I’d Rather Not Be Afraid Of My Neighbors [Friday Thoughts W/ TeeCoZee]

Good Moleman. ‘Tis a fine barn, but sure it is no pool, English. It’s Friday, August 9th, Two Thousand and Nineteen. The weather in Brooklyn is 78˚ & Pantone 16-4032 and somewhere, somebody is spinning around in a chair. They go and go and go and yet, they still can’t get inspired. When the world’s a blur, there’s nothing about it that sticks out. How can something be profound when the thinker doesn’t stop to observe it? This clearly isn’t an effective method for coming up with a dog food sales pitch. Nor is it a good use of a lunch break. But boy, it sure is fun! And me? I do laundry whenever I get writers block. The key is to not spin yourself, but rather watch your formal external self spin. And because of that, I also have some things on my mind.

– Today marks the 20 year anniversary of Burger King’s current logo. Why do I remember that? Because the commercial aired during Monday Night Raw. Why do I remember that? Because it was the episode that saw the debut of Chris Jericho. Why do I remember that? Because I watched it in a hotel room in Bloomington, Minnesota. Why do I remember that? Because for a month before that, there was a cryptic countdown clock in between commercial breaks. I was extremely hyped for whatever the hell it was going to be, but in the back of my mind I was worried that I would miss it due to being on family vacation. We went to the Mall of America. Why do I remember that? Because I played Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. Why do I remember that? Because it was the first time I laid eyes on a Sega Dreamcast. Why do I remember that? Because it was the day they unveiled the new Burger King logo. Duh. Everybody knows that.

– I was at a Dunkin’ Donuts this morning because I’m an adult. I can build a healthy tolerance to caffeine. You can’t stop me. There was a teenage girl there, waiting for a bagel. She was swigging a bottle that was obviously a Seagrams Wine Cooler. There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, she’s in a place that is known for serving bevs and yet she brought her own bev. That’s offensive right off the bat. Secondly, I had no idea that Seagrams Wine Coolers still existed. I thought that went out of style with hemp necklaces, MTV and “having a good time”. But then again, maybe none of those things went out of style. They just changed, morphed to keep up with the times. But why is she drinking at a Dunkin’ Donuts and why is she doing so at 11:49 AM? On top of that, she was most definitely on her way to work…as a day camp counselor. I’m not at all worried about the well-being of the kids. They can take care of themselves. I’m moreso worried about the girl. What did those kids do to her? What happened that would drive a young soul to this? Is her job really so bad that she feels the need to be slightly buzzed off of fermented tropical punch in order to get through it? Is she looking for a way out or a way in? I’m probably looking too far into this. I’ve dwelled on it for too long. I was to blind to see that the only writing on the wall, the only thing to read in between the lines was, “It’s Friday, bitches”. Indeed it is. Drink on, young camp counselor. The kids are alright.

– My next door neighbors must really hate me. I hoot and holler at Dodger games during the wee hours of the night. I always burn the pan when I cook. In the morning, I have constant loud cough attacks. And socially, I’m definitely not anything that would be defined as “friendly”.

The truth is, they frighten me. They’re extremely tall and seemingly way cooler than me. They have big dogs and are clearly into industrial music. They do cool shit that I’ll never know about. Have cool meetings with cool people. Drink beverages that I can’t pronounce and read magazines that you can’t find in stores. Whenever I see them in passing, I psyche myself out. I don’t know what to say to them. Would they respond to a nod/hello/passive wave or do they want complete sentences? Will they judge me if I swear? Chide me if I don’t swear enough? By the time I resolve to say anything at all, the moment has passed and we exchange no words. I’ve been battling this since the day I moved in and I see them every. Single. Day.

Last week, we ended up on the same train on the way home. Not in the same car, I made sure of that. But I knew that if we were heading to the same place, there would have to be an exchange of some sort, maybe a chuckle about how we always run into each other, some comment about Ozzy Osbourne or who knows what else. It was something that I wasn’t prepared to do. So when we got off the train, I did what any good New Yorker would do: I tried to beat them home. But of course, they’re extremely tall and walk fast. And I’m not in great shape. In effect, I was out of breath and only 100 yards ahead of them. When I got to the door, they were just entering the courtyard. If I was to hold the door for them, I would be waiting a good 20 seconds. I don’t know what the distance cutoff is for that courtesy. If I held the door, it would seem askew that I was in such a hurry to get to the door and then suddenly taking my time. Would it seem too deliberate? I had to act quick. They probably didn’t even see me. I just went right inside. But now there’s the elevator. By the time it got downstairs, they were already in the building. So I decided that I would definitely hold the door for them. That’s the obvious thing to do. But they went straight to the mailbox. On a Sunday. They didn’t even acknowledge that I was waiting for them. After 20 awkward seconds, they still hadn’t turned away from the mailbox. And I realized that I still haven’t said a word to them. They don’t even know I exist. I don’t matter. I am invisible. I can do whatever I want.

So I took the elevator up without them and get hit with a sinking feeling. I am the worst. I totally exist and I did a shitty thing. We live in a society and I can’t do whatever I want. I did an unspeakable thing. This is why they’re cool and I’m a mere dork. When I fumbled with my keys to unlock the door, two pairs of long legs came stomping up the stairs. We didn’t lock eyes. We didn’t say a word. My next door neighbors must really hate me.

– I caught a couple in mid-conversation on the street. Because “the street” is where most conversations happen. The guy was clearly flabbergasted by something and the girl was mildly interested. They are definitely on one of their first dates and the guy just isn’t quite sure how to act, nor does he know how to tell a story [kind of like me]. He elaborated, “it must’ve been like 20,000. It was ridic–” and then he stopped himself. He knows “ridiculous” is not the right word to use. He needs to come up with something different, something better. He needs a word that’s going to knock it out of the park. Something to make up for the sub-par luncheon. He was quick on his feet and without missing a beat, he corrected himself, “–it was retarded”. She was unfazed. Bravo, random guy on a date. Take a bow. You got the goods.

– Football season is coming up soon. I know this because I taste a subtle hint of puke in my mouth. As I sat at the laundromat, I wondered how Giants fans would react to the absence of traded wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. And then I took a look around. There was a guy sitting across the street in an OBJ jersey. The lady sitting next to me was wearing an OBJ shirsey. And hanging up behind the glass counter, there was a throwback ’90s OBJ jersey waiting to be dry cleaned. I guess nobody cares or even noticed that he’s gone. That’s just the life of being a Giants fan. Never living in the present, but still succeeding every now and then. They are the antithesis of tragic fandom. I don’t know how they do it.

– There was a guy painting the walls in the lobby just now. As I waited for the elevator, a guy walked by him in a white jumpsuit. He was not there to paint the walls. He was just dressed in high fashion. While the painter’s jumpsuit cost $2.49 at the Army Navy Surplus, the other one probably cost $249 at Opening Ceremony. Neither of them wore it well.

Try this trick over the weekend: have a conversation with your neighbors on the elevator. It beats the hell out of staring at the floor, wishing you had taken the stairs. And it would also detract from the fact that your fly is unzipped.

Have an XYZ weekend, everyone!

– TeeCoZee