Won't You Be My Neighbor?

     I have finally realized something from listening to Marilyn Manson. I didn't realize that I needed to wear makeup and indulge in showy glam transvestitism to make friends, nor did I realize that having a unisex name is cool and mysterious - I already knew those. What I did realize - at four o' clock in the morning - is that I have never, ever, ever had a neighbor who has had any ounce of sanity.

     This week, I was startled out of bed in the wee hours of the day by the chorus of Marilyn's breakthrough hit "Sweet Dreams." This is something you never want to happen to you - trust me. I get all the evil I need in the morning from my Bea Arthur alarm clock, thank you very much.

     My theory about this neighbor, whom I will call Crazy Neighbor A, is that he has some kind of severe hearing loss that also somehow prevents him from having consideration for other people. Everything this guy does is loud. My roommate and I can hear him watching TV, we can hear him yelling on his phone and our door falls off of its hinges every time he gets an instant message. Also, when he's in the bathroom, he yells, "I AM IN THE BATHROOM!" but we don't really know what that's all about.

     Crazy Neighbor A is, however, a small step above my neighbor last year, whom I shall name Crazy Neighbor B. Crazy Neighbor B occupied a single next-door to me and was able to defy the laws of time and space by fitting hundreds of people into his room. Seriously. Once, I sat and watched people file out of his room for twenty minutes. It looked just like one of those "shoot the duck" carnival games, so I grabbed a juice box and started spraying them as they walked by. I don't think they liked that, but I did win a stuffed animal for my steady, who said I was "super keen."

     Oh, Crazy Neighbor B also smoked crank. Lots and lots of crank. We were going to confront him about it, but then one day he used his cranktastic powers and was gone, with no explanation - he just vanished in what I can only assume was a white cloud of smoke and the word "poof!" in shiny red bubble letters, or a little explosion of confetti and stars; possibly with rainbows or yellow birdies.

     One might assume that this phenomenon began only when I came to college. Well, one is wrong, and one shouldn't jump to conclusions like that. When my family moved into a new house several years ago, we were actually surrounded by crazy neighbors.

     Behind us lived "JuJu," which is what my family actually named her. As far as we could tell, JuJu was certifiably insane. She uninvited my sister from her daughter's birthday party, hired babysitters just to spy on them, and actually had several restraining orders against her. She also liked clowns.

     On the other side, we had the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Crazy Neighbor D, who would stand on their driveway and stare at us without saying anything, even in the rain - although, in true sitcom fashion, they did come over to complain when we were cutting down a tree they thought was theirs. We responded in sitcom fashion by launching a nest of angry bees over our fence via homemade catapult. Unfortunately, the bees also responded in sitcom fashion by turning around and flying toward us, causing us to run around and flail our arms in futility until the credits rolled.

     Enough is enough. I want a good neighbor for once - someone I can borrow some sugar from, someone who will help me steal cable, someone who won't smoke crank twenty-four hours a day. Are you that person? Well, we can find out, in a completely reliable, scientific way: a questionnaire. Answer the following questions, and score 1 point for A, 2 for B, and 10 for C. Just trying to keep you on your toes, there.

1). My music volume is set at: A) Headphones B) Loudspeakers C) Eleven.

2). My favorite animals are A) Puppies B) Kittens C) Scary, scary bats.

3). I wear A) Clothes B) A barrel and suspenders C) The skins of mine enemies.

4). I like to eat A) Vegetarian food B) Steak C) Babies.

5). On weekends I like to: A) Watch a movie with friends B) Run around Boston Common in a gorilla suit C) Start a trash can fire in Danielsen Hall, filling Casey's room with smoke and making him unnecessarily worry that all his things will be destroyed.

6). Are you insane? A) No B) Yes C) Spiders.

     If you scored below 12 points, you could be my neighbor. Let me know where you're living next year. If you scored higher than 12 points, then you are already my neighbor. Leave me alone, and give me back my pants, you maniac.

An Interesting Real-Life Note:  My troglodyte neighbors in  the triple next to me thought this column was about them, even though I am clearly talking about a SINGLE person.  They then tore off our whiteboard and threw an entire chocolate creme pie at our door, this the same week that there was a fire on my floor. I had a great semester!