Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Neilochka Leaves His Apartment

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Now that I’ve written for Blogebrity for a full three days, I think I’ve earned the right to call myself a “blogging expert.”  (media outlets – please contact my agent, Sophia Lansky, for more information). 

As a blogging expert, let me share with you one of my astute professional observations about the blogosphere:

Most bloggers are just plain weird.  Social outcasts.  Losers.  Anti-social nutcases.  I mean, who else sits all day in front of a computer at work, then comes home to sit at their computer all night to blog?   What other morons reveal the intimate details of their lives to strangers who are crazier than they are?  What other perverts post semi-naked photos of themselves on a weekly basis for HNT?  On the last survey of my readership, I counted 1/3 as alcoholics, 1/3 on anti-depressants, and 1/3 as having bi-polar disorder. 

Listen, I’m not that normal myself.  Despite my friendly personality online, I’m actually pretty shy.   I’m much more comfortable making virtual friends than real ones.   In fact, I’ve lived in my apartment building for a year and a half, and haven’t made one friend here.

One possible reason is that I’m subletting from my friend, Phil.   After I separated from Sophia, he let me use his apartment after he moved into his mother’s old place.  The management here was not very happy with the arrangement.  To “punish me,” they told Phil that I can never use the gym, the patio, or the swimming pool.   Several times, I’ve wanted to march into the manager’s office and say that this is unfair, but you guessed it – I’m too shy to do it. 

Last Saturday, there was a big party down the hall.  It seemed as everyone on my floor was invited, except for me.  I didn’t get angry at them.  I scolded myself:

“Enough of these unreal blogging friends.  It’s time for you to make some REAL friends.  Right here in the apartment building!”

But how?  Where would be the best place to meet the other tenants and show them how charming Neilochka can be? 

Of course.  The elevator.

I decided that on Tuesday, I would keep on taking the elevator up all day, meeting and befriending my neighbors.  I would take the elevator up with one neighbor, then walk down the stairs, wait for new tenants to show up, and take the elevator up again.

Here is a log of my day’s activities:

7 AM – 8 AM

No tenants come into the elevator.  The newspaper boy shows up, but he doesn’t really count.  Besides, he didn’t talk to me because he is still pissed that I canceled my Los Angeles Times subscription two months ago.

8 AM – 10AM

Return to the apartment, and take a little nap. 

10 AM – 10:30 AM

Do a little blogging.  IM with Pauly D, who promptly cuts me off when he gets a call from someone more important person than me.

11: 08 AM– 11:12 AM

My first tenant enters the elevator with me.  He is a Korean-American in a nice suit, around 40.

Neil:  “Hi.”

Silence.

Neil:  “Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?”

Korean Man:  “Yes.”

I look up at the fluorescent lighting.  One of the grilles has been missing for over a year.

Neil:  “When are they ever going to fix that?  What would it cost them – five bucks?”

Silence.  The Korean man moves slightly farther away from me.  The elevator opens and he exits.

11:27 AM – 11:30 AM

I’m on the elevator with an elderly man.

Neil:  “Hello.”

Elderly Man:  “What?!”

He’s clearly hard of hearing.

Neil:  “Hello!”

Elderly Man:  “What?!”

I give up trying.

11:47 AM – 11:53 AM

I’m in the elevator with an attractive, yuppyish married couple in their mid-thirties.

Neil:  (pointing at the lighting grille)  When are they ever going to fix that?

Yuppie Guy:  You’re right.  It shouldn’t cost them more than five dollars.

Neil:  Right!  Right!  Five dollars!  Hey, I’m Neil Kramer, apartment 314!

Yuppie Guy:  Jack and Susan Neveroff.  Apartment 322..

Neil:  Nice to meet you.  How long have you been living here? 

Yuppie Guy:  A while.  But we’re moving next week.

Neil:  (disappointed)   Moving?

Yuppie Guy:  It’s like that grille up there.  This apartment building is a mess.   We bought our own house.  We’re tired of living like losers.

Yuppie Wife:  (elbowing her husband)   Jack…shh…

Yuppie Guy:  Oh, I’m sorry, pal.  I mean it is fine living here if you’re a student…

Neil:  I’m not a student.

Yuppie Guy:  Well, it’s different when you get married…

Neil:  I am married.  I’m separated.

