Someone rings the bell. Since the intercom isn’t working I figure I’d better go downstairs to open the door myself because I’d rather not just let anyone in the building. As I make my way to the floor below I see a guy leaning against the wall. No, not creepy, not creepy at all but against my better judgement I decide to keep walking towards him.
He sees me and smiles. No, not creepy, VERY creepy but I’ve made it this far so I might as well go all the way and face my fears. I am now standing right in front of him and ask: “Did you just ring the bell?”
He responds by offering to shake my hand and says “Merry Christmas!”
It’s not Christmas yet but why the hell not, so I reach to shake his hand. He squeezes and I’m glad neither of us is wearing any rings on our fingers as they’d be ruined at this point or permanently embedded to my bones.
I take my hand back and ask again “Did you just ring the bell?” to which he responds with “I’m from Africa!”. He offers another handshake which I take as a request for approval or a nice-to-meet-you kind of a deal so I go for it. He turns my hand into a throbbing mash and I take back the remains. By that point I am lost for words and there’s a second where I am just looking at him inquisitively. He goes “Awwww give me a hug!”
I have no way to defend myself so the only thing I can think of is to not anger the hand-squashing daemon and to play along. Either way, he grabs me and squeezes tightly. I get a little dizzy from the distillery smell emanating from each and every one of his pores and as he lets go he asks “Do you smoke?”
Now, I can see what’s going on. He’s just a drunk neighbour. I say yes and he responds with “Aaaah, disgusting habit”. So I decide to have a little fun of my own and say “and the worst thing is that I also bite my nails, quite the bad combo” as if drinking like there’s no tomorrow on a school night is a noble pastime.
He tries to unlock the door to his apartment using his key chain and not one of the keys. He offers another handshake, this time with his left hand and I think to myself that this is his weaker hand and a good opportunity to end the madness. He turns my other hand to jam before I have the chance to take it back. I ask him one last time if it was him who rang the bell and he smiles and nods “yes”. I start to back away, “that’s okay”, “have a good night”.