Neighborly interactions have increased exponentially for me since I made the jump (down) from a third-floor walk-up to a ground floor apartment. This is thanks to a phenomenon I rarely experienced in my years upstairs: UFOs (Unidentified Falling Objects).
The only UFO yet to be scientifically explained is a hot pink shoelace that landed on the rooftop covering over my garden. No one has come knocking, and it’s not the sort of object for which one races to haul out the ladder. But that’s relative. I’m slowly accepting that with ground floor power comes ground floor responsibility.
Recently, mid-morning dash, a note appeared under my door, detailing the drop of a sad white sneaker onto my garden’s covering. There was a kind introduction, a request to come retrieve it and a phone number, which I promptly noted, planning to dial it later in the day—battery was low, I was late. I broom-fished the shoe off the roof and hid it in the condo hallway.
Two hours passed before I remembered. I zapped off an SMS about the shoe’s whereabouts, we exchanged a few pleasantries and I considered the matter closed.
I returned home to another note: the same neighbor, perhaps surmising I couldn’t read Italian, had gotten desperate in the two hours that elapsed between Note 1 and my reply. She’d photographed the shoe, printed it on a full 8×11 sheet, circled the sneaker with a magic marker and written beneath it “SORRY. MY SHOE IS IN YOUR GARDEN. PLEASE CALL ME.”
Urgency is relative. I’m faster to fetch the ladder these days.