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Friday May 25, 2001, 02:33

Whenever I heard noise out in the hallway, I dash to the door and peer out of the peephole in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of my neighbors. Sometimes it's not my neighbor at all but rather the man who comes around the halls with a large vacuum, but most of the time it's either the woman who lives directly across from me or someone who lives next to me.

I'm not exactly sure why I do this little dance every time I hear a noise. It's not as if there is anything that could be done once I did ascertain that there was activity in the hall. Perhaps, I figured, if I could find some convenient reason (reason? nay, excuse) to go out into the hall (laundry, garbage, etc) and just happen to bump into one of my neighbors wandering into or out of her apartment ("her," I say, for I've only met the women in this corner of the building. Do they live alone? I have no idea) that I could then form some sort of relationship with them and begin to incorporate myself into the community of this building.

This is a lot of wishful thinking. I live in a high-rise apartment building. In general, people live here in order to forget that other people exist in this city. It provides a reasonable escape from the rest of the world while being right in what could be considered the center of the world.

I have actually met one of my neighbors. I had been doing laundry (by chance, not by any sort of planned interception) and she walked by. We spoke. Briefly. We exchanged pleasantries, including names. I talked about my lack of furniture (a common topic of conversation). She told me that, in fact, I should get furniture. Then she was off. I saw her again once more in passing, I was heading out, she, in.

"Hi," I said.

"Hi," she responded, as she turned the corner to our part of the floor.

"Glad we had this conversation," I called after her.

"What?"

"I said," I said, feeling a bit foolish now, "Glad we had this conversation."

There was a silence in the hall as the elevator approached our floor. A voice came from around the corner. "Always nice to see a friendly face in the hall."

I heard her door close as the elevator arrived.

That, it would seem, is to be the extent of our interaction.

...

Notes: Today was incredibly nice. Waking up this morning and looking out the window it was as if, for the first time in several days, someone had not fogged up my glasses. The sky was clear, the world was crisp and the air was clean.

That's it. Be happy.

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