One thing about city life is how close the houses are to each other. Specifically, how close our kitchen window is to the dining room window of the house next door. (I’m guessing twelve feet). More specifically, how close our kitchen sink (over which I am wont to shamelessly bury my head in my tilted cereal bowl, the better to direct its milky dregs into my mouth) happens to be to our elderly academician neighbor’s dining room table (piled high with books and newspapers and, entering from the right, his pale, unsteady hand, with which he attempts, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to open the newspaper).
Even more specifically, how close our eyeballs are, as they lock after these aforementioned forays into what we thought was private behavior; me, a small dribble of almond milk running down my chin, and he trying, with a trembling forefinger, to adjust the reading glasses which have slipped halfway down his nose.
When we see each other on the street, we greet each other as if none of this never happened. This is what is known as the protocol of proximity. It is also the day I finally make it over to Target to buy curtains.