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Neighbors

Neighbors! An almost extinct species. At least, the ones I used to know when, as a kid I was pushing my red bike on the pavement in front of my apartment building with one hand while eating the fresh end of the bread with jam with the other hand.

The neighbors were Tanti Maria from the first floor who used to make us lollypop candy out of burnt sugar; the neighbors were Andreea and Emilia with whom I used to exchange the doubles of my napkins collection; the neighbors were Nenea Sandu from the ground floor who could never come out of the house but who used to stay in his window all day long couching our games and furies; neighbors were all those people saying “Hello!” even to us, the snot-nose kids, and those who left the checkers game on the bench in front of the building and rushed to help Gherasim , the new neighbour, push his couch up the stairs.

Neighbors were … beautiful. Old, young, fat , tall, bearded or bald…they were beautiful.

Time, times and facts gave birth to a new species. The surrogate neighbors. Tanti Maria was replaced by a naturally born upset wife with a sharp look, voice and attitude. Andreea and Emilia are those two dolls whose blonds curls and parents’ ambition must transform them into models. They don’t have time for napkins… “Good Day!” is obsolete, unuseful and not cool at all.

The gypsy tune that starts with “of” and “aoleu” and ends with thousands of euros is the key element for the inter-floor relationship. It might have given birth to beautiful friendships, drunken parties or fights, richly spiced up with swear words, but the tune remains an important social fact. As important as the entrance door that must be made out of metal and with at least three locks, as important as the windows that must be termopan and embellished with vertical blinds, as important as the car that must be financially overweight, as important as the teacher from the third floor who must necessarily be “Mrs. Teacher” and, last but not the least, as important as the policeman from the second floor with the pretense of a law school graduate and airs of a tribe leader who says when, where, and why or why not you qualify for being accepted by the crowd and by himself as well. And on top of all these, an intimidating attitude and few ounces of impertinence (even more if your consciousness can afford it) guarantee the success.

I don’t know why I left so far away. Maybe I got intimidated. Maybe I was just afraid I would disappoint my fellow people by not being able to align my reality to theirs.

The thing is that without waiting too much, I found myself punched right in my nose by a brand new reality. And by new neighbors. The “Beings” neighbors. I named them Beings because they just…are. I wouldn’t go that far to say they… exist because that implies more than the simple status of being a being. I share the livable space  with them. I’ve tried sharing a story, a good laugh or my delicious waffle cake with them but… Nothing! BEINGS have no curiosities, no questions, no frustrations, no desires, no indiscretions, no thoughts… I share the same space with people with no thoughts. I’ve tried to launch a thought or at least half of one (anything would have been good) by pushing the thoughts button of one of the neighbors. Nothing! I’ve tried again this time with extra politeness and some Poiana chocolate, highly admired by any mortal American. Nothing! “Maybe she doesn’t speak English, as she’s Asian”, I thought. “I should try some smiling as it is so very in fashion here anyway“. I quickly mount a large smile on my face, from one ear to the other one and I spell an even nicer “H-e-l-l-o!” out for her. I got a cute reaction from the bunny living in a luxury bunny apartment on the patio of the neighbor across the street. But that was all!

I changed neighbors; I forgot to change myself. I forgot to want less, to expect nothing and to not hope for anything.

2 Comments

  1. Dana says:

    In primul rand tin sa te felicit ca “ti-ai tras blog” si in al doilea rand sa iti spun ca am ramas uimita de cat de bine scrii.
    Nu am mai citit niciodata ceva scris de tine,dar ai intr-adevar talent gazetaresc.Eu nu sunt in stare sa leg doua cuvinte,dar mai sa scriu articole la un asa nivel.
    Am citit acest articol ca pe o poveste si desi pare banal,am trait o mie de emotii.
    La inceput mi-au dat lacrimile cand am vezut expresia”paine unsa cu gem”,pentru ca pentru mine inseamna acasa.Dupa ce am tras o portie de plans,m-am consolat cu gandul ca si eu aici “vecini” din aceia.
    Cand ne-am mutat aici si noi aveam toate intentiile bune de pe pamant si zambete peste zambete.Acum am facut riduri la cat de incruntati stam si nici nu ne mai obosim sa deschidem gura pentru un amarat de “buongiorno”.
    Si noi am ramas cu un gust amar cand am vazut ca unii vecini pur si simplu intorceau capul in cealalta parte cand treceam pe langa ei,sau fugeau sa se ascunda in apartament numai sa nu ne intalneasca.Poate avem noi ceva si nu stim inca…..
    De salutat nu saluta,dar sunt curiosi sa vada cam tu cu viata ta ce faci.Si asa au gasit metoda ideala: lansatul lenjeriei si a altor obiecte vestimentare pe sarma din balconul meu:))
    Metoda e asta:mai intai lanseaza obiectul,apoi fuga suna la usa ta sa te roage frumos sa ii inapoiezi bunul,iar in timp ce tu esti ocupata sa ii prinzi soseata ea/el isi baga capul pe usa sa surprinda cat mai multe cadre,ca sa aiba ce povesti apoi.
    Asa ca draga mea concluzia e ca “vecinii” sunt la fel peste tot.

    1. Bobiţa says:

      Dana, sigur ca nu pot decat sa simt pentru tine acelasi lucru pe care il simt pentru mine, in relatia cu unii dintre vecini, si chiar in relatia cu cei care ies din sfera acestei categorii. Oamenii sunt oameni peste tot, e un adevar pe care l-am invatat ajunsa aici si avand sansa sa vizitez cateva tari europene. Iar, in America, chiar poate mai acut decat oriunde. Pentru ca cei de aici isi cladesc relatiile cu cei din jur in baza a ceea ce simt in momentul contactului cu persoana respectiva, nicidecum moderati de vreun sentiment de politete sau curtoazie. Pe principiul “azi am chef de tine, suntem prieteni, maine sunt in dispozitie proasta, nu te mai salut”. Sigur ca nu sunt toti asa, am in jurul meu si oameni asa cum mi-am dorit. Dar, daca e sa dau un sfat, cu prima categorie cred ca trebuie procedat la fel cum procedeaza ei. Badaranului trebuie sa-i vorbesti pe limba lui. Sa auzim numai de bine!

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