The typical 20-something will, by this point in their lives, have lived in several different spaces in any number of locales, in any number of different living arrangements. There are friends, there are roommates and then there are neighbors. If you’re lucky enough to have existed as an independent productive member of human society by this point, especially in a community of independent productive members of human society, you will have run into this neighbor, this certain person that you are inextricably yet sickeningly tied to, simply because you lived adjacent to each other, at least on one occasion.
Perhaps you are sitting outside a coffee shop on a busy intersection of town, enjoying the warmth of your coffee, your cigarette and the sunlight pouring through the gaps in the awning and you see a white Prius drive by and you catch a glimpse of the person driving that Prius and in that instant of recognizing the greasy shoulder length hair, the patchy goatee and those stupid fucking circular John Lennon glasses, you feel sick. The driver of that white Prius is the person who relentlessly terrorized your holiest of sanctuaries, the one bedroom apartment you lived in six years ago, which, would it not have been for the human scourge driving the white Prius, would have actually been a pretty nice place to live.
In that second he drives past, a flood of memories comes pouring back into your already fragile psyche of loud crashes at 2:36 am, which clearly came from his apartment but that he later blames you for. Memories of that stupid meditative Indian flute music that reverberated through your ceiling way too loudly during many attempts at getting some much needed studying done. Memories of the complaints to the HOA filed against you for sex noises that were too loud and that disturbed his sleep, despite the fact that you were single and living alone, hadn’t had another person over in at least a month, let alone someone you would be having loud sex noises with, and were very careful to wear headphones when moments of self passion arose and you resorted to spicy internet videos. Finally, there are the memories of the weekly or bi-weekly accusations of being ‘toxic’ during loud shouting matches arguing over something he says you were doing to disturb him, that you very clearly remember not doing.
He had the benefit of the doubt when a biker chick and her rowdy boyfriend lived in the place you lived before you. His threats that they were causing a disturbance and had even slashed the tires on his white Prius, which led them to be evicted, may have been valid, but after your time living below him, you suspect that that may have just been more of his bullshit. After the eight months your lives were entwined, police reports for harassment had been filed by both parties and, had you not been relatively close with your landlords and your property manager (by which a higher level of trust had been established on your part), it may have been you who were evicted and not his sorry, insane, loose-grip-on-reality ass.
Adding to the sickness you feel in that second he drives by, you can remember that the dude once asked you, relatively early on, if you would help him sell his dropshipped cheap knick-knack shit and incense on ebay, an offer you strongly considered after he said he’d pay you 13 dollars an hour. In the coming months though, you’d feel an immense sense of relief knowing you decided not to follow through on the offer.
You can remember staying out at late-night coffee shops, and deciding not to go home to your warm bed with new pillows because you didn’t know what the fucker would do next. The one place you were safe from the ills and judgment of society was no longer yours. Instead it was a constant trigger for all varieties of stress.
In that second he drives by you feel all that, and you do the only thing you can do, avert your eyes, hope he doesn’t see you and hope to Christ he doesn’t walk into the coffee shop you’re sitting outside of enjoying the warmth of coffee, a cigarette and the sunlight pouring through the gaps in the awning.
When you finish the cigarette you walk back into the shop and over to the table where your laptop sits and, not seeing the dude there, you relax and go back to work on a stupid article for an online magazine with a 20-something demographic called Thought Catalog.