Meeting neighbors at 2:30 am

I went out for a walk at 2:30 am last night… well, my last night, everybody else’s “this morning.” I finally hit a point of cabin fever where I just had to get out of the house. I decided to walk to Tim Horton’s, buy a tea and do some writing.

As I walked down the nearly empty street I noticed a bearded fellow walking toward me. He presented the body language of someone who was about to talk to me so I took my ear buds out.

Yes, I walk the dark streets at 2:30 in the morning with my ear buds in. I’m 6’ tall, 350 lbs, with a shaved head and a beard. The only people likely to approach me would be either friendly or in need of help. I’m not usually afraid of being mugged. Not in Canada, anyway.

The guy approaches and asks if I live in the Katriina. I recognize him as someone I saw entering my building the other day and realize he’s a fellow resident of the building.

He introduces himself as Jeremy and we get to chatting. Turns out he’s switching over from night shift to day shift and having a bit of trouble getting to sleep. I explain I’ve been unemployed for a number of months and have fallen into the bad habit of simply not going to bed until I’m too tired to stay awake.

We get to talking about the building. Apparently I’m “that guy with the bike.” Which is interesting because it’s the first time I’ve been identified by a group of strangers as something other than “that big guy with the beard.” I’m not surprised, though. I’ve been riding my bike to work (when I worked) every morning for the past couple of summers. Someone who fires up a bike like mine every weekday at 7:30am is going to be remembered by the residents. I’m sure at least a few of them are quite relieved I’m not working right now. They’d be even more relieved if they knew how often I’ve resisted the urge to go for a ride at 3 in the morning.

Jeremy went on to tell me his girlfriend is on the condo board and they’re pushing for “a garden” which explains why there’s some doomed flowers and bushes planted in the dry and biologically sterile dirt in front of my windows. A few are already dying. Jeremy admits that it’s about the worst dirt you can work with. He also commented that, since he’s the only one on the committee without expensive nails he’s well aware who’ll be doing most of the work. He added he plans on bringing in some sand to add to the soil. I hope that’s true. Maybe the combination of pants and a sand topping will keep small birds from using the spot in front of my windows as a dust bath. They kick tons of dirt into my windows.

We talked about jobs. He got some of my specifics and said he’d keep an eye out. He works for an engineering firm made up of an Australian parent company that bought out a whole bunch of smaller companies a few years ago. He didn’t get my hopes up, though, when he talked about his girlfriend’s company advertising for summer student positions and having people with MBAs apply.

My only hope is if students going back to school in September leave some openings for me.

We shared some stories of our cats… he and his girlfriend went to a rescue and picked up a couple of kittens. They were only going to adopt one but one of its siblings clung to him and tried to climb up him to be with its litter-mate, so they chose to adopt both. We talked about possible sleep remedies. We talked about the homeless people that make the area between our building and the neighboring house into a camp site.

Then we parted ways and I found out that the Tim Horton’s near to me isn’t open 24 hours like I’d thought. Still, it was nice to meet a building neighbor. At 3 in the morning.

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