The following is a fictional newsletter, circulated to a fictional group of residents in a fictional apartment building. The newsletter does not depict any actual person or event. Even if you’re entirely sure that one of the characters is based on you, she isn’t. Even if your friends keep texting you to tell you that a character in this newsletter must have been based on you, he wasn’t. Even if you find my notebook and it says your name and then lists a bunch of personality traits and one of the characters is described with exactly the same personality traits as yours, she’s still not based on you.
Dear Residents of 612 East 49th Street,
It has come to my attention that many of you do not like me. How has it come to my attention? Well, for starters, you set up a table in the lobby with a placard that read “Let’s get rid of Michelle Smith” and you had a clipboard with what I can only imagine was some sort of petition. It seems that, despite my every effort to the contrary, I have become the villain of the building. I’m going to do my best to refute your allegations so that we can once again live in peace and harmony in our esteemed, pre-war building (side note: don’t you love the high ceilings?! and the natural light?! and the upgrades?!).
Let’s begin with my neighbors in Apartment 30C. Now I know that I accidentally took your clean dry cleaning, and that I accidentally wore Eleanor’s linen jumpsuit to a BBQ over the weekend, and that I accidentally peed a little bit in the jumpsuit (it’s very hard to go to the bathroom when you’re wearing a jumpsuit). I have a similar jumpsuit and was in a rush, so I didn’t notice that it wasn’t mine (although, frankly, I should have noticed, since I wear Peter Pilotto and you wear J. Peterman). I have since learned that you, Eleanor, were planning to wear said jumpsuit to your own BBQ this coming weekend but that you can’t now because it smells like BBQ. And urine. In addition, it’s full of wrinkles on account of its being made of linen and its having been worn once. But that did not give you, Hank, the right to aggressively bang on my door this morning at 6:45, accusing me of wanting to keep your wife’s clothing for my own “sick purposes.” Let me assure you that that is not the case (see above re: Peter Pilotto vs. J. Peterman; in addition, I cannot even imagine what “sick purposes” you’re referring to. Maybe you have “sick purposes” and have projected them onto me? Yes, I also took Psych 101). The truth is that I just really haven’t had time to weed through all the clothes in my closet to pick out what’s yours. But as soon as I do, I will return your clothes. From the looks of you, Eleanor, you likely have crabs, and I don’t need to get them. Again.
Let’s move on to Craig in 7D. Craig, let’s be real. You have been “winking” at me on A Match Made In… for weeks now. I’m frankly appalled by your inability to spell or use grammar correctly. Didn’t you grow up in New York? Let’s share an example with the building, shall we? “I hate been alone and I’ll love to find that special person to spend the rest of my life with, please No drama, no complications, problems, is all about go with the flow and have a good time, I dislike confrontations, arguments, Love to live in harmony and Pease… I’m a open book you can ask anything and spec a honest answer also very metro sexual type of guy, love to take care of my personal image and I love beauty …” Really, Craig? Really? In my profile, did I write “Looking for a man with especially bad grammar; someone cheesy and full of platitudes; someone who likes walks on the beach and puppies; someone who I can tutor in the art of the English language”? No, Craig, I didn’t. So take a hint, Craig. I haven’t responded to your emails, I haven’t winked back at you, and I haven’t called. Leave me alone, Craig. And do everyone a favor and lay off the cologne. And you call yourself metrosexual (sound effect: snort).
Now for my neighbor in Apartment 26F. I know that you have a walker and that it’s hard for you to get around. I guess you feel nervous that you won’t make it into the elevator before the doors close. Is that why you always push past me when I’ve been waiting, so that you can get in first? If you’re nervous about getting left behind, I’m ok with your pushy behavior. Ok, actually, I’m not. If we’re being honest here, just wait your turn. The elevator is big enough for all three of us (me, you and your walker). I promise that I won’t press Door Close as soon as I get in (like you did to me this evening). In fact, maybe I should be angry with you. Did you ever think of that?
And as for you, Gertrude in 10F, I heard you talking badly about me to the doorman. To set the record straight, I did not almost knock you over in the lobby when we were walking towards each other and I was looking at my phone. I actually can read and walk at the same time. I imagine you were purposely complaining to the doorman in a loud enough voice so that I would hear you, and the message was received. You are an angry troll and are jealous that you don’t know how to use an iPhone or walk in a straight line, let alone do both at the same time. Maybe you could hire a walking tutor? It’s NYC, baby. There are services for everything.
And, Nancy, my former confidante in Apartment 16A. I know that my niece stomped her foot right near your dog a few years ago and scared your tiny pooch almost unto death. But my niece is 14 now and she knows better, so you don’t need to pick up your dog and shield her with your body every time my niece visits. It was a one-time occurrence 8 years ago and we have moved on. Can you?
Last but not least, I must address my neighbors directly below me, in Apartment 28C. I think maybe you don’t understand how noise works: I can make it, but you can’t. It’s really simple, actually. You can’t blast music at 11pm because I’m trying to go to sleep, and the vibrations coming from your apartment make my bed shake. Conversely, I can wear heels and walk on my carpetless floors anytime I want. Do you see the difference? In one instance, you are bothering me, which is not ok. In the other instance, I am bothering you, which is just your tough luck. I think we understand each other now.
Well, now that we’ve cleared the air, I hope we can all go back to being civil. It’s been so awkward to have to cross the street to avoid all of you and to avoid making eye contact in the lobby and in the elevator. I think you can now see that I’ve been wrongly cast in the role of villain, and that maybe you should turn your fingers around and point them back at yourselves. On another note, so excited for the building’s Halloween party! Can’t wait for all of you to see my costume!
Michelle Smith, Apartment 29C
P.S. I am now a licensed real estate broker, so please reach out to me if you’re thinking of moving. I’d love to help!