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Hello, my name is Alexander and I’ve had a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”.

Actually only part of that sentence is true, but you knew that.

I have a bad case of “The Mondays”. While I do realize that I should be grateful that I have another Monday, with air in my lungs, a roof over my head and shoes on my feet, and I am, I just wish they didn’t have to, as a general rule, suck.

(I won’t bore you with the details of this particular day, but it should suffice to say that I am taking tomorrow off. I have too much to do to get ready for my vacation at the end of the week, anyway.)

After enduring a pleasant trip home via public transportation (where is the sarcasm font when one needs it?), I arrived home this evening wet to the bone and with dirty feet to boot. I had made the mistake of listening to the weather person who that morning had assured me that the rain would not arrive until “well after the evening commute” so did not take my umbrella. Of course, the City of Boston has also been digging up my street for the past week and today added the sidewalks as well, so my tootsies, shod only in cute sandals, were exposed to the muck. Lovely.

Feeling like Schleprock, I approached the door to my corner apartment, when I spied something so totally offensive as to stop me in my tracks. My new neighbor had put their bag of trash outside their door. In the hallway. Right next to my apartment. My fists clenched and eyes narrowed as a low growl emanated from my throat and steam poured from my ears.

I’m a good neighbor. I follow the rules. I’m quiet and friendly and respectful of other people, even if the line is fine when it comes to your right to play Gears of War for twelve hours straight with the sound hooked up to your stereo, and my right to not have the walls of my apartment shake from the bass.

No one complains when someone puts a potted plant or a welcome mat outside their door, despite the fact that these things are prohibited in our leases, but I draw the line at trash. Lest you think I’m some sort of anal retentive Hun, there is precedent for what came next. There used to be someone in the building who would habitually take their trash from the inside of their apartment and move it to the outside of their apartment and instead of then taking another 3-5 minutes to carry it to the basement, would leave it there. For DAYS.

I snapped. I said, in a voice loud enough for my neighbor to hear, “This is not a tenement! Don’t leave your trash in the hall!”

I’m not naturally a confrontational person. As soon as the words left my lips, I wanted to stuff them back into my mouth. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t a man with his tie still around his head as he was interrupted mid-yank, fire in his eyes and smoke billowing from his nostrils. “What did you say?!”

Oops. Much more quietly, “I said this is not a tenement. Don’t leave your trash in the hall.”

Well, the floodgates were open now. After making me repeat the word tenement three times as if he couldn’t possibly have heard me correctly, and inquiring of me whether I thought he looked like he lived in a tenement, new neighbor proceeded to launch into a tirade about HIS awful day and the fact that he had just gotten home, who did I think I was, etc, etc, etc.

We finally retreated behind our respective doors, not before I had the last word, “It was nice to meet you!”

Of course as soon as my door shut, I felt terrible. Of course I had overreacted. It wasn’t his fault that an ill-bred slob used to live in the building. How was he to know that the site of one more Hefty bag was going to send me over the edge into a cartoon-character meltdown?

There was nothing else for it. I had to apologize. I opened my door, prepared to knock on my neighbor’s door…just as he was coming out of it.

I stuck out my hand. “Hi, I’m Sheri. I live next door, it’s nice to meet you.”

He smiled and took my hand and introduced himself. “I was just coming to apologize to you. I shouldn’t have gone off like that.”

Amidst a lot of traded “oh no, it was my fault”s and assurances that neither of us was really a psycho, we started to talk. C. turned out to be funny, intelligent and charming.

(Now, in the movies, this might have been what they call a “meet-cute”, but this is not that kind of story. C. doesn’t bat for my team. His boyfriend T. is very nice as well.)

My point, if I have one, is that during all of the years that I’ve lived in this building, I’ve met a handful of people that I could do more than give a passing nod to. That’s not to say it’s entirely my fault. Everyone in this city is closed off to one degree or another. Outside of work, most of the people I talk to, people I know and love, live in the same little box from which I’m talking to you now.

It was just nice to have some simple human contact. It made this particular Monday not so terrible, horrible, no good or very bad after all.

Feel free to share a Monday horror story (or any other day of the week for that matter). Even better, when’s the last time you turned a bad day on its head or a bad situation around and ended up with an unexpected, yet pleasant, surprise?

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