Dear Ms. Demeanor,
My neighbor has a tendency to stop by unannounced just to say hi (or have an impromptu playdate between our kids). I feel like I can never relax in my apartment in case she's coming. What should I do?
Signed, Jerri S.
Your neighbor has Kramer Syndrome and you are the one suffering from it. Kramer Syndrome is found in every country, at all socioeconomic levels, wherever humans habitate in close proximity to other humans.
Only hermits are innoculated against its insidious development, though it may be the root cause of why they become hermits in the first place.
In many parts of the world, the popover visit--the most obvious manifestation of K.S.--is traditionally avoided by drawing the shades and hiding in the basement when 'the Kramer' comes over.
Clearly New York City's vertical village does not afford such an escape. You are forced to either live with it, deal with it, or move to the 'burbs.
I would speak directly and frankly to your neighbor. Tell her that you love your close relationship and close proximity but sometimes you want to predictably have your own time and space. Ask that she call (or text) first but assure her that you are always there for her when she needs you.
*other symptoms include grocery shopping in your panty, riffling through your mail, borrowing your newly dry-cleaned clothing, and stealing your newspaper.
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to email@example.com and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.