge about this to the point of going way out of their way to avoid us. If they can’t avoid us, we get death stares, like last week in Target. I won’t lie that it sort of bothers me that people who don’t even know me don’t like me. Once you get to know me, there’s plenty of reasons, but they don’t know any of them. The Dog Man half of Dog People really has a special disdain for me in particular. I ran into him once in the parking area and it was clear he was avoiding me by walking in the grass way out of his way. It started to get to me and I just decided I was going to kill him with kindness. So I yelled, “HI! HOW ARE YOU????” in my loudest, perkiest voice. If there had been a ceiling, Dog Man would have hit it. He mumbled, “Hi…good.” I yelled back, “That’s great!! Merry Christmas!!!” (Ed. note- it actually was Christmas time, I wasn’t shouting random holidays.) He mumbled something and walked very quickly to his door. I giggled about that one for a while. I still do this every so often, but he’s getting a lot faster to the door.
But if you’ve gotten this far, I know you’re really looking for info about the Craigslist prostitute. Okay, she moved in under The Old Lady Across The Hall, who, of course, thought she was a gypsy communist, but we found out she was quite the capitalist (*rimshot* thank you, I’ll be here all week). The first thing I noticed about her, was if I said hello to her, she’d barely acknowledge me, but if my husband said hello she was all smiles. If he said hello and I wasn’t around, she wanted to chat with him all day.
Not. Cool. Since she claimed to be a medical student at Loyola University, I nicknamed her Dr. Ho. Not my most mature nicknaming, but they can’t all be as creative as “Dog Guy”. We started to notice that she was home a lot, even for a student. Her condo faced the parking area and coming in one day, I saw she had moved her bed into her living room right in front of the patio door. “Hmmm…that’s odd,” innocent me thought. But she was weird in other ways, like putting her Halloween decorations up before Labor Day and breaking the washing machine by trying to wash a suitcase in it, so I let it go. It was much harder to ignore the steady stream of sketchy dudes coming and going from her condo. Then one day, the cops came and she was escorted to the county lock up for partaking in the world’s oldest profession. She went to jail for a couple of years and the whole bit.
Last summer we were bringing in groceries and I saw someone a couple of cars down who I thought was our next door neighbor and said hi. The woman said hi back in a, “Why are you talking to me?” kind of way. She started to walk away and whipped back around and said, “I know you! You live upstairs, right?” Then I saw it wasn’t our neighbor, but this woman had bleached blonde hair, super clowny make up (for real, it was some Whatever Happened to Baby Jane stuff) and a too-tight dress. Yep, Dr. Ho was back. She was just visiting apparently. Why did that last sentence conjure up an image of the Monopoly board, “Just Visiting/Jail” corner?
Anyway, I could go on all day with stories. Like how Dog Man flirts with all the older ladies in his building. Or the guys across the hall who look like modern day versions of Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd’s “Two Wild and Crazy Guys”. Or the time I accidentally scared the crap out of the five year old next door. But those are for another day.
Have a great week and thanks for reading!