“I Wish She Would Shut Up!” And 5 Other Things My Neighbors Probably Thought About Me This Past Week

November 2, 2012  |  

"Woman thinking-PF"

Let me just explain my living situation for a minute. I live in New York City with my younger sister, in an overpriced, one bedroom apartment, with paper thin walls. No exaggeration on that paper thin detail. When my neighbors sneeze, I say bless you. Well, that’s not entirely true, when my neighbors sneeze or cough I hold my breath, trying not to expose myself to the germs floating through the vent. Once I feel it’s safe to breathe, I ask myself, why are these mugs always sick?! (Turns out they smoke. That smoker’s phlegm is no joke.) Point is, based on what I’m able to hear through these paper thin walls, I make up all kinds of short stories about who these people are, what they do for a living and particularly, what they did this past week, while much of New York City was trapped indoors while Sandy wreaked havoc outside and on the subway system. While I was crafting a life for my neighbor, a life complete with a demanding boyfriend and a cat who often tired of her baby voice, I’m sure, based on what they were hearing, they were assuming quite a bit about me as well, .

She must be auditioning for American Idol

Just because I can hold a semblance of a note, was enrolled in choir in middle school, and generations of women in my family have sung in church choirs around the world, I view singing as less of a fun, little hobby but more of a birthright. While I never considered singing professionally, when I open my iTunes library, I become an artist, vying for my moment in the limelight. I give passionate performances. Eyes closed, fingers gripping my laptop as I sway, in rhythm from side to side, I’m committed. And like any good performer, I’ve mastered the art of projection. So even if the notes are a little… off, you’ll certainly be able to hear me at the back of the auditorium…or in this case the other side of the building. I know my neighbors have thought for some time, that I’m living in New York trying to be discovered. Perhaps, in the past few months, they assumed that I’d finally gotten the message and given up on my dream Nope. I was just busy working my other real job. In my additional free time this week, my neighbors surely learned that not only had I not stopped singing, I was determined to make up for lost time.

There’s a small child living in that apartment

I could spend months watching movies all day, every day. I love a good story, heck even a not so great story. I just want someone to tell me one. So I’ll watch just about anything. My all time favorites are romantic comedies; but tied for a close second are movies from my childhood, or movies meant for a young audience. So this week, while I was in the house, I found myself watching kid movie after kid movie, Hocus Pocus, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and a couple of others made the cut. My laptop speakers aren’t fabulous but they’re good enough for my neighbors to assume I was trying to entertain a small child for an extended period…no, just me and my 20-something year old sister.

"Young people dancing"

She’s hosting a rave

Anyone who has studied Beyoncé will tell you that much of the appeal behind her performances comes from the conviction with which she delivers her choreography. And since I already have the vocals down, it only makes sense that the next logical step would be to add a couple of dance moves to the mix. So last night, once I felt the spirit move, I shoved my laptop to the side, jumped up and danced, like there was no tomorrow. The only difference between me and Beyoncé was that her moves are carefully orchestrated, while mine were more like erratic, jumping, flailing, kicking motions. Unfortunately, the choreography was too much for my sister and I had to dance alone. But I was doing so much that I’m sure it sounded like I was throwing the flyest Hurricane survival party Harlem had ever heard.

"Couple arguing pf"

She’s in an unhappy marriage

My sister and I argue like most siblings but our disagreements usually last 2 minutes before one of us is laughing at the other’s nonsense. This week was really no different– except spending day after day in the house with each other, we argued more intensely about what we always argue about: the dishes. My sister and I have been hand washing dishes for the past 15 years, when my dad decided he wasn’t going to fix our broken dishwasher, probably because in a house full of women, he rarely washed his own. But I digress. Our agreement is that the person who cooks doesn’t have to wash dishes. We stuck to that plan but somehow things got a bit muddled and almost every evening, we were asking whose turn it was. Every night we presented our arguments as to why it wasn’t our turn. You know what they say, one of the strongest points of contention in a marriage is chores. To the untrained ear, we probably sounded like a couple on the verge of a much needed separation.

She’s poor and starving, but somehow has enough money for weed

You can probably tell from this subtitle that this one is just too strange to be made up. On Tuesday night, in preparation for our Halloween party, my sister and I ventured outside to the grocery store. When we got back into our apartment building, there was a barefoot woman standing in the hallway, holding a plate wrapped in aluminum foil. Initially, she gave us the stink eye, but eventually softened her expression once she realized we really did live there. Then she wanted to engage in small talk. She offered us the plate she was holding, peeling the foil back to reveal some type of unappetizing pasta. We declined at least 3 times before she relented. Then as we made our way upstairs, she followed behind us, asking if smoked weed. At first I misunderstood her. I thought she said did we smell weed. There’s often someone lighting up in my building so I just said yes. Then as I replayed her question in my head, I realized she thought we were the cheefers. I had to correct her, “No, that’s not us.” How did we go from two women in need of food to two women who sit up in the house smoking weed all day? Strange things.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com


People care about her

If there were one bright side to the storm, it was that I got to talk to so many of my family members and friends. My sister tells me that I talk pretty loudly when I’m on the phone so certainly my neighbors heard me telling dozens of concerned family members that my sister and I were in no immediate danger and no we didn’t need to evacuate. I always hear from my family, but rarely back to back like that. Even though I sing off key and stomp annoyingly on the floor, my neighbors know that the crazy girl in apartment 4E is loved.

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  • KJ23

    My desk is set up right next to my window and I always wonder what my neighbors think when they drive by and when I’m taking a break from writing and start dancing and singing to songs on Youtube in front of the window.

  • MLS2698

    So, you weren’t smoking the weed? * wink *

    • vwells1

      Lol nope. No wink necessary there was no smoking going on.

      • MLS2698

        I believe you. Just kidding.