At one time or the other you might have been the new kid in class, the strange face amongst those clearly acquainted. The gateman might have also asked you the person you’re visiting when you happen to have been in residence for the past two weeks. Or maybe you ran into a few people in the premises and because of robes, hairnet and other night wear you knew they lived in the building, but you had not been introduced.
Unlike Oyibos that roll out the red carpet when new people move into their neighbourhood (as movies/sitcoms would have us believe), this doesn’t really happen here unless in really small gated communities or a neighbourhood where those newly back from the Diaspora reside (please correct me if I’m wrong). The average Nigerian I’m not sure deems it necessary. Most people just moving into an apartment are focused more on settling in and getting acquainted with others is not usually a priority.
In this day and age of disconnect though, it has become more of getting familiar with the requirements of the estate or the like. Knowing when levies and other fees are due is more important than any other thing. Although those dynamics change if you happen to know someone that already lives there and helps with getting integrated into that community.
I have a new neighbour upstairs and haven’t the foggiest idea what they look like. However, I know they like to arrange and re-arrange their furniture…constantly! I know this because the sound of constantly dragged chairs, sofas, stools or whatever in the world is unmistakable. I’ve heard it in the morning; the sound has reached me at night and on weekends too. So although I can’t say much about them, I know they either like to move things around a lot or maybe the positioning is not quite right for the pieces they have.
It’s pretty interesting because the people that moved out were quiet and not once did I hear furniture dragged about. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Of which, my neighbour (lives directly below) called me the other day, he hadn’t seen me in a few days and wondered. I’m a homebody so the call was a pleasant surprise. It’s possible for me to be indoors for two days with people none the wiser. Unlike another apartment where loud music is the signature and the lack thereof lets on to Isaac’s absence.
Just like marketing, each person has a USP that makes the community distinct. Learning the skills to navigate these human relations makes life more interesting. It’s just like the Brits have decided to bid farewell to their closest neighbours in the EU and go it alone. The Neighbours sitcom makes for hilarious dissection of the dynamics involved in this relationship wouldn’t you say?