Hey neighbor, I know this is a lot to ask, but will you please watch me write my screenplay? Ever since the local coffee shop closed I’ve had to chisel away at my daily ten page quota without an audience. It’s really starting to hamper me creatively and I’m afraid the world will never get to experience this Lebanese neo-noir romcom.
You will? Oh, thank you so much! You don’t know it yet, but you’re saving modern cinema!
Right, then. I’ll just set up over here on the coffee table. Let me just make sure the Apple logo on my Macbook Pro is directly in your line of sight. The A5-sized Moleskine should really bring it home that I make more money than you.
Sure, a drink would be great. I’ll take a grande vanilla latte with almond milk. Yeah, black coffee is fine. But could you at least serve it in a test tube or watering can? And are those blueberry muffins I smell? Oh, right. Seems an odd choice for a Yankee Candle, but each to their own. How about a scone then? Or maybe a slice of red velvet cake? Okay, well if those are the only two options, I guess I’ll go with the store-brand Corn Flakes over the expired jar of peanut butter.
So usually the next step on my writing journey would be to ask the barista for the Wi-Fi password, but as you’re my neighbor and I already use your Wi-Fi, I guess we can just skip that part. Just a word of warning: the name of your French Bulldog is not a secure password.
You may have noticed by now I’ve not typed a single word in over three hours. Don’t be alarmed. It’s all part of the process. But rest assured, these next ten minutes are critical to this whole operation. I will now attempt to make eye contact with you several times in order to strike up a conversation. The first few times should be reserved exclusively for awkward nods and smiles. This builds a certain amount of tension which is essential for what we’re trying to accomplish here. By the fifth time we lock eyes, you should’ve ideally asked me what I’m writing about.
At this stage, you can just relax. The hard part is over. You’ve been successfully cornered into a conversation about my screenplay and there’s no escape. You’ve done your job. Put your feet up, have a nice sip of tea, and maybe let the cat out. It’s been scratching at that door for the last twenty minutes and it’s really starting to piss me off. Creatively, I mean.
Now, I should probably tell you that at no point will I mention any kind of plot. I will convey my screenplay to you in a series of vague analogies about “essence” and “thematic structure.” Do feel free to use this time to think about possible exit lines, whilst nodding politely at my comments about how the world needs a “less mainstream” version of Jurassic Park.
Please also consider that during this encounter I will not be asking about your life in any way. Who you are, what you do, or how many kids you have is of no interest to me. Your task is to listen to me explain how much my work has been influenced by Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach. That’s it. Finito. Any deviation from this and we may as well call it quits and I can try my luck with Margaret in 306. We both know she’d just be happy for the company.
Well luckily for you, I need the bathroom now. This would be the perfect time for you to sneak out before I get back. Just kidding. As we’ve developed the tiniest sliver of a relationship, I’ll likely ask you to watch all of my possessions whilst I relieve myself. Besides, this is your apartment and I’d strongly advise against leaving someone with a history of petty theft alone in it.
On that note, I should really get going. Before I leave though, do you have my Amazon package? That’s actually the real reason I came over.