Yuppie Guy:  Oh…

Uncomfortable silence.  The elevator opens and they quickly exit.

NOON – 1:00 PM

Lunch break.  Leftover Chinese food for lunch while watching “All My Children.”  I try to IM Pauly D again, but he makes believe he’s not there.

1:46 PM – 1:53 PM

A perky redhead enters the elevator carrying an “E! Entertainment” shoulder bag.

Neil:  “Do you work for E!?”

Redhead:  “Yes, I do!”

Neil:  “That’s great.  You can walk to work.”

Redhead:  “That’s why I moved in here.   I miss walking everywhere, like in New York.”

Neil:  “I’m from Queens!”

Redhead:  “Me too!”

Neil:  “He, do you know Jay at “E!”?

Redhead:  “Jay… hmmm…no…”

Neil:  “You know, maybe that’s not his real name.  I only know him from blogging.  He’s a blogger.  Sometimes bloggers don’t use their real names.”

Redhead:  “I know.  I have a blog.”

Neil:  “Yeah?  Me too!  Mine’s called “Citizen of the Month.”  It’s just nonsense and stuff.”

Redhead:  “Mine is a knitting blog.”

Neil:  “What’s it called?”

Redhead:  “I’d rather not.”

Neil:  “Why not?  I’ll check it out.

Redhead:  “I really like to stay anonymous.”

Neil:  “What am I going to do?  I just want to look at it?”

Redhead:  “I said no!”

Neil:  “You don’t have to go all crazy over it.”

Redhead:  “Look, I don’t want to talk about my blog with you anymore, OK?”

Neil:  “You know, I write for Blogebrity now.   I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”

Redhead:  “No.”

Neil:  “Well, I single-handedly could have made your blog the top knitting blog in the country… just like that!  But because you’re so stubborn and won’t tell me the stupid name of your blog…

Redhead:  “Fuck you, you stalker!”

The elevator opens.  As she exits:

Neil:  “You’re never gonna work in this blogosphere again!”

2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

I order a mojito at Nick’s Bar.  I’ve never had a drink in a bar during the afternoon in my life, but I decided to try one today.  Two drunks sit next to me.

5:03 PM – 5: 08 PM

I enter the elevator with a fiftyish, gruff-faced woman in a business suit.

Neil:  (a little tipsy)  “Hello.”

Gruff Face:  “Hello.  I don’t recall meeting you.”

Neil:  “Neil Kramer.”

Gruff Face:  “Neil Kramer…. Neil Kramer… what apartment are you in?”

Neil:  “Apartment 314”

Gruff Face:  "In Phil’s old place?"

Neil:  "Yes."

Gruff Face:  "So, you’re the one who’s in Phil’s place?!  I’m the manager here.  I think you know that I’m totally against you being here." 

Neil:  "Well…"

Gruff Face:  "Let me speak.  I don’t know who you are.  I don’t know if you are going to disturb the other tenants."

Neil:  "I’ve already been here a while."

Gruff Face:  "Then let me repeat the rules.  Since you are not a tenant, you cannot use the tenants’ patio, the tenants’ gym, or the tenants’ pool…"

Neil:  "I understand, but I wanted to talk…"

Gruff Face:   "There’s nothing to talk about."

The elevator opens.  I point to the grille on top.

Neil:  "You know, a lot of the tenants are complaining about this grille not being fixed."

Gruff Face:  "Who?  You?"

Neil:  "No…no…"

Gruff Face:  "Then who?  The married couple who’s moving?"

Neil:   "Uh, yes…"

Gruff Face:  "Well, they’re moving.  So, they can go to hell."

The manager exits the elevator.

5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

I return home and go back to blogging.  I make a vow never to leave my apartment again.

Today on Blogebrity:  ‘Tis the Season to Feel Anxious Over Your Blog (Brooke, Schuey, Dan, SAC)

59 Comments

  1. Wow, what an amazing study of uncomfortable small talk…you have really dove right in and just made a fine study here.

    And for the record, I don’t fit into your categories Neil, no naked pics, no chemical enhancements and a social life I do have. SO WHY then a blog? It’s a journal with more accountability–it doesn’t allow me to ponder my navel. You know everyone I know now has linked to you since I linked to Too Skinny. You pick good subjects!

