11/8/06

Mr. Octopus

Mr. Octopus lived above us when we had a place on the edge of the city. We never directly interacted except for the couple times he came down to tell me my music was too loud. The first time he came I wasn't expecting it and he suprised me and I was very apologetic even though I really didn't consider the music too loud. The building was old though and I knew I should make nice with our new neighbors. The second time, I was listening to noisy music at a moderate level and just as I was wondering if it might be too loud I heard a door above me slam close and heavy steps on the staircase that descended over our kitchen window and echoed throughout the house. I knew Mr. Octopus was coming and I quickly rolled the volume knob to mute and froze on the floor where I had been reading a magazine and enjoying the sun. There was a knock. I stayed still. There was another knock. I remained fixed on the floor and tried to wait out the silence. I wanted to hear him give up and go upstairs but he persisted with a third knock that rattled the poor door and with this I decided to just get through with it and went to the door. I tried to act like I had been asleep with the music on and had not been aware of the unfortunate racket it was causing. I don't think it worked, but I was careful with the volume after that and we never spoke again.
Mr. Octopus was a little fat. He appeared a bit bloated and unhealthy and I don't know what a good color is for an octopus but his did not look good. I imagine it was very hard for him in the city. There weren't many octopi in the city to begin with and while the city was on a very large bay there was no way he could possibly visit it regularly. His work hours were also very late. We would lay in bed at night and hear him ascend the stairs out front and tumble into his room thrashing his eight legs out all over the place. We would have been upset about all the noise at such an hour had we not felt so sorry for him.
Mr. Octopus also many problems with water. The bathtubs we had in our rooms were not terribly large and I can understand if they did not suit the needs of an creature of the sea. All around his flat Mr. Octopus kept buckets full of salt water he had brought back from his trips to the sea or had simply filled in the kitchen and added piles of salt to. This way he could keeps parts of him, his legs, his head, his back submerged and slightly lessen the frustration of always being on dry land. This wasn't a problem for us, indeed we hoped for nothing more than his well-being, except for the times he would accidentally tip one of these buckets over and spill water to come dripping down through our ceiling. One morning I woke up to find water flooding our toilet room and another time we opened the front door to find water pouring off the landing above us in such quantities we thought we were receiving our own personal rain shower.
Now that we have left the city I sometimes wonder how Mr. Octopus is doing. I hope he is leading a life that suits his needs better: eating better, sleeping better, working better hours. And getting very very wet.

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