Pedro is a nice man who lives two floors above me. He’s sweet and and has a fascinating history. He was a young boy in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. He escaped to Paris, leaving his parents and family behind. He landed in France just at the dawn of World War II. He witnessed atrocities you and I can only hope to never imagine. Although he will force you to imagine these atrocities every time you leave your apartment to buy dish soap.
“The children were crying on the train. Hungry and alone. They ask for nothing, and receive the dust of the dead in return…”
“Yeah, that’s really, really….bad.”
“Sometimes when I sleep, I still hear the gunshots. The drum beats of a human darkness I cannot unknow…”
“I just need to get some soap…”
It’s not that I’m an evil person. But you have to understand, this is what happens to me every time I leave my apartment…for four years now. It’s like waking up every morning with your DVD player cued up to the shower scene from Schindler’s List. And you have to watch it because what are you, an ass hole?
The other night, I went out for something to eat and Pedro chose to walk with me. The subway passed overhead as we were walking down 31st street.
“11 cars on that train. 9 of them explode. Dead! ALL DEAD!”
I nodded and took a sip of my milk shake.
“That sounds like a freakin’ disaster.”
I was annoyed. I’m just trying to get some fries here, dude. We got home and I quickly said goodnight to Pedro. I was sitting on my couch, eating my fries, when I realized something about myself. Something that made me reconsider my entire relationship with my upstairs neighbor. If I ever, EVER saw someone get killed, it would be the 6th thing I ever said to anyone I met for the rest of my life. You know what? If I ever saw someone lose a limb, three days wouldn’t go by without me bringing it up anecdotally with the start-up line “Holy shit! Do you know what happened to me one time?” I went to a museum last week and I’ve told at least 150 people about it.
“It wasn’t just the artwork itself…it was the exhibition. It was like walking through a story. Here, let me show you my Hipstamatics.”
God help those around me the next time I need stitches.