Please Won’t You Be My Ex-Neighbor

God, give me the balls to say leave me alone

Daniel Williams
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readMay 26, 2024


by author

I hate unplanned conversations.

Because they’re unplanned, I have no idea why they’re happening, and I don’t know how long they’re going to last.

I’m so polite on the outside, I’ll ruin my day to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, which means I could be in some accidental talk about local government and how “We needed this rain” until one of us dies.

Such encounters shouldn’t happen often, but there are people out there hunting for unplanned conversations with me, people who can’t read the agony in my eyes (or they love it), people you might call conversational sadists.

You also might call them my neighbor.

He’s been known to pull off incredible feats of stealth, to appear out of nowhere, out of a bush like God, just to chat.

He’s been known to chat all over me for 52 minutes straight when all I wanted was to accompany my trashcan to the street.

He’s also (and mostly) been known to be retired.

But don’t you dare feel bad for him.

His life is beautiful.



Daniel Williams
Human Parts

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.