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November 5, 2010

Mysteries (doors)

I'm in the seated position, in a place that is supposed to be sort of pleasant, and that's when I hear the scratching on the door.

Soon I see a small paw insistently waving underneath it, poking in through the crack between the floor and the door. The paw is saying, "Hey, it's me! It's me over here! Open up! Let me in! Did you forget about me?"

I wonder to myself what it's like to go to the bathroom alone without a cat pawing relentlessly at the bathroom door.

Is it peaceful? Is it lonely? How would I know?

- - -

One of my neighbors has door-related OCD. I'm not sure if she even realizes it, and of course I have never met her or spoken to her so I can't be sure either way, but I know her habits. She's quite loud.

This apartment building is long and narrow and all the apartments open up to a long, tiled outdoor lobby that is also narrow. The apartments aren't spread out one on top of the other like some buildings. Instead, each unit is narrow as well, and goes up vertically, with the kitchen and living area on the main floor, bedrooms up a flight of stairs, and a third flight of stairs leads to a small laundry room and patio.

Since the building is tall, the little tiled courtyard amplifies every noise. Most of the neighbors are quiet and you don't notice the echo chamber very often. But one of my neighbors a few doors down has a doorknob issue. She exits her apartment, shuts the door, locks it, then obsessively pulls the door loudly back and forth seven times (to be sure it's locked, I assume.) Sometimes she has to go back inside and repeat the whole ritual. Shut door, jangle keys, lock door, loudly yank it back and forth seven times. It echoes in the courtyard.


- - -

The weirdest neighbor of all has to be the woman who recently took her cat into the courtyard on a pink leash, with a matching pink collar.

I never intended to be the lady who walked her cat on a pink leash. One doesn't always choose their crazy. Sometimes it chooses them.

Sobakowa started sitting at the front door and meowing. She isn't a meower, so it startled me. After a while I could tell she thought the front door must lead to something fantastic, like a bathroom.

She's getting older, you know. And I like to make all God's creatures happy in their old age. What could be the harm in letting her walk on the courtyard tile for a minute or two?

But if the lady with the loud doorknob ritual came out, she might scare the cat, who might bolt for cover and so I decided to buy the cat a little leash. The cheapest small leash at the store was pink with a matching pink collar. I assumed the indignity of the vomitous colored leash and collar would embarrass the cat enough to give up this mad yearning for the front door to open.

She was undeterred by the humiliating leash. We walked outside, onto the tile, and she looked at me as if to say, "I have trained you well. I meowed. You went to the store and bought me this leash so I could take you on a walk. And now here we are. This is even better than the bathroom."

And, just like that, I became the weirdest neighbor.

Posted by laurie at November 5, 2010 8:01 AM