Everyone says the big city is anonymous. In fact, that is why some people prefer to live in the countryside where you know your neighbor’s kids’ names and everything. Thanks to the incredible clairaudient set up of my house, I do know a lot of things about my neighbors, but I never meet them. Maybe that is also because I am trapped in a Swedish approach to neighbor relations:
Last week, I quadrupled the number of neighbors I know. I can highly recommend this method if you really want to get to know those you live with. The method is called Lose your Mailbox Key. As I said before, I had lost my key (still a mystery how that could happen since all the other keys on the same key chain are still there) and after three weeks, I had given in to the truth that I could not rediscover it. I started inquiring what it would cost to have a professional key person change the lock and decided to do it myself. As I told #mydanishintern about the misery, she said she had a kit to break open locks because when she was younger that was her hobby. (Yeah, I thought that was interesting, too, but I guess we all had our youthful follies? Like me being an A*Teens fan.) The next day, she brought the news that the criminal kit was in Denmark but “I’m sure we can fix that with a screwdriver as well”. After work, she went home with me and we tried our luck. The result? We dropped the only screwdriver I had into the mailbox. This was the time when I reached out to my neighbours. Or maybe they reached out to me. The neighbour living on the ground floor rummaged through all her tools, the passing by neighbours who came home from work opened their mail boxes to demonstrate the mechanism for us, the kiosk owner next door provided me with more tools, and then finally a lady came down and said, “You know, go upstairs and ask my son!”
I did and met a very helpful 20-year-old who spent an hour with us, an iPhone flashlight, hair pins and Youtube (#mydanishintern: “I swear, on Youtube this looked a lot easier!”). After that hour, the mail box was still just as locked as before and he suggested I should ask the caretaker because he was really good at these things. I said, “Umm…the caretaker kind of hates me and doesn’t speak to me”. So my neighbour from below asked me for permission to break open my mail box with the caretaker which I of course gladly gave him. Two days later, I came home to an open mailbox! What a relief! I was already fearing proceedings because of unpaid collections simply because I could not access my bills. But what did I find? Only one bill, three postcards, a baby announcement and a letter from my dear little Anna that she wrote from camp. Boy, was I glad! Of course I rewarded the neighbour with cupcakes.
The outcome of the Lose your Mailbox Key Method:
accumulated joy over letters (if you don’t get any for three weeks and then so many in one day)
new young neighbour friend
numerous neighbour acquaintances who all think my hobby is breaking into mail boxes