  2. Come back to us baby, the real world can be a cruel cruel place. Shhh, it’s okay. You’re safe here. You’re safe.

  3. man, wot a bummer, i’ll say, folkz there is totally crash, maybe juz your place? hey, dun give up dude, places to meet pplz:-

    1. parks, like outdoors?
    2. bars, into music?
    3. gym, COMBAT!
    4. zoo, animal lover?
    5. museums, art buff?
    6. pool, swim buff?
    7. interests grps, any?
    8. greenpeace?
    9. salvation army?
    10. meeting bloggers face 2 face?

    c’mon, there is a world of places, this is juz a minor satback, hey, no one says first tries are bang on. Try n try again, ever considering moving to a diff place? How abt having a pet, thats a nice ice breaker. Juz Do It! Cheers!

  4. sometimes I think I’m three thirds the blogger…

  5. How did you manage to snare Pauly D into IMing? And why doesn’t anybody from blogger IM me? I’m starting to feel rejected. *Swallows a bottle of Zoloft*

  6. Glad you did it first. Saves me from even trying…

  7. OK…I’ve considered giving up on blogging because most of the people I’ve run into have been nutcases…

  8. Wait… are you saying that there are… what? like REAL people out there? I really outta leave the house once in a while! Real live people… who woulda thunk it?

  9. Wow. It is hard to make friends, isn’t it?

  10. Okay—-now I’m confused.

    Am I real or just a figment in your blogging imagination?

    Or are you just a figgy in mine?

    Is this blogisphere thingy like the Matrix and we are all naked, (24/4, not just HNT), hooked up to vac hoses in vats of jello, (hope mines purple!), powering the real world that isn’t really real……..

    OUCHYYY! got go my dark roots are about to explode.

  11. I can tell you from experience, mentioning Blogebrity to a girl always loses points.

  12. oh, awkward elevator chit-chat. you seem to be the master of it.

  13. Neil, didn’t anyone ever tell you…the building’s LAUNDRY ROOM is where it’s at! You can shmooze with young’uns, old ‘uns, men, women…and check out their wardrobe (Hint: delicate underclothes) that’s getting washed.
    The laundry room is a world unto itself.

    Oh…unless your building with a broken elevator grille has no laundry room.

  14. How could anyone deny that face and those fiercely white teeth? Nothing but love for you here in the blogosphere.

  15. I am totally confused by JoeC.

    You IM other bloggers? I didn’t even THINK of this possible manner of time-wasting.

    Brilliant.

  16. Interacting with other people in your apartment building is overrated. I try to alienate my neighbors as soon as I move in. Otherwise they try to mug you in the chinese take-out place downstairs. At least they do in South Philly.

  17. And that right there is the reason for why I’m a misanthrope.

  18. Neil, you’re hilarious, but then – I fit into every category you mentioned, so you may not want to believe me. I’m glad you have a blog. You make me laugh.

  19. You should live in my apartment building. There are no amenities you could be excluded from using and none of the other tenants are remotely interesting.

  20. Wait, I just noticed something–is that your actual broken second-floor button on that elevator control panel?

    HAHAHAHAHA!

  21. My building has a caste system. figured out I’m in the second highest: board approved but not in a large apartment. Means I can start a conversation with anybody equal or lower—but I’ve never been good at rules.

    And I’m originally from Queens. Do you know…

  22. I live in a wonderful neighborood full of old retired people that have nothing else to do but watch what I do. Most of them have known me my whole life, but I love my little house and I’m not leaving. Move into my neighborhood, you’ll have more nosey friends than you can shake a stick at. Hell, I’ll even cook for you.

  23. I feel much better knowing I am not the only person Pauly ignores on IM. Not that that helps you, but well, ya know…

  24. What third am I in? Just curious.

    ;-)3T

  25. Two frikkin hours to drink a Mojito! What’s up with that, Neil?

    And have you made my blog the number one screenwriting blog on Blogebrity yet? 😉

  26. a knitting blog, what the hell?!

  27. Grille, schmill–that elevator button is a travesty! At this rate, you could get stuck in the elevator one fine day with the surly manager, and have to escape her wrath by clawing your way out via that stupid grille.

  28. I rarely get out and meet “real people” either. I live in a town of 700, and most still don’t know who I am. I’m not sure I want them to know.

