Saturday, October 15, 2005

Nobody Home

Catherine's having trouble with her upstairs neighbor. My upstairs neighbors aren't a problem. There's the odd banging and shuffling, but more often than not, the noise I hear most clearly is the sound of somebody playing Rachmaninoff on the piano, which is absolutely delightful.

My discomfort comes from other sources. To wit: everybody on this street seems to know who I am. I blame this entirely on Landlady Khatuna running her mouth to everybody she sees. When I first went to the market across the street, the woman working there was able to tell me where I was from and what apartment I lived in before I could even say "eggs, please." More recently, at the market next door, some young man started jabbering at me in Georgian. I told him that I didn't know Georgian, which he took as a sign to continue his one-sided conversation at me. I was actually able to make out "third floor" and "Khatuna," and I realied that he was also telling me that he knew where I lived. He lies on the fifth floor. That's great, man. On the one hand, this is all very charming and small town-ish. On the other hand, being identified as a foreigner is to be identified as a walking piggy-bank and I enjoy the illusion that nobody knows who I am.

But worse than all of this is the knocking and buzzing at my door. Look, I'm very sorry, gents. I'm sure you're a perfectly lovely foursome of black leather-jacketed toughs, and that your persistent buzzing and pounding on the door of a single female foreigner today, as well as the angry rattling of my door handle, was just your way of welcoming me to the neighborhood. And I'm sure that I just didn't notice the welcome basket of freshly baked bread that you were undoubtedly bringing to me. I furthermore don't care if you just saw me walking in the door 30 seconds ago, or if you live below me and heard me tap dancing in the sitting room above your heads. For there is, compadres, no way in hell that I will ever open that door. Move along.


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