I don’t know if I told you, Pranksters, but the apartment complex that I moved into was the only other apartment complex I’ve lived in. I moved here with my then-boyfriend-turned-Ben’s-father back in 2000, where we lived until July of 2001, at which time I waddled back home just in time to pop out my bouncing baby boy.
(completely pointless sidebar, why do they bother calling babies “bouncing?” My kid screamed a lot, rarely bouncing, and, in fact, didn’t begin bouncing until he was well over two)
This time, clearly, I’m not living with anyone and I’m pretty sure that while I’m at the age where women ovulate all-the-fuck over babies, my uterus has decided to move somewhere up into my lungs that the idea of popping out another. Can’t say I blame it.
As most of you know, I began moving last Wednesday, piling up boxes as I desperately tried to unpack my house. Keeping busy, I’ve learned, staves off The Sads for awhile until you’re no longer busy and then you suddenly feel run over by a truck, but alas, I digress. Sometime over the weekend, The Guy Formerly On My Couch began to bring the piles of boxes out to the recycling area of the complex while I carefully placed each pair of shoes into one of those clear plastic shoe boxes, because, well, I no longer have the option to leave my crap strewn about without looking like Slob Bob.
Later that evening, as we sat on opposite ends of the couch, panting and smelling like we’d just managed to move everything I owned – and unpack the majority of it – in the span of three days, Ben spoke up:
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “Totally met your neighbor when I was carrying out boxes.”
Aunt Becky: “Oh yeah? Is it the dude named “Buts?” Because that would be awesome. I wanna have a friend with that last name.”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “No, it was an older lady – a redhead.”
Aunt Becky: “She nice?”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “She was out there breaking down every box I’d put into the recycling bin.”
Aunt Becky: (gapes)
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “Yep. She then told me all about WHY she was doing this – apparently the boxes have to be a certain size and you share the complex with a bunch of other buildings, blah blah blah.”
Aunt Becky: (gapes)
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “Then she told me AGAIN.”
Aunt Becky: “Woah. She watched you carry out boxes? I WISH I had that kind of time on my hands.”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “No, you don’t.”
Aunt Becky (attempts to make neurons fire at the same time): “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “I’m always right.”
Aunt Becky: “I SAID PROBABLY.”
The following morning, I woke up in my new house, and was greeted with utter silence, which is, of course, a new thing for me. I’m accustomed to the noise that goes along with three kids and the silence was somewhat deafening, if not mildly pleasant. It was quiet, of course, until I rolled over in bed, at which point in time, my back cracked like a bag of microwave popcorn, my legs actually groaning in protest.
A cacophony of various creeks, cracks, and pops followed me out to the kitchen, where I began a pot of coffee, wincing when I had to reach for the filters, which helped combat the silence. I curled up on the couch with a heating pad and watched a few episodes of White Collar before the dawning realization that my laziness had taken a whole new meaning and I’d better get some more of those damn boxes to the recycling before my ass became permanently affixed to my couch and they’d have to cut out a wall to get me out if I died or something.
I grabbed a box full of other, broken-down boxes, groaning a little as I bent over, and lugged them out front.
There she was, standing at the recycling area, just as The Guy Formerly On My Couch described, standing over some boxes she’d pulled from the recycling bin, which, I should add, is as deep as I am tall (5 foot, 5 inches); a tiny thing, ripping apart cardboard boxes like it was her job or something. I stood watching her a spell before I snapped out of my daze and into the lion’s den, waiting for my own lecture. I considered inviting her into my apartment to break down boxes, since she seemed to be enjoying it so very much, but decided that it would be best if I left well enough alone.
Aunt Becky: “Hi! I’m Becky and I just moved in.”
Cardboard Lady (not unkindly): “Hi, was just explaining to your husband that cardboard has to be broken down into small pieces or they won’t take it when they pick up the recycling. Didn’t you get the sheet about that when you moved in? Because the office told me all about it when I called about something else. You should get one of those sheets, because you want to make sure you know what you can and can’t throw into these bins.”
Aunt Becky (chokes back laughter the word “husband” referring to The Guy Formerly On My Couch): “I’ll have to pick up one of those sheets tomorrow. Thanks for the info!”
Cardboard Lady: “Yeah, for some reason they just won’t accept the cardboard if it’s bigger than two feet, and well, you want to be sure you break down all of the boxes so they take them and if you can’t or they’re too big, throw them into the dumpster because you want this stuff gone. They only pick up trash twice a week and you should really get that sheet.”
Aunt Becky (cowers): “Okay, I will. Thanks again. Nice to meet you!”
Cardboard Lady: “Nice to meet you too! Don’t forget that sheet!”
And just like that, I met my first nosy neighbor.