I have lived in an second floor apartment for the last 6 months. There are 50 apartments. I had taken note of the person's name who lives right above me but I had no idea which person she was. Or, I should say, who she is. She definitely is up there. I usually hear her anytime she is in the matching room where I am below her, which is unusual since the building is new and well insulated.
In the early weeks I didn't notice the activity going on above because when I was home I was moving around getting settled.
Later, I got into the habit of snuggling in my favorite living room spot to read or watch TV some evenings. I always knew when she was home. Thump, clunk, slam. It made me more curious than annoyed. It was the sound of life, which made me think she had some big project going she would eventually finish. I admire people who get things done.
Then, suddenly the noise stopped. I sort of missed it. Hmm. Had she moved?
I didn't get around to inquiring at the office if she had. Then, abruptly the ceiling came to life again and we were back in production. One Sunday evening it was pretty intense. But, it struck me funny for some reason as I imagined all sorts of things she might be doing. Hmm—building a house? practicing cheerleader routines? or??
Maybe because the TV program was boring, I grabbed my notepad and began to construct her handwriting, based on the pattern of activity I had been hearing. I wrote fast and furious and it was a fun exercise. I also wrote a description of what I expected her to look like and be like.
Here is what I came up with: an energetic woman with a dominant personality, large frame, maybe tall (? That was strictly guesswork.) Maybe a no-nonsense directness in her speech would be evident, just like her determined walk was. (I didn't need to guess on that part.)
As for the handwriting I expected to see: large writing, tangled on the page, little consideration as to the appearance or aesthetics. (A 'mover and a shaker' writing, for sure, and I wasn't hearing a graceful person.) I predicted a lack of lead-in strokes on words (she moved with purpose like a direct person with energy does) long tails on extenders in the healthy lower loops (physical movement and an idea person ? I thought it might be heavy pressure writing, based on her heavy footedness.) Erratic spacing, changeable letter size and lots of intersecting lines. (I had heard too many erratic movements back and forth for several hours at a time to suggest methodical and orderly prioritizing.)
I tucked my musings away in a file that night. She was still going at it when I went to bed, mercifully she was overhead but one room away.
Two weeks later, a postcard appeared on the community bulletin board signed by her. She had gone on a long trip across the world. (Okay, I admit I am guilty. I snitched it off the board very late one night, looked it over for an hour or so and then tacked it back up. How could I resist?)
Sometimes, I am amazed.
The postcard writing was very, very close to my anticipation of what I expected to see. It was not complicated writing to analyze. A very 'out there' person. The content made some joke about 'finding a man' on the trip.
So, that was Part One. Then, I became very curious to see her for real. I didn't know if I ever would.
Some weeks later I was chatting several feet outside the front entrance with a woman friend who lives here. The front entrance door abruptly popped open and a sturdy woman in her 60s came striding out with her trash in hand, clearly on a mission. As she almost whizzed past us with a nod, my friend stopped her with a quick question about her trip. Then, she quickly introduced me as "the person below you on the second floor."
The woman riveted her intense gaze on me, as she looked down from several inches higher than I am, then spontaneously put out her hand and delivered a hearty shake with a smile. "I hope I don't get too loud for you." I smiled and she got why.
Although the hurried pace and heavy pressure of her steps continue, things are quieter otherwise. She is a real person to me now. I figure I could use the broom handle to gently remind her to quiet down if it gets bad again. No—just kidding. I don't think more will be necessary. You know, I am glad she shows signs of an active life. So, many people don't.
But, I might have her in for coffee and maybe she will tell me if she finished the house or made the team.