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All across the world apartment dwellers are saying the same things to each other over and over again, and it bores me to tears. My friend is in a temporary living situation with two thirty-year old men who don’t wash their dishes. The tension came to a head recently, and it all played out as if from a script: she asked them to make an effort to keep the sink uncluttered; they said that they preferred to let the dishes build up until they had time for one massive purge; she mentioned that she had washed several sinks worth of their dirty dishes already; they said “well that was your choice.” Surely it is conversations like this that make Beethoven roll over in his grave, and not anything Chuck Berry ever did.  How can we all be so lacking in creativity? Why does the same result seem pre-ordained always and everywhere? Does every apartment just happen to have the same ratio of good human beings to morally retarded scoundrels? Have we simply lost the energy to be unpredictable? Last month, my 75-year-old downstairs neighbor knocked on my door and asked me, in all seriousness, to “please stop moving furniture late at night.” When the occupant of a chair stands up, the chair moves, which can create considerable vibration on a wooden floor: Is this so difficult to figure out? I couldn’t believe my ears. The “moving furniture late at night” line? And from a 75-year-old woman? Really? I was depressed for several days.

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