Sunday, March 14, 2004

Report: Day 11 

In my building there are 6 apartments, all of which are over store fronts on the main drag through my town. I have met most of my neighbors, but one neighbor has always frightened me a little. He is a crabby old man that is never glimpsed without a lit cigar clutched tightly in his disintegrating teeth and a scowl permanently affixed to his face. He has never exchanged more than a grunt with me.

Therefore, I had to meet him.

I had heard from the woman in apartment 6, the apartment closest to his, that he was "Greek or maybe Russian" one day when she stopped me to complain about his cigar smoking. Upon hearing this I immediately began referring to him as Anatoli.

Anyway, I rushed home after work and fired up the oven. I put on my apron and whipped up a fresh batch of baklava. I put the pastry in a nice gift basket decorated with ribbon and dried flowers and headed down the hall to introduce myself to Anatoli.

Anatoli's apartment is on the other side of a fire wall and to get there I have to go through a couple of doors. When I finally rounded the corner to Anatoli's apartment, I could not help but notice a heavy scent of stale cigar smoke hanging in the air. The hall way was dotted with at least a dozen Glade StickUps, apparently placed there by Anatoli's sworn enemy, the woman in Apartment 6, in a desperate attempt to ward off the cigar smell.

The smell of the smoke and the sight of the StickUps filled the hall way with tension and I couldn't help but be a little anxious as I knocked on Anatoli's door, gift in hand.

I heard him stirring within. He greeted me at the door with a surprised grunt in an undershirt. His cigar, as always, angrily rigid in the grip of his teeth.

"Hello, there," I said. "My name is Brian and I live down the hall from you. Apartment 2, you know? Down there. You've probably seen me around. Anyway, I was baking today and I made these baklava and I know it's not Christmas or anything, but I thought I'd make some extra and come down here and, you know, offer you some and just say hi or whatever. Because we're neighbors and all. You know. So I brought you these baklava which are in this basket." I fidgeted nervously.

Anatoli sized me up and then lifted up the linen napkin covering the baked goods to peer into the basket. He looked at the pastry then looked at me. Then he looked at the pasty again and then he looked at me. Then he snatched the basket from my hand with a grunt and slammed the door in my face as he disappeared into his apartment.

I think I made a new friend.

Today I must work out exactly what my type is so that if I ever forget or get too drunk I can quickly remind myself.

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