Boo hoo, you hurt my feelings!

Published February 20, 2013 by Sandee


When I say a detached hello to people in my building, I’m simply practicing a neighborly vibe.  I think that some of the new, younger tenants think it’s annoying, because they don’t bother to say hello back.  Maybe they think I’m a pathetic lady trying to make friends.

I’ve been here 22 years and management has changed four times.  The apartments that aren’t rent stabilized or rent controlled are subjected to rent hikes based on the whim of the owners.

So new tenants, I understand your resentment and feeling of instability, especially when your rent goes up $300 after one year – ‘Oh for this dump!’ you think, as you probably qualify for better in your professional capacity.  You guys move in and out of here in the life span of cockroaches.

The solid tenants who have lumbered along in this ancient building for years are beneficiaries of rent stabilization or rent control, and I know them.  I have no idea who some of you newer ones are, but a couple of you are evil.

When you stare brazenly and don’t respond the few times I say ‘hello’ on different days — okay.  But when you fall with your garbage bag full of liquor bottles, and I’m ahead of you, turn around, see it’s you, and keep stepping, don’t mumble something that vaguely sounds like, ‘Thanks a lot for helping me’.

“What’d you say?  Fuck you.  You can’t say good morning, but expect me to help you?  Kiss my ass.”

You caught me on a bad day.  If you’d really hurt yourself, I would have helped.  I’m not a jerk.  You just became a convenient target for my anger that day.  I’ll practice self-control for the others.

There’s a four-eyed woman who rolled her eyes when I said hello.  Ouch!  But I should have taken that hint when we were in the laundry room.  I had the rare urge (You people don’t realize that I’m actually one of you.) to make small talk and you whipped around and snapped, “What!?”

That other one, who I stopped speaking to after no responses, looks at me expectantly, now that she has a new baby.  But, too late bitch – you don’t exist to me anymore.

See, I had a talk with myself to remind myself that I need to respect you all and your wishes not to speak to me, and that I shouldn’t take it personally.  While I’ll still hold the elevator door open for all of you, you are now, henceforth, nonentities.


59 comments on “Boo hoo, you hurt my feelings!

  • i know exactly what kind of people you speak of here..There is a younger woman at work who in 5 years has never once responded to my “good mornings”.she recently had a baby & brought the child to work one day and she came up to my office to show her off, I just shut the door.. Boo-ya!

  • lol, love this post! You don’t post as often it seems. I miss the days when you don’t 😉 I never speak to my neighbors unless I am in a situation where I am forced to. I like the fact that all of my neighbors see me and the “strange, mysterious lady”. People around here are so nosy, I know it drives them crazy! lol

  • The tradition of greeting one another is falling apart in many “modern” or western cultures. Those who most likely will greet you back are people of a certain age. But there’s no garanties.
    One of the things I love about the West Indies, is that the greeting culture is alive. Greeting people shows acknowledgement and respect. The only people here, who doesn’t greet back when I greet them, are tourists. Sometimes I’m being looked at with great suspicion… “Is she a hustler? What does she want from us?” Uncomfortable panic in their eyes. Such a pity.

    • I am so glad that it is still around -for the most part, here in Canada. In the Building where I live, everybody still says hello or good morning, or good night. I like that. And people help each other and hold the door for each other. I like living in Canada 🙂

      • Yeah SSG — I can totally imagine it being that way there. It makes the environment more pleasant. We don’t have to be friends, but at least be good neighbors. You never know when you’ll be locked out of your apartment with your phone inside. There are in fact lots of nice people who live here in the city and who say hello, etc. These couple of people I speak of are not the norm.

    • Anette, I can imagine the native people being friendly in these areas — it’s like a village perhaps. I wonder if the tourists are thinking of some of those horror stories where they’re targeted by local petty criminals. It is a pity that it has to be that way.

      But even in the states in suburbs, or even in the bronx neighborhood, riverdale, where I work, people do make eye-contact and say hello, or even just smile. It’s so refreshing. I know in a lot of southern states the people say hello.

  • Seriously? What is wrong with everyone? How easy and simple is it to respond to a nice hello? Sometimes, when I’ve had that experience, I decide that I WILL get a hello if it kills me. You will reply, damn it!!!! haha! I’ve been known on occasion to confront a person, “I’m sorry, is there a reason you don’t, or can’t say hello to me?” That’s the best! It’s so in their face and they have no where to squirm. hahaha! I highly recommend doing this next time you’re feeling brazen.
    Don’t the conversations/thoughts in your head make you feel like a schizophrenic sometimes? When I lived in NYC I always had this running dialogue in my head — it was crazyville. LOL!

    • I love it Lisa! I don’t know if I could go so far as to confront them. But I might nurture a fantasy where they need me for something and I just look right through them and act like I don’t know who they are. Well, that incident with the guy falling really did happen, which I’m not proud of, but something along that line…

      To offset the crazyville in my head, I must talk to a real live friend — hahaha! The conversations in my head sometimes do make me feel so schizophrenic that I have to get the heck out asap!

