Being Neighborly

The Exaltation of Joshua Jay Contest ends today at noon, New York time.

The entries will be voted on by the Jerx Advisory Board (i.e., some friends of mine). The top vote getters will be announced on Monday with the winner chosen in some random manner on Tuesday.

Just a quick anecdote today…

The apartment across the hall from where I’m staying had been vacant for a few weeks. The door was unlocked during that time and I would go in and walk around the empty apartment wondering if there was some things I might be able to set up and utilize in a trick at a later point in time. Maybe months from now. This may seem psychopathic, but it was kind of just a mental exercise.

So I set up for the Time Traveler’s Toilet (they certainly may lift the toilet lid in the ensuing months, in which case they might be a little confused, but I don’t think they’d find it that weird). And I carved a little something on the underside of a drawer to be used as part of a revelation in a routine. And a couple other little things.

I figured I may never even end up speaking to these people, and even if I did, we may never have the sort of relationship where I’m showing them magic. But that’s okay. I don’t mind planting a seed that might never grow.

The other night I got home around 9:30, grabbed some items from my place and went across the hall and opened the door to the other apartment.

And there are three people sitting on cardboard boxes eating pizza.

And there’s me with a bottle of anti-fog spray in one hand and a q-tip in the other. (Long story. Part of a trick idea I had with their bathroom mirror.)

“Oh…hey,” I said, cleverly, as they all stared at me.

“Sorry, I didn’t know anyone had moved in and I heard noises and I came to check it out.” So I just barged right in instead of knocking in this scenario? I guess. And what was my plan? Was I going to blind the intruders with anti-fog spray and bludgeon them with a Q-tip? I tried to play it off like I just happened to have those objects in my hands from something I was doing back in my place. I’m not sure how convincing I was at changing their perception of me from “home invader” to “good samaritan,” but I did my best.

I sort of salvaged the interaction by being warm and welcoming and normal for the next 15 minutes or so. But sadly I lost that element I had hoped to take advantage of in a future interaction: the notion that I had never been in their apartment and obviously couldn’t have arranged anything there. Now if I ever do something I’m sure they’ll think, “Oh, he probably set that up when he was creeping around our house like a maniac before we moved in.”

I’ll update you if I ever take advantage of anything I set up over there. Don’t hold your breath.