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How To Outsmart Your Enemies – Part One: X-Ray Vision

iStock_000006522312XSmallLiving in High Rise Society is not like cocooning in the suburbs.  You must be ever vigilant.  When you move in no one comes running to greet you with a basket of muffins or a hot apple pie, like they do on Desperate Housewives, but they do watch to see if you smoke, or leave your trash on the floor, or are guilty of some other unpardonable offense.  I can’t promise that you will make friends, but odds are you will cultivate enemies.  

 Maybe not at first, but the longer you live there the greater the odds. It’s a fact of life in High Rise Society. If you’re in a position of power, you’ll probably have even more. Nixon had a whole list full. Eventually, like me, you may live there long enough that your enemies start moving or dying out, opening up apartments for would-be friends.  Until then the best way to handle your enemy is to drive him crazy by pretending he doesn’t exist, which is hard to do because, of course, he does exist and lives in the same building and could pop up like a Taliban fighter anywhere, any time — in the laundry, the mailroom, the lobby. No matter.

iStock_000008250871XSmallJust assume a zen-like attitude and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT – advice that’s easy for me to give, but hard to follow.  I’m not a passive person.  Even my yoga instructor tells me I have to relax and this is after two years of taking deep, cleansing breaths, and lying like a corpse for more hours than I can count (always with one eye open). 

The easiest way to say nothing to your enemy is not to see him.  That’s why you should take the service elevator which, in most buildings, dogs are supposed to use but never do. Neither do residents because they think they’re too good to ride in the dog elevator even though no dogs ride in it, which is why it’s less crowded and goes faster and you won’t have to make useless chit chat.         

iStock_000011011926XSmallIf the passenger elevator is sitting on your floor, look both ways to see if there are any enemies in sight, and when the coast is clear, enter at your own risk.  But beware that on the way down one of your enemies could get on, and greet you with a demonic laugh or a deranged look.  Just zip your lip, look straight ahead, and hope someone else comes aboard to serve as a human shield. Or take the stairs, which few residents do, unless they’re sneaking a smoke of some substance, legal or not. You’ll not only avoid your rival, but lose a few pounds.   If despite your precautions, you come face to face with your enemy, just look straight through him like an X-ray machine.

You can’t avoid getting emails (unless you change the spam setting in which case you’ll probably filter out junk you want), but you should resist the urge to respond even if you have to put yourself into a hypnotic state or a self induced coma.  Odds are your enemy will get so frustrated you haven’t taken the bait that he’ll start shooting off a slew of increasingly hostile electronic missiles, hoping to draw you in.  Do not engage in email warfare. When the dispute becomes public, as inevitably it will because there are no secrets in High Rise Society, he’ll look like a raving lunatic – and you the voice of reason.

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3 Responses to “How To Outsmart Your Enemies – Part One: X-Ray Vision”

  1. Stair Master says:

    Thanks for the advice. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to take the stairs. I live on the 19th floor so I figure at least I’ll have my nemesis to thank for helping me keep my new year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds.

  2. Fellow Sufferer says:

    My list is longer than Nixon’s. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

  3. Warrior says:

    Nothing wrong with an email war now and then. They get the juices flowing and let you vent — without any physical violence. Maybe our genuises in Washington should use email for our next war. We’d save a couple of trillion dollars.

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