  29. Count me with the 1/3 who are on antidepressants.

  30. People are over-rated. Try dogs.

  31. I am not a drunk, bi-polar or depressed, but some people do call me crazy. They live in the television with Dr. Phil and Oprah.

  32. maybe try your local grocery store, you must need food, unless you shop on line. i don’t fit into any of your 1/3’s.

  33. That’s hilarious neil. And why are you soo shy pray tell?

  34. I think you should have stood with your back to the elevator doors just to make people uncomfortable. Great social experiment, I tell ya.

  35. BAH HA HA HA HA!

    I meet everyone in my building either in the elevator or at 3:30am during fire alarms.

    Maybe you should pull the fire alarm one night… everyone is friendlier when they are sleep and in PJ’s.

  36. Tina– I don’t know if South Philly is that different than Center City Philly or if my building is just full o’ freaks. My neighbors are always cooking dinner and cookies for me (well except the grump old man who says I’m too loud)… and we all share our netflix movies.

  37. Neil, if this whole thing with Sophia doesnt work out, you’re not going to go up to the roof with a high powered rifle and start mowing down the passersby, are you? I just want to know so in case I ever get the urge to go out to LA I’ll know when to schedule the trip.

  38. Neil: “You’re never gonna work in this blogosphere again!”

    Pulling rank. God bless you.

  39. So, basically you could’ve been using the amenities all this time because the manager didn’t know what you looked like, but now she does.

    A for effort though. Obviously the people in your building don’t recognize friendliness when it’s lurking in the elevator.

  40. To heck with those “real” people, they’re never going to be as complimentary and interesting as bloggers!

  41. love the Knitter Blog rider incident…one of the members of my local writing group has a blog and won’t tell me what it is, which makes me wonder which one of my entries scared her

  42. Neil,

    To say you are funny and creative is an understatement. Loved the post.

  43. An anonymous knitting blog? Come on. Makes you wonder what she’s knitting.

  44. Contrary to your belief that all bloggers are losers, I’ll have you know that I’m a stellar specimen of social acceptability. I’m rarely drunk before noon, there are at least three people in the world that I don’t hate, and if I gut an animal just to see what it looks like inside, I always make a point to kill it humanely rather than torture it to death.

    You, on the other hand, seem a little weird.

  45. The blogging world is a much nicer place.

  46. I’m actually 473 pounds and physically unable to move away from my computer. So I’ll just keep typing until my pizza shows up. I wonder if I left the door unlocked when I last went out… four years ago… and do you think the nice pizza boy will change my diaper for a tenner again?

  47. lol! Imagine the only person actually talking to you has a knitting blog!!!! What was that about she notwanting to give you its name huh??!!! Calling you a stalker at that? Weren’t you in the elevator before her? sowho’s stalking who? lol!!!

    Neil, am curiousto know which category of bloggers you put me in… really, tell me…

    Fitèna

  48. perhaps you could make a little sign reading “go to hell” and hang it where the missing grille should be. that would probably get it fixed faster.

  49. For your information, Neil, I fell and I couldn’t get up. The second time. The first time, yeah, there was someone more important on the phone.

    The second time, well, you could’ve called 911 for me or something.

  50. your neighbors SUCK! … but that one part with the lady and her knitting blog was hilarious! 😉

  51. Neil, I laughed so hard reading this. A little advice — bring a water gun on the elevator and squirt people whenever the doors open up. It’s a real ice-breaker. I did that in a hotel once. I met lots of nice people. Like the security guard, for example.

    By the way, you can IM me and I won’t ignore you because I’m not nearly as important as Pauly D.

  52. i can’t believe you have 52 comments on here. that’s amazing. and don’t worry bout the knitter lady, maybe she’s just a really slack knitter or one of those “lol knitters” who use “lol” explicatives way too often. if that’s the case, you don’t even want to mess with those dirty dishes.

  53. Can’t wait for Dinner for 8 on December 10! Conversation has GOT to be better than the elevator.

  54. Thank you, psychotoddler, for finally getting me out of the house when you visit LA.

  55. the elusive dinner for 8…

  56. Stacy Elaine, you’re free to take me out for dinner any time you like. I like Thai food.

  57. I think I know her… is her name Margaret by any chance?

    BTW, No, I do not have redhair and I cannot knit 🙂

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