My favorite neighbor.
Somewhat [but by no means entirely] fictionalized in my 2018 A-to-Z challenge story Dear Diary, my favorite neighbor Randy lived in the dorm room next door to me during more than one of my years at college [an unlikely but welcome coincidence].
Randy taught me how to be laid back in pretty much any situation. I know—me? laid back? I know! I wish I could say his teachings stayed with me one hundred percent, but unfortunately, I need a refresher. Too bad we lost touch a long time ago. [And, hell, with my life the mess it is today, I wouldn’t even want to reconnect at this point. He’s a very successful lawyer now. I’m a… nothing.]
I was a bit leery of Randy when we first met. I was a freshman [he wasn’t] so I suppose I was a bit anxious all around. But Randy seemed intimidating to me… until the day he asked me to borrow my lighter [which I had strictly for the purpose of lighting incense, I swear]. Randy became a lot less intimidating when he asked me to come on over to his room with said lighter while he used it. Not for incense.
That wasn’t the only way he taught me to be laid back. He just exuded this this air of calm, coolness. It complemented my high strung nature really well. We even deejayed a radio show together at our college station. We called it [don’t laugh] ‘Breakfast with Randy and Sandy‘. Okay, you can laugh. I don’t think we were of sound mind when we came up with that ridiculous name. It makes me cringe now because, well, it’s cringey, but also because I absolutely hate to be called ‘Sandy‘. But ‘Randall and Sandra‘ really didn’t work.
During the end of my junior year, when my so-called best friend abandoned me for a time, Randy [then a senior] was the absolute best. Not only was he a good listener, but he also helped me get my mind off all the shit by helping me be more—you guessed it—laid back.
Maybe one of the reasons he was such a great neighbor to me was because I felt this best-friend-brotherly kind of vibe with him. I have no idea if he harbored any other sort of feelings toward me—if he did, he never said. Having an awesome guy who I didn’t have a crush on was incredibly good for me. Instead of wondering how he felt about me, I took his words and actions at face value. I never sat around analyzing everything to see if there was some deeper hidden meaning. Randy was just Randy. Our friendship was effortless.
Hell, even when he blasted the Beastie Boys too loudly, I thought he was the best neighbor ever.
p.s. — In my mid-twenties, I had a friend/roommate with whom I was looking for a new apartment. Our lease at the time was up, and we needed to get a new place. Little did I know my friendship with her was also ‘up’. She ditched me (for a guy), and suddenly I needed a one bedroom… fast.
I had to settle, but it was all I could afford. The place was in a mostly safe neighborhood, but not a pretty one. My landlord was a dick. And my neighbors were awful. Loud, messy, unfriendly, bitchy, and just generally crappy. I was miserable there.
Worst neighbors ever. Where’s Randy when I need him??
It was during my unpleasant stay at that apartment that I met my husband. Maybe that’s why I jumped at his proposal (a rushed and not well thought out decision) and agreed to buy a house with him (another rushed and not well thought out decision). But I needed to get the hell out of that apartment.
Hm… does this mean I can blame that friend who ditched me for everything currently wrong in my life? She sent me on this path. Bitch.
At least I slept with her husband. [Before they were together! I’m not a monster!]