Apartment life is an experience. You get to watch your neighbour’s lives, smell their weird roasts, listen to their elephant children clomp around at night, and know they commiserate when they hear the wails of your very tired and persistent 3 year old being dragged down the hallway, the sounds eventually swallowed by the hurried entrance into your unit then the gentle click of a door closing.
It’s cool. We’re all here under one roof, breathing, living, and co-existing.
Our building, because of its family vibe, where it’s situated and the desirable rent, has some rules. We signed contracts to not do or deal drugs, to not prostitute ourselves, to not be engaged in gang activity and absolutely, positively NO PETS.
Especially dog hookers who love meth and murder.
We are all united under these weird rules and, so, it goes.
The upside of apartment living is there is never a surprise knock on the door. You vet all visitors by way of an intercom system so that you at least have time to pull on a bra under your pajamas if a delivery comes. You don’t have to confront any unwanted fake smiling faces and you don’t have to spend $3.29 at Canadian Tire on a No Soliciting Sign.
This whole tradeoff works and if you live in an apartment, you know this.
So, on Friday when bath time was nearly done (read: she was almost finished slyly drinking great warm gulps of bath water when she thought I wasn’t looking), and a rap rap rap came at the front door, I stood up from my toilet perch like my name had been announced as the winner of an Academy Award. ME? NOW? WHO? WHAT? I CAN’T POSSIBLY.
The last of the water swirled down the drain with that weird porno squelch and I stalked to the front door. I DIDN’T EVEN LOOK THROUGH THE PEEPHOLE. If this was an assassination attempt, I was officially the easiest mark ever.
There was no silencer pointed at my head (I’ve watched A LOT of Homeland this past week, ok?), but rather three red-faced pre-teen girls, one holding a plate out towards me, dotted with small globules of stuff. Upon closer inspection they were hacked off banana slices, with nutella plop-drizzled on top and a shattering of nuts all over the plate.
The ringleader started to speak. I immediately got the cold and hot flop sweats. It was the most awkward 10 seconds of my life as she stumbled through introducing the party of three, why they were here (raising money) and what the offering was, and if I could donate money and would that be okay and thank you and yeah.
The snarky part of my brain was out having a smoke. Otherwise I would have cracked their sweet young skulls together gently and said, GIRLS. This, THIS is weak. You need to UP your door-to-door game. This banana bullshit looks like what an aspiring toddler chef would pull together. A boxed cupcake mix and a jar of frosting would have made this money-grabbing attempt WAY more legit. And don’t lie to me about why you need the money. Telling me it’s to raise money to buy a birthday gift for your brother makes me want to drain my bank accounts and give all the money to you because that’s so goddamn sweet and selfless. WAIT. WHAT? Oh SNAP, these kids are SMART.
Because instead of saying, “Oh loves, no thanks but good luck” while quietly closing the door, I said “one sec,” and strode to the bedroom where the change jar sits. I stood paralyzed, staring at the shiny coins. HOW MUCH DO I GIVE? How much is 1/8 of a banana, slimed with nutella and a peanut with surely a hair in it WORTH on the market these days?
I ended up handing over $4 in toonies and declining the food, citing my daughter’s nut allergy. They stumbled over their gratitude, the plate swaying and their little faces busting out in pearls of sweat as they retreated down the hall to the next door.
I closed and locked our door and went back to the bathroom. Stella asked “what’s going on Mama?” I wrapped her in a towel and sighed. “Your Mama is a chump, my love.”
Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on my outburst of generosity. Just maybe that money went towards a slightly higher quality dog hooker for that lucky brother’s birthday.