A neighbor knocks

Knock knock. Who's there? I don't actually say 'who's there', but I mutter to myself Who the hell is knocking on my door? I peer through the peephole, and it's my neighbor from another apartment somewhere in this building. I've seen him before, even chatted with him, but I don't know his name. Why is he knocking on my door?

"Gimme a minute," I shout. I put on my mask, and also pants and a shirt, and open the door. He says he knocked to tell me there's a package for me, here in the hallway, and it's been there for a few days.

The pandemic means I'm working at home and rarely leave the apartment, and it's unwise to leave an unattended package at the door for days, so I decide I appreciate the knock after all, and say thanks.

Then he says, "Uh, you drive a silver Chevy, right?" Well, yeah, if you mean my 20-year-old rusty unwashed beater with eleven dents and a quarter-million miles. "Gotta move it," he says, but I don't know what he's talking about, and usually when I don't know what someone's talking about I'll nod and walk away. I might've said 'thanks' a second time, might not, as I nodded and closed the door.

Why is he telling me I gotta move my car? Says who? What the hell is that about?

Annoyed, I slip into my shoes and walk outside, and there are no cars, which is weird. Usually cars are parked all along both sides of the street, but there's only my Chevy — and a series of handwritten but official-looking signs, saying "Street repairs, No parking 10/21-10/23." Small print says the signs were posted on 10/18 — Sunday. That's three days ago. That's how long it's been since I stepped outside of my apartment.

At the corner, two trucks are parked. Both trucks have city emblems and yellow flashing lights. There's a crew of workmen in orange vests on the sidewalk, too far away for me to hear what they're saying, but one of them is pointing at my car. It's the only car on the street. "Gotta move it," like my neighbor said, so I grab the keys and repark my beater a block away.

I've never had my car towed against my will, but I'm guessing it's expensive and unpleasant. If my neighbor hadn't knocked on my door and been neighborly, that's what would've happened. I don't know his name, don't know which apartment he lives in, and I don't know how he knew that Chevy was mine, but I do appreciate my neighbor knocking on my door. I'll tell him 'thanks' and mean it, next time I see him. And I'll try to be a better neighbor myself.



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