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♪ bum ba da bum bum ♫

You knocked softly on my door--just loud enough for me to hear it. I could tell it was you. Shave and a Haircut. You always knock like that. I had gotten used to the sound over the last few weeks. No matter what I was doing, I could always hear when you knocked on my door.

I honestly never thought I'd be living so close close to you. I spent my whole life avoiding you, worrying that if I spent too much time near you I would become like you. And now here you are, living across the hall from me, knocking on my door every other day.

♫ Bum ba da bum bum ♪ . In elementary school, the administrators would clap that tune to get our attention. Our part was the 'two bits.' I associated the routine with authority; I associated it with conformity. I associated it with you. That happy little diddy stands for rigid oppressiveness, it's a light hearted front for structured obedience. I hate it.

I set down my mac and cheese and opened the door. You stood there in your white blouse and black coat. Your pleated skirt hung just above your knees, still modest, but high enough to show off your legs, high enough to show how strong and independent you are. Once again I wondered why you lived here in my cheap apartment complex. Surely you could afford better than this? Your hair was up in a tight bun, pale lipstick still on your thin face. You looked like you had just gotten back from work. I flipped out my cell phone, It was 5:35.

"Hi." you said. The informalness seemed forced.

"Hey." I replied. The sound of your knock repeated in my head. ♪ bum ba da bum bum ♫

What kind of person knocks like that? I was still having trouble recognizing you as a real person, as any more than an embodiment of all the things I spent my life running away from. My personal Hell would be filled with people like you.

Maybe I have a habit of casting judgment on people. Maybe it's wrong, but it's worked well for me. Your knock was as telling to me as a person wearing a lamp shade on their head, or riding a bike and wearing a bright yellow safety vest. It happens when we're growing up, the example of our parents sets us in a groove, our slot in society. Whether through imitation or rebellion, we chose our path, our way of living, and if it works for us we stick to it.

I struggled to think of an explanation for why you were here. I hadn't been playing my music too loud, had I? Was this about all the graffiti by the laundry room? I told you it wasn't me doing that.

"So, um..." To say the words didn't leap from your mouth with their usual sharpness would be an understatement. You seemed uncertain, vacillating. It was easy to see how uncomfortable you were, standing there without even the slightest infraction for which to berate me.

"My friend invited me to dinner tomorrow night, but it's supposed to be like a double date..." This sentence doesn't seem to be processing correctly in my brain. "...I was wondering if you wanted to go. With me."

What. The fuck. No absolutely not. I can't. But what can I tell you? 'I'm sorry, but I'm morally opposed to everything you stand for.' God, that would sound terrible. I have a problem with chicks asking me out, too. Never has a good relationship started that way. I need to say something though...

"Uhh, where?" I said somewhat weakly.

"Alejandro's at 8 o'clock. does that mean you'll come?"

This whole conversation was forcing me to re-evaluate you. I knew what I thought you were, and I still hated it. But maybe, just maybe, you were something more. Part of me wanted to believe it, but in reality it didn't matter. By now I had completely lost control of the situation. "Yeah, sure." I said. "Can I get a ride?"