Based on experience, I thought it would be an adventure to take a new job in a new city. The people I’d interviewed with seemed nice and they liked my portfolio. The city itself was a college town, home to 43,000 students, but that might be fun. I couldn’t find a downside, I looked. Just not in the right places.
Weeks after moving, there was a knock on my door. It was past ten on a Friday night in January and I didn’t know a soul in town. Curious, right? A voice shouted, “Hello-o-o-o, I’m Laurie, your neighbor.” I opened the door to a blonde woman, early 30s, wearing a black overcoat and inviting me out for a drink. I wasn’t at all interested, it was cold and snowy and dark. My most unfavorite adjectives.She persisted until I suggested we have a drink there, at my place. Her eyes lit up, she licked her lips, and commenced draining my only bottle of liquor. At the halfway mark, she turned mean and sloppy, alternately calling me names and blowing kisses. Toward the end, she embarked on a prolonged crying jag and used up all my tissues.
At four in the morning, my patience exhausted, I handed her her coat and purse and keys and gave her a push. She tottered to the end of the sidewalk, listed to the right, and toppled into a snowdrift. Once she was back on her feet, swaying and mumbling, I went to bed. She returned frequently in the ensuing days, knock knock, but I never again answered the door. I hid.
Turned out my guest was a known drunk, with a reputation for dropping by in a quest for company and liquor. Mostly liquor. The cops knew her, the property manager knew her, everyone in town knew her. Everyone except me, the newbie. I quickly learned what they already knew: she was to be avoided. Something I vowed to do full-time.
My other full-time occupation, my new job, was, hmm, disheartening. I’d never worked anywhere like that; a joyless, rule-bound, dour place. There was no hum of conversation or ringing phones, no bustle of activity or drive of ambition. I still call myself names for completely missing these very obvious drawbacks.
It’s been a year now since I moved away, to this little burg, and my door is quiet. No knocking, no uninvited surprises. And I’ve started giggling again. Those are good signs.
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