Wave at a neighbor, get a stare in response

stick figure waving

Yeah. Not my neighbor.

So I’m driving through my apartment complex the other morning, and I happen to pass my downstairs neighbor, who’s sitting on his front porch reading the paper.

I smile and give him a friendly wave … and he simply glares as I drive past.

No reciprocal wave. No nod of acknowledgment. Just an scrunch-lipped scowl as I cruise into the distance.

This isn’t an isolated incident. I drive past my neighbor at least three times a week. Each time I wave, and each time he stares.

Truthfully, we don’t know each other well … though I do think we exchanged pleasantries once. I asked him if he could help me carry my groceries upstairs, and he asked me if I could go screw myself.

And I don’t always wave when I see him. When he’s holding the paper in front of his face, he’s not aware of passing traffic. And if he’s bending over to retrieve the paper, with his bare white behind reflecting the morning sun … well, I find it best to avert my gaze, to avoid the blinding glare.

So sure, it’s not like we’re best friends or even acquaintances. All we have in common is that we live in this crummy complex (which might suggest that neither of us has any ambition, either).

But still. The guy knows I live in the building. He sees me driving every day. I’m pretty sure he knows what unit I’m in. Yet he can’t find it within himself to acknowledge my existence.

So much for trying to instill a sense of community in this disintegrating shit hole. The last time a bunch of freaks lived so closely together, they pitched a tent and started a circus. And yet my neighbors can’t even wave.

It concerned me at first when my neighbor ignored me. I’m a hypochondriac, you see, and oftentimes I leap to the worst-possible conclusion.

“Maybe I’m dead and don’t even know it,” I thought. “You know, like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. Maybe that terrible case of acid reflux I had seven years ago was actually a violent heart attack, and I died in my sleep without knowing it. And maybe I’ve been a wandering spirit all this time, invisible to the physical world and stuck wearing the same clothes every day. Makes sense. That would explain why my downstairs neighbor won’t wave at me … and also why women walk away when I ask them for their number. (Unless, of course, they’re repulsed by me wearing the same clothes every day. Note to self: Buy a change of clothes.)”

Or maybe the reason is more benign. Maybe the world is simply devolving into a miserable, hellish cesspool of human scum, where a man will stab his brother for a loaf of bread, and where a woman will call her sister “fat” in a fit of anger, then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty about it.

Maybe there’s no longer civility in society, and rudeness is now the norm.

I hope so. That would make me feel better. I mean, as opposed to being a ghost and not knowing about it. A degenerating society I can cope with. But if I were a ghost, that would mean I was haunting a crappy apartment when I could be exploring the far reaches of the universe.

And, worst of all, it would mean I was paying rent on something I could be living in for free. (Though I’m sure they’d still find a way to stiff me on the security deposit. “Sorry, sir, but we detected paranormal activity in the dwelling that wasn’t there when you moved in. We reserve the right to withhold your deposit to pay for a spiritual cleansing. It’s all clearly spelled out on page 3,004, clause A-D of your lease.”)

I suppose, though, it’s much more likely that my neighbor’s a jerk … which is why I won’t be waving the next time I see him. Instead, I’ll be glaring back at him with my mouth hanging open, my head stuck out the window.

And as I drive past, I imagine my neighbor will put down his paper and say, “Hey, there’s that self-driving car again.” And then he’ll scrunch up his lips and scowl as I cruise into the distance.

13 comments on “Wave at a neighbor, get a stare in response

  1. I don’t think you need to worry. I’m pretty sure that it’s just society degenerating and so is nothing to do with you being a ghost. Unless, of course, your wrote your post on a ouija board, in which case I’m afraid you’re stone dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, the thing is, I dictated the post into a tape recorder. When I played it back, the voice sounded really faint and whispery. So it’s possible that I captured my own EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon.

      Either that or the microphone was muffled. I could live with *that* explanation. Worst-case scenario, I have to buy a new tape recorder. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really hope you’re not dead. It’ll make it so much harder to buy things in stores because you won’t be able to pick up the money to give to the clerk. Even worse is that you won’t be able to play the record button on your tape recorder and so will have to wait for a bunch of “scientists” from The Discovery Channel to do it for you. Still, you could get your posts on TV that way, which would be pretty cool.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t think about that. If I can’t interact with the surrounding environment, then how am I going to pick up a toothbrush? I don’t want to have to wander in limbo with bad breath.

        And how am I going to pick up the remote control? If I have to haunt this miserable apartment for eternity, then I’ll need the ability to change channels. I don’t want to get stuck watching a never-ending cycle of CSPAN. That’s a more horrifying proposition than paying an eternity’s worth of rent!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It does sound very worrying. You should definitely check with someone whether or not you are in fact deceased. Perhaps you could pick up the phone and call… oh, wait a minute… er, never mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Probably just as well. Even I could pick up the phone, they’d probably put me on hold, anyway. I’m not sure I could stand listening to elevator music for eternity, interspersed with “Your call is very important to us; please continue to hold.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s very true. I’m not even ghosts stick around long enough to get their calls answered once they’ve been put on hold.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Allen, this left me dying with laughter. Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to be insensitive and laugh at your passing. Whether it be in death, or while you were sticking your head out of the window of your car, while glaring out at your rude idiot neighbor as you were getting killed, because your weren’t paying attention to where you were going when you crashed into that eroniously placed apartment complex trash dumpster. But, oh what a way to go! Hey, at least in the end, you probably managed to get your neighbors attention—and without waving. Although, that was probably not your desired intent. Now, I myself might not have thought to go to such extremes to get the attention of a worthless scumbag. But, I’m not practiced in the art of the wave… maybe I should take classes from the Miss America pageant? However, now that you’ve gone on to wave from that big trash dumpster in the sky, I just want you to know, that I’ll never forget you for trying to be a shining example of what a human-being should be—although you are not anymore. Allen, please be assured, that you were a shinning example of how to try and socialize with fellow apartment dwellers who aren’t literally dead yet—although technically, this ass appears to have been. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so good to be remembered … even if it’s for waving at a derelict and doing a face-plant in an ill-placed Dumpster. I suppose there are worse ways to go … like being dragged to a Michael Bolton concert and being crushed by a herd of adoring, middle-aged fans … or being forced to watch “Dead Poets Society” 20 consecutive times with my eyes taped open.

      I just hope my neighbor appreciates the lengths I went to be … well, neighborly. And really, landing in a Dumpster was the ideal ending for a cheapskate like me. It’s not the most dignified ending, perhaps, but look at the money saved! (But with landfill fees these days, it’s probably not that much.)


  3. So you’ve come to the conclusion that either your neighbor is a jerk or you’re a ghost. Maybe it’s both. You’ve gone to hell, which is where all the nasty neighbors are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not only the nasty neighbors, but the grease on the stovetops that never comes out. That’s perhaps the most sinister and terrifying evil in this desolate nightmare.

      The biggest blotch, I’m thinking, must have come from a Hamburger Helper meal gone awry in 1974.

      And pulling back the stove reveals the worst, nightmarish cesspool imaginable — a hell so horrifying and awful, even the custodial staff jumped backward when confronted by its nastiness.


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