Naming Neighbs

Our upstairs neighbor loves Enya.

I can hear the gentle bouncing and swaying of the music, something like a cork riding the swell of a blue-green ocean in the tropics. I like to imagine that she waltzes with herself as the music plays, but the evidence is scant on that since I never hear her when Enya is playing, and when Enya is not playing I often hear stomping in the dining room. And hammering at least once a week.

Either pictures or a very firm voodoo doll.

She also has a white Java dove named Oliver Twist Olivia (originally just plain Oliver Twist until “Oliver” laid an egg). On a quiet morning, I can hear her cooing.

I like our upstairs neighbor. She is incredibly short and has long, graying dark hair. She is “odd” in a sort of Dickensian way. I like her.

I also didn’t know how exactly to think of her (her real name being sadly nondescript) until my friend Em was having coffee with me one day and we saw Neighb (as I had been calling her) coming into the building, almost lost in an ankle-length winter coat and a long winter cap.

“Is that your neighbor?” Em asked.

“Who?” I said, craning.

“That one… the one who looks like a short Dumbledore.”

“Nice,” I said.

“I didn’t mean it in a bad way!” And to her credit, I’m sure she didn’t. Em’s love for Harry Potter is comparable to Carl’s, so you know it’s true and eternal. And Dumbledore is a great character. And Michael Gambon is a fantastic Dumbledore. So it’s all good, right?

I hope so, because I now think of her without fail as Lil’ Dumbledore. And when I hear her NPR and Enya lilting through the ceiling, it makes me happy to know that the person above me is having a cosy-at-home the same time I am. In our separate, neat little boxes.

… Of course, having Lil’ Dumbledore living above us has led to a natural evolution in the name of our kitty-corner neighbor, whose name started as Tom. You can see where this is going, just as I’m sure you can imagine the glee with which I realized his name was Tom. Which sounds kind of like Tom Riddle… which quickly became Voldemort.

Which is exactly how I came to live in the downstairs apartment underneath Lil’ Dumbledore and Voldemort.

So far it’s been remarkably peaceful.

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3 thoughts on “Naming Neighbs

  1. This is charming. It’s so funny everything we invent for the people around us. It reminds me of when my little social butterfly, Carissa, was little. She wanted to know every stranger’s name, including people we passed on the street while driving in our car. I would have to admit that I didn’t know this or that person’s name. Undaunted, Carissa would then ask me to make up a name for the person. Admittedly, we had nowhere near the time to study the people we named that you have had for your neighbors, but it was a fun little game nonetheless.

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