A small, strange moment last night in my neighborhood
I don’t live in a particularly creepy neighborhood, but it’s a little curious when you get home to your apartment building and see someone staring intently into one of your neighbor’s windows.
I couldn’t tell what the man was looking at since he was trying to peer into one of the upper floors, but he stood stock still in the harsh glare of the security spotlight, looking like he was about to get sucked into a UFO by a tractor beam.
“Excuse me,” I said. He came out of his Close Encounters of the Third Kind stare and I realized I willed myself to say something before I knew what to say. So I went, “Uh … can I help you?” sounding like someone trying not very hard to sell him a television.
“Oh, hi,” he said. Then, realizing why I was approaching, he said, “Oh, I live here. I’m just waiting for my girlfriend to toss some takeout at me.”
“Excuse me?” I asked. “Someone is going to throw dinner at you?”
Just then he looked back up, and out of the glare of the security lamp, I could see the silhouette of a woman’s head poke out from a window. She waved. “Hi, Babe!” she called in a dulcet tone while dangling a package much larger than I am comfortable seeing seven stories above my head.
When she let go of it, I felt that slight, disembodied panic you feel when there is something very strange happening right in front of you, but you kind of can’t believe it’s for real. The bag sailed down, more leisurely than I thought it would. Caught by the wind it bounced off the security lamp and landed – ploosh – into a small bush.
“We order takeout a lot,” the man said to me. “And I hate having all these plastic containers piling up that the city won’t recycle. So we bring them back and reuse them. I like the Thai place around the corner.”
“Yeah, their papaya salad is great,” I said.
He started walking away. “Yeah, we get it every time.”