  • That’s crazy. You’re in NYC, right? I miss NYC…but, these days, not living there (or SF) and remembering just how rude “hip,” “urban” babies can be…ugh. UGH! What is WRONG with people, I want to scream? WHO RAISED YOU? It’s hard not to take it personally when you’re living in the same building, but eh, their loss. AND, save your energy for the good of us out there, of which there are many, many awesome peeps waiting to create a friendship, bond, or happy vibe with you. Rock on. And, good morning!!! 😉

    • Aw — what a cool comment! I am in NYC. But it isn’t as rude and cold as the cliche goes — I don’t think so anyway. I do wonder in fact if some of these youngins who live in my bldg. are transplants who think you’re supposed to behave this way — like you say, maybe they think ‘hip’, ‘urban’ people are like this — hahaha! I grew up in NYC and have worked here all my life and would never ignore someone’s greeting. Thanks for believing in the vibe! Thanks DDG!

  • Even living in a small town, there are people that don’t respond. Mostly they seem to be of the younger generation. There are disadvantages to everyone knowing everyone else, like a quick trip to the grocery store can take forever! I have been known to duck behind the cheese doodle display so I didn’t have to have a long conversation when I am in a hurry to get my shopping done and get out of there.

    • Hiding behind the cheese doodle display — hahaha! — I totally understand. I don’t want to be getting into long conversations with people on the way home either — that happens here as well. And I’ve been known to do some weird things just to avoid talking to people. I wish there were a balance where people knew how to take a fleeting hello — I try making it as detached as possible, but these youngins might fear it means they’ll have to hide behind a cheese doodle display 🙂

    • I appreciate that Stacie! Thanks so much! It’s pretty messed up, but in an odd way I feel it’s too bad for them that they choose to ignore neighborly gestures. Oh well, their loss!

  • I love this story. I’ve reflected as well on how intense the experience can be of having someone I don’t even know refuse to acknowledge me. And, I’ve come to think that I can actually learn a lot about myself by paying close attention to how I feel when that happens. For one thing, I know I can survive the experience of not being greeted, and perhaps that can inspire me to take more risks, and reach out to more people, than I otherwise would have talked to.

    • This is a good way to deal with a situation like this. I think is a good thing to see what positive thing I can learn from negative interactions, keeping the focus on me at all times. Thanks for the comment Chris!

  • I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN, SANDEE! In my old building, I was in a rent-stabilized apartment, along with a few other folks who had moved in around the same time as I had, plus a lot of people who had lived there for at least 20 years already. We were all polite to each other, we knew each other’s names, we’d stop and chat, etc etc. And then all these little trust fund babies and other assholes started moving in, and they’d ignore me too when I tried to say hello. They’d deliberately avoid eye contact, refrain from holding doors or any other things decent people do. So one day this bitch was coming into the building right behind me and she made NO effort to take the door from me. So I let it slam in her face. It was one of the most satisfying “WHAM!” noises I’ve ever heard.

    • Jackpot! I love hearing stuff like this. I hope it hurt too!

      Like Margarita says, these people just don’t understand the concept of neighbors. I’ve come to the aid of neighbors, neighbors have come to my aid — for Christ’s sake we live in the same house really. It makes for a pleasant atmosphere when you can say a friendly hello. I don’t even necessarily want to be friends with these people, which is why my ‘hellos’ are detached, but maybe they don’t get that.

  • Sandee, I’ve lived in my little brownstone on the Upper West Side for almost 30 years, so I’ve seen a lot of tenants come and go. Whenever I run into anyone in the vestibule or the hall, we always say hello and people hold the door for one another. I don’t know many tenants by name, and I don’t pry into their lives nor do they pry into mine, but there’s always been genuine civility and mutual courtesy. I have had a few asshole next door neighbors from time to time, but they have moved on. Unfortunately, I think they may have moved into your lovely building. Sorry buddy!

    • That’s the way it should be. This made me laugh — that these miserable people have moved into my building. I think they have!

      I like the way you put it “genuine civility and mutual courtesy” — exactly!

    • These people aren’t aware of this — I really do believe you should in a way ‘love your neighbor’ — we’re all living so close to each other. Ah well — at least there are nice ones who do believe in the whole civility and mutual courtesy thing as Lame Adventures mentions.

  • This is very deep Sandee. I always think about how some people we are surrounded by treats us on a day to day basis- as if we are nothing. But would be quick to stop and say hi and pet a complete strangers’ dog. Sometimes I wonder if some of these people who praise my words on here, if they would even care to talk with me face to face, or even acknowledge me… unfortunately, this is the way of the world. People look at you as if you’ve lost your marables when/if you say hello… On the up side, I’ve been down south where the people are super nice and sweet. 🙂

    P.S. 22 years is a very long time. It’s a beautiful brown stone.

    • Some people just don’t appreciate that kind of a neighborly exchange so I have to respect it. It isn’t bone crushing though — haha — one less person that I have to exert energy saying hello to, huh. I was saying the same thing about the south also — even here, like in Riverdale in the Bronx where I work the people say hello to you in the street.

  • Heeee…”garbage bag full of liquor bottles” is where I needed to stop & take a break. LOL. I know plenty of people like that and I reward their attitude with a slow blink whenever they speak to me in anticipation of something.

    • Thanks Eye-Dancers! I really appreciate the nomination! I don’t accept awards but keep the nomination close to my heart — whatever the heck that means! Generally, I’m honored but I don’t do any of the awards ‘things’ you do or display them. I display cakes on my blog however, you might have noticed! Have a great day and thanks for thinking of me.

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