Friday, November 2, 2007

boxes and neighbors

I've been trying to have the post office redeliver a package this entire week. I'm not home during the day and while I left notes to try the super, he hasn't been available. I've come home every day to find nothing on my doorstep.

I opened my door this evening, thinking how tomorrow I'm going to have to drive on over to the post office when I see a note from one of my neighbors stating that she has the package.

Well that's nice! It's also surprising. Then I realize why this older woman who lives on the second floor took the time and energy to climb up two more flights of stairs to leave me a note: I helped her with her bags. I remember her reaction. She really looked at me for a good while, asked my name and gave me hers. She was thankful. She also seemed surprised. Maybe none of our neighbors had offered to help her in a while.

In this city I live in talking to your neighbors is an anachronism. I guess helping them out with bags is as well.

Her note spiraled another thought: picking up the package. Would she invite me in? Would I be offered a drink? This thought made me think about how there was a time that inviting your neighbors in was expected, the polite thing to do. I thought about the state of my own apartment. Oh no, I could never invite someone in spontaneously.

Growing up, my mother kept the house tidy. While she gave me a hard time about making my bed, she wasn't aggressive about making me clean my room. It wasn't messy to begin with, but I actually think she cleaned it for me up until I moved out. I did go through a period of time when I lived with my grandparents where I kept my room disorganized and went through a long postponed teenage rebellion, but once I lived out on my own, I tended to keep things tidy.

And then I moved here. This place is larger than the studio apartment I lived in a few years ago, but a lot smaller than the two bedroom duplex I came from. I forgot how quickly a small apartment can go from tidy to messy. Leave a plate, some mail and bags on a counter and it goes downhill. A little more effort is required to keep stuff under control.

So there I was, note in hand, thinking that I need to clean this place more often. I want be ready should I like to invite someone in.

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