My devotion to people watching rivals my infatuation with observing behavioral patterns. In my neighborhood, there is no shortage of quirk-pots wrapped in riddles; this enclave is a homing device for weird, creepy folks. Out of hundreds, only two are the good weird.
Obsessively curious by nature, last week I wondered what would happen if I took my inside voice outside for a joy ride. You know, as an experiment.
Leaving my apartment, I ran into a neighbor from across the hall checking her mail. We’ve never met, but like others in the building, I’ve regularly heard her fucking her dick du jour.
“Why the drop in fresh cock this week?” I asked.
She whipped her head around, pursed her lips and defensively asked if I was accusing her of being a slut. “Say what?” I asked. “You’re a sexually empowered woman. The deaf can hear your orgasms. Be proud, lady. I am.” Beaming, she said, “I think you mean that.” She also let me know that she had planned her first threesome with two men. A few days later, at 2AM, neighbors flooded the halls listening to what can only be described as lions heatedly fighting territorial invasion by hyenas and howler monkeys.
As luck would have it, later that day another neighbor banged on my front door. She was enraged because one neighbor died (aside from the dead girl upstairs and a few others), another revoked her access to his house key, and a third categorically refused to take her advice on how to remove stains. She stormed in, tears running down her face, whining about the aforementioned, and because she had lived in the building since the dawn of time, how the treatment of her by our neighbors had become intolerable.
Calmly, I asked, “Margaret, don’t you think you’re a little too invested in this building and the tenants?”
“I am the den mother,” she said, “and I am sick of being mistreated.”
“Den mother. What is this, Girl Scouts of misogynistic America?! Margaret, you’re an intrusive nut bag.” To wit, her jaw dropped.
“Hear me out. You have grandiose expectations of neighbors—not friends, just people who happen to live in the same building as you. If you’re this grief-stricken (a common occurrence), you should move.”
She stood up from the couch and screamed, “I don’t have to take this abuse from you or anyone else. I have lived here longer than any other tenant (like that’s something to be proud of. And, by the by, she summers three blocks away). I have an obligation to teach these people how to live.”
Serenely, while coaxing her out of my apartment, my last words before slamming the door on her ass were, “I don’t know if psychiatrists specialize in whatever it is you have, but you need to find out. Oh, and, Margaret, you have nerve—you haven’t used yet!”
Another neighbor mercilessly beats his wife. Though I’ve called the police countless times, I’ve never said a word to either of them until our paths crossed while traipsing along the sidewalk. I nonchalantly asked, “Are you taking a sabbatical from beating your wife? Nary a bloodthirsty cry for . . . what, ten days?”
He was totally thrown off guard and asked me to repeat my question, so I did.
“Those are hefty allegations, little girl,” he stated. Little girl?! I’m a sphere. Spin me and you can tell time.
Through a smirk and a chuckle, I uttered, “Not really. 911 is the only number I have on speed dial, thanks to you being an epic, woman-hating, abusive prick who thinks being a man means beating his wife.”
As he raised his hand, while waving my finger in his face, I said, “Ah, ah, ah, I’ll press charges and you’ll be in prison; transformed into one of the Arian nation’s many sister wives.”
He stormed off.
Katie Schwartz is a comedy writer, producer and essayist, among other writerly things. She collects vintage tchotch, not bodies, which is surprising considering her obsession with death humor. You can catch her weekly column at Monkeybicycle and other print work on Huffington Post, Exquisite Corpse, or here. If you’re not bored to death, watch some of her produced work at FKR.TV, FunnyOrDie or on the YouTubes.