Tuesday, December 18, 2007

carlos and desiree

“Carlos and Desiree dropped off a bunch of cardboard boxes outside my door,” I told AK. “They are so nice!”

“They’re like your new best friends,” she observed. “You’ve mentioned them like 20 times.”

Who are Carlos and Desiree, you ask? They’re my new neighbors at my soon-to-be old apartment building. They’re a young couple with two cute little boys. We’ve talked twice now, and they’ve been friendly.

But to be perfectly honest, there’s nothing inherently that special about them.

As AK and Alberto prepare to vacate their current house, there’s been lots of wistful reminiscing about the good times they’ve had together. Alberto and his girlfriend Veronica nuzzle AK’s cat endlessly, and though Ferdinand is not a nuzzler by nature, even he seems emotional.

Meanwhile, after two years of happily living alone, I’m suddenly sad that I live alone. No one really cares if I get all nostalgic about the time I painted the walls bright blue.

I’ve never made an effort to get to know my neighbors, although I did promise the cosmetology student downstairs she could shampoo my hair, and I did tell my chronically unemployed neighbor I would not pay him $5 to wash my car. I felt like a bitch, but it seemed like a slippery power dynamic I wanted no part of.

Both of them are gone now, as are all but two of the neighbors who lived there when I first moved in. If the row of mailboxes downstairs is any indication, seven of the 12 units are empty, and two people (the ones greeted by metal plates over their mailbox keyholes) may have been evicted.

I don’t want to feel like one more person trudging out of a gloomy place, because my experience was mostly great. It was my first solo apartment. It was cozy and neat and covered in bright blue paint and Japanese postcards. When I parked overnight in the loading zone in front of Aceptamos Estampillas, the owner would tell parking enforcement that I was inside shopping.

I won’t miss the threatening graffiti or the tiny space or the maze of stairs and security doors or the fact that my hot and cold faucets are reversed. But still, it’s been a good building full of good, if sometimes underemployed, people.

So Carlos and Desiree have come to represent way more than two people just trying to get all their shit unpacked should have to represent. The future of Mid-City! A past I can mourn for! As I left for work this morning, I left them a thank-you note on top the row of mailboxes—just for the cardboard boxes. They might get scared if I tried to explain the rest.


jenny said...

So did you ever let her shampoo your hair? That's crossing a neighbor line I never hope to cross.

Congrats on the move!

Cheryl said...

She never took me up on the offer. I can't say that I was too disappointed. But after I turned down the car washer, I felt like I had to say yes.