Eleven o’clock- I opened the front door and began skipping down the flights of stairs to the communal mail area for our block of flats. I had peered out the window and seen the Royal Mail delivery dude at the next building over so I knew I’d get the thrill of unbundling and distributing the mail to the appropriate recipient bins. The bonus to this task (besides the nosy joy of being in everyone’s business) is that I usually get two high-quality red rubber bands-¬†mine to keep and use how I see fit. Forget that I have a bunch of them already; I like office supplies.
Anyway, I stopped somewhere on the first floor (which is the second one up, for my American friends) because I heard the old lady in flat number two unlatch her door and come into the hall. I looked down from above and saw my oddly uninhibited elderly neighbour sporting some black panties, bare legs, and a little t-shirt!
She was going to sort the mail!
Mind you, this is a quiet building and not much activity happens in the hall, but the entire entry frontage is protected only by clear glass to the outside world. The mailman was still making his rounds to the area…
I was stunned – mouth wide open -¬†and discreetly turned to make my quiet ascent back up to our flat. I tiptoed and hugged the wall so that if she looked up she wouldn’t see me creeping. Silently I latched my door behind me and decided it would be just fine, dare I say necessary, to wait for the mail just a little bit longer.
Now, to defend my neighbour’s skimpy choice of mail sorting attire, she has been acting a little bit crazy in recent months. Though we don’t know any details and everything I say is speculative, we’re pretty certain that when she disappeared for a few months earlier in the year that she was in hospital recovering from a stroke. All of the behavioural and visual clues seem to bolster this theory and I have heard that stroke patients can have a diminished awareness over what is typically seen as inappropriate behaviour. I think that’s why I saw my neighbour in her granny pants at the front door of the flats. I would never make fun of something like that, but it certainly wasn’t the vision I was expecting this afternoon!
I think I can give up my high-quality red rubber band habit to save me from an embarrassing mail sorting meet-up. The other option is that I start going down in my panties too, but I’m not sure she’d see my choice as a bonding experience. Nah, best to just live without the rubber bands…