The floor below went silent about two weeks ago. No more odd hour doorbell rings, no more smells of foreign spices, and no more late night I’m-not-sure-what parties. It was nice. Mail started piling up for my downstairs neighbors and an “APARTMENT FOR RENT” sign went up. Were they evicted or maybe left for the season? On my way up to my apartment, I saw no light under their door and out of curiosity turned the knob. The door opened and the apartment was full of stuff. I recognized a few items from the one or two times I’d interacted with them. I shuffled around their floor stealing glances at the artifacts of habitation which suggested way more than two people lived there. My eyes wandered over how their book cases were arranged, what furniture was used, how the TV was the focal point, and the spareness of their kitchen compared to mine. After a minute or so, I walked out and went to my unit.
I prepared dinner and then asked my housemate if he wanted to have a look. He said yes and we wandered down. The door was now locked. So I knocked as a check. No response.
Had someone come home? Was someone there when I visited the first time? I’m not sure. But I contacted the landlord who said their lease was continuing through August.
As homeownership becomes a serious consideration I find myself chewing on living arrangements. My space is shared with my housemate which works out by and large well. I by and large control the layout of things as I simply have more stuff and take up more space with it. My housemate does most of his activities outside the apartment while I don’t. At summer camp I shared my bedroom with two others through the age of 26. My downstairs neighbors seem to have something similar to that (or simply have a radically different arrangement where notional bedrooms aren’t used as such). I watched an action movie with an action scene that took place in a kitchen and I couldn’t help but stare at the counter tops. So many things to consider.