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Aug 07

Quarantine with My Neighbors by Michelle Flaws

Posted on August 7, 2020 at 1:49 PM by Genesis Gaule

Picture collage of Sherlock Holmes, Chi's Sweet Home, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Luke Skywalker

Enter the spring of 2020 and because of COVID-19 I found myself working from home, stressed and unable to sleep. I thought that perhaps this would be the best time to finally tackle all of those challenging classics that I’ve been meaning to read someday. There I was perfectly nestled in a blanket, two am in the morning -the most serene time in the night to read, when my neighbors upstairs decided that this would be a good time to vacuum the living room.

Across the hall from me the family’s young children decide that they want to play dodge ball against their front door. I will applaud their effort and enthusiasm, they will always be picked first when they begin school. The worst offender lives downstairs and he is an avid gamer. I have not been able to decipher which video game he plays but he loses regularly and goes on such vulgar and descriptive rants that sailors would make him an honorary member. If his losing streak continues, the angrier he gets the higher his falsetto which sometimes throws me into a giggling fit.

I tried to concentrate on my novel but finally decided to go to bed and turn on both my fan and sleep machine to drown out the neighbors. I’m sure you're thinking, “well that’s just the cost of having such close proximity with neighbors” and you are right ! I sacrifice privacy and noise control for affordable housing at this moment in my life, but what if I could pick my neighbors? Who would I choose? What about literary characters?!

Obviously while I love hobbits, I would have to put in a revolving door for all the communal meals and constant visits. Wizards would cause way too much disruption in the building for a muggle like me. Dracula would be such an interesting person to visit with since he’s lived through so many centuries but his lack of restraint would be dangerous to all of the tenants. Those musically inclined might not be the best fit-because their genius doesn’t abide by a regular schedule and I need sleep-sorry Phantom.

On the basement floor would live all of my animal neighbors--Winnie the Pooh and friends, Chi and the Yamada family, griffins, and Pokémon.

The second floor would be for all my neighbors who worked in the criminal justice sector-Patrick Kenzie is a P.I., Clarice Sterling works for the FBI and Sherlock only takes the most interesting cases.

The third floor would house the neighbors who required the most privacy-I would constantly want to be making excuses to “borrow a cup of sugar”. Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker share a two bedroom apartment.

The apartments available would not be big enough for the Traveller’s time machine but I hear he rents a super secret storage unit for it anyway.

So while I figure out a way to either make an apartment living more zen or finally move out, I’ll continue to imagine what it would be like to have my choice of ideal book character neighbors!

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