Because I intend to tell my story in order, I figure that I should intersperse the longer, more narrative chunks with other content. Mostly, I'm intending for these interstitials to be helpful information about how to deal with some of the problems that I've come across in the past few years. I figure that I should also share some gems about Daniel - stuff that doesn't necessarily fit into the larger narrative, but that's also too remarkable to leave undocumented.
On Saturday, Daniel sniffed me.
Conversations with Daniel usually follow the same sort of script (at least when he's sober enough to recognize me). They start with a coy greeting, followed by a request for some sort of reassurance that I don't hate him. After that, he usually demands that I join him for a drink, and then harasses me when I decline the invitation. Saturday was, for the most part, on script.
I should preface the story by mentioning that I was in rough shape by my own (somewhat meticulous) standards. I'd had more than a couple of drinks the night before, and between that malaise and the cold I'd been fighting off, I'd spent most of the morning laying in bed with my laptop and trying to summon a cup of coffee with my mind. By 1:00pm, I'd decided that if I pulled on a hat and something resembling outdoor-appropriate clothing, I was decent enough to duck into the 7-11 next door. I even brushed my teeth, put on deodorant, and added my glasses to the ensemble, Clark Kent-style. Classy lady right here, folks.
Of course, who did I run into on my way back into the building but Daniel?
"Hey you," he sing-songed, I assume because he can only remember my face when he's sober, so I highly doubt he knows my name.
"Hey Daniel," I replied, taken aback and dreading the upcoming conversation.
"You smell good!" Daniel gushed, invading my personal space in a way that I generally deny my friends, let alone a man that I would consider my nemesis. I stepped back.
"I'm sure it's just my coffee," I assured him, laughing nervously as I tried to evade his next maneuver.
He stepped forward. He leaned in. He inhaled. He actually fucking SNIFFED me.
"No, you smell good!" he continued to gush. I can only imagine the bar was not only low, but that the bar in this metaphor was of the sort that required a liquor license. I could smell the stale booze on him from this distance, and it was not a pretty aroma.
I'm not really sure what I said. What could anyone possibly say in response to being SNIFFED by their neighbor? I was reeling from the audacity of this terrible man and the way he could still surprise me after 5 months of dealing with his shit. I made a move for the door, but he wasn't finished yet.
"Come have a drink with me," he demanded. As mentioned earlier, it was 1:00pm on a Saturday afternoon.
"No, Daniel, I have things to do today," I replied, thinking of all the things I was leaving unsaid: Things like buying moving boxes. Things like beginning to uproot my life yet again. Things that I'm forced to do because of you, Daniel.
"Why are you such a good girl?" he sneered, turning sour after I denied his demands. "Do you even drink?" he asked.
"Yeah, Daniel, I'm hungover right now," I exaggerated.
I spent the next several minutes making excuses, all the while thinking about how much I'd love to tell him to fuck off. To tell him that I couldn't think of a single person who I would less like to spend time with than him. Finally, I walked away, tossing a "Sorry, Daniel, I've got things to do," over my shoulder.
I didn't look back.