Welcome to the neighbourhood
So, I've just moved into my new apartment a few weeks ago. You know, just in case you missed the 53689 stories I've posted on Instagram celebrating every inconsequential milestone. "Sofa's in!" "Here are my plants!"
Amongst discovering the many joys of our new home, I've also stumbled upon a new - for the lack of a better word - pastime: neighbour-watching. You see, I have a cosy balcony that gives me a rather uninterrupted and surprisingly intimate view into the day-to-day of my unsuspecting neighbours.
So far, I know who's hanging in there solo; who's managed to sneak in friends on weekends; who seems to be perpetually yapping away on a Zoom call; who sometimes works. I might already even have nicknames for them. Disclaimer: I don't actively look, but it's quite hard not to, especially when I'm camped out on my balcony (aka. makeshift home office) most days.
One day, as I was waiting for my lift back from a grocery run, I bumped into one of my neighbours. He was wearing a mask, as is everyone these days, but I got the sense that this was "guy-who-is-forever-on-a-Zoom-call." Behind my mask, he seemed to recognise me too.
"Hey, you're the girl that's always working on the balcony!"
I half-laughed it off, joked about having no space in the studio for a proper workstation.
He continued, "I recognise the elephant pants. Interesting choice."
I wasn't quite sure what to make out of "interesting choice", but all of a sudden I felt a little judged, a little invaded (I'm obviously well aware of the hypocrisy here, yes).
I couldn't think of an appropriate comeback, so all I said was, "Yeah well, cool. Hope you're enjoying those long Zoom calls."
The next day, as I settled into my balcony-slash-workstation again, I noticed he had his blinds shut. And it remained shut for the rest of the week.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, I guess.