Won’t you be my neighbor?

I recently moved to a new apartment.  I’m living alone now, and I have a story to share.  No, this is not going to be about how much I love living alone and cooking in my underwear.  This story is even better.

I got home from work, and I decided to lie down for just a few minutes before I began the chore of preparing my dinner (I say prepare because the majority of the time this process involves a microwave).  Not thirty seconds after reclining, I hear a loud knocking on my door.

“Hello!  Hello!  It’s Gilbert.”

Since I do not know a Gilbert, I assumed this was a mistake or maybe the knocking was on my neighbor’s door.  The walls are pretty thin.  But the knocking continued, and I answered the door.  Gilbert launched into rapid-fire speech, “Hey, I locked my keys out of my apartment.  Your husband helped me before.  I just need to get my keys.  Can I come in like last time?”

I was completely confused.  I had to explain to Gilbert that I do not have a husband and that I only moved in a week ago.  It turns out our windows are perpendicular to each other, and Gilbert had inexplicably locked his keys in his apartment.  Our building manager had gone home for the evening, and instead of paying an $80 fee, Gilbert proposed climbing from my window into his own to retrieve said keys.

I was a little unsure about the whole situation (I should mention that Gilbert was missing at least his two front teeth), but for some reason I let the man into my apartment.  He did tell me he wasn’t crazy, so that meant something, right?

Once we approached the window, I realized that this was not going to be an easy task.  To start, my screen did not open all the way so Gilbert was trying to squeeze himself through a tiny opening to reach the outside edge.  Also, our windows were SUPER FAR APART.  This was going to be a dangerous ordeal.

Exhibit A: The distance from window to another…not actually my window.


Exhibit B: How far my screen opens.  Now, picture Gilbert’s ass in that tiny space.

As Gilbert hovered on my window ledge, he admitted that he wasn’t the one who climbed through the window last time – it was someone’s (I assume the former tenant of my apartment) girlfriend who was very thin and nimble.  After a few minutes and many prayers from Gilbert(“Oh Jesus, Oh Lord”), it was decided that my screen needed to be removed from the window completely.  Now he was ready to ‘Spiderman this shit’ as he put it.

Exhibit C: The gray box Gilbert straddled before flinging himself headfirst through his window.

With the help of conveniently placed electric box, Gilbert did eventually make it through his window.  But there were moments when I was certain that Gilbert would plummet to the concrete below and I would have to call 911.  And what would I say to the paramedics?  Endless terrible scenarios ran through my mind.  (Can I also say, I haven’t spent that much time staring at a man’s ass that I wasn’t attracted to… in fact, I’ve never stared at any man’s ass for that long.)

Exhibit D: Where Gilbert would have landed had he not been able to ‘Spiderman that shit’.

But the story doesn’t end there.  Gilbert returned to my apartment to fix my screen which he had promised to do as he took it off.  As he was fumbling with the screen (unsuccessfully), I got some advice:

“I’m so sorry.  I’m not handy at all.  Never saddle yourself with a useless man.  It’s the worst.  Make sure you find a man who can fix things.  I’m so sorry.”

Well, I waited politely, and then I gave my two cents on the whole screen-reattaching-project.  When my advice proved successful:

“Wow, you’re better at this than I am.  I’m so sorry.  Thanks for helping me out.  You’re a good person.  You have a good heart.  It’ll come back to you.”

Finally, the window was back to normal and the ordeal was over.  What a first introduction!  I’m convinced that things like this only happen to me.  I can sometime be a  crazy-magnet.  Where’s Mr. Rogers when you need him?  Needless to say, I immediately locked my windows upon Gilbert’s exit.



Some people when faced with an illness refuse to let it beat them.  They will power on, refuse to take even an aspirin, and go about their business.  They are the people who you force to leave the office because you realize they are running a fever, even when they insist they are fine!  Let me say, I am not one of these people.  If I feel the slightest tickle in my throat or just a minor pain in my head, I’m ready to completely abandon the world and lock myself in my room until the plague passes.

Maybe I’m not quite that dramatic, but I have felt pretty crappy the past couple of days.  Now that winter has started to appear, I came down with a major cold to accompany the changing of the seasons.  I left work early on Tuesday and have been out of commission ever since.

Being sick in a new city really is the worst.  What makes it even worse: I had almost no groceries to speak of.  So, I’m alone in my bed hacking and coughing, I don’t want to go to the doctor because I don’t have health insurance, and there is nothing for me to eat.  I had no soup which is what I really wanted, and I had no one to call who would fetch soup for me.  These are the thoughts that will send a person into a downward spiral of self-pity *cough, cough*.

In Mississippi, I had plenty of people I could call.  Both my sisters lived in town, although if I’m being honest they probably would have blown me off to do something they felt was far more important.  If I couldn’t get my sisters, I would call my friend John but he was a very busy person.  Then, I would have called my mom.  Yes, that’s right, I would’ve called my mom.  And she would’ve brought me soup.  This thought occurred to me yesterday around 6 p.m.  And then, I thought “Kate, you are 27 years old!  Go and get your own damn soup!”

So, I got out of bed, put on a hoodie to hide my dirty hair, and walked (the whole one block) to the small, neighborhood grocery.  And guess what?  They didn’t even have the kind of soup I like!!  Maybe I’m a little picky when it comes to soup (and by picky I mean I will only eat chicken noodle).  I was very sad and decided to go with hummus, bananas, and Diet Coke.  When I got to the cash register, the nice cashier offered me some candy since it was Halloween.  I politely declined and he responded, “Oh wow, you don’t sound so good.”

“Thanks guy!  I know, I sound like a frog and by the way, where’s the chicken noodle soup?  My throat hurts and what do I want?  Chicken noodle soup!  But you don’t have it.  What’s up with that?  Yes, I’m sick.  Do we need to bring more attention to it!”

But, I didn’t say that, I just smiled and said “I guess it isn’t a Happy Halloween for me,” and picked up my hummus.  As I was leaving, he told me to feel better which made me feel like a total tool for having an imaginary freak out over the soup.

But, the happy ending is this: I’m starting to feel better.  So with only the aid of NyQuil, I made it through my first ‘illness’ in Chicago.  I nursed myself back to health!  I am an independent woman (who subsequently is completely caught up with all my favorite t.v. shows and recently completely over half a season of The Office.)