So the woman who lives in one of the apartments below me is either separated or divorced from her husband. She has two young boys – I think around five and three years of age. The little boys are extremely outgoing and always want to talk to me. Like most children do, they are often just seeking attention and repeatedly ask me the same questions such as, “Where do I live?” and “Which car is mine?” Sometimes there are no questions, just kind of broken sentences as they attempt to piece together thoughts to hold my attention.
The young woman has recently had a guy move in and they are playing house together. The guy is okay. I’ve never had a problem with him though the older boy did tell me he was “weird.” One evening, coming home from the gym, I was walking up to the stairs and the little boys were on the patio with new boyfriend. I see boyfriend lean down and whisper something to the little boys who gleefully shouted at me, “What’s up, bro?”
This exchange then occurred:
Me: (Somewhat caught off guard) What’s up, bros?
Little Boys: What’s up, bro?
This repeated about twice to where there was no more exchange and the little boys were simply shouting “What’s up, bro?” at me.
Mom then comes out of the patio screen door, obviously hearing the now one-sided exchange. Boyfriend is smiling obviously having orchestrated this entire situation.
Mom: (Leaning her head out of the now open screen sliding door and looking around) Hey, what is going on here?
Me: (Directed at the Mom) What’s up, bro?
Mom: (Directed at me) What’s up, bro?
The little boys are now full of life, seeing as their mother is participating in the exchange, and begin shouting the phrase at full tilt.
Me: (Realizing this is going nowhere) Hey bro, (directing the statement to the older brother) why don’t you come make me dinner?
Mom: Yeah, why don’t you go make him dinner?
Both boys now grow silent. Older brother cowers and shakes his head indicating this doesn’t seem like fun.
Me: Alright guys, well I need to run and make dinner since I don’t have a Mom to make it for me.
The little boys again begin shouting “What’s up, bro?” as I walk up the stairs. But, you see, the moral of the story is this – though I don’t have children of my own, I have been around long enough to know how they work. And, I knew in that moment, that boyfriend had created a monster and those kids were going to repeat that phrase for hours, days, even weeks.
And guess who isn’t playing house with downstairs neighbor…
I closed the door to my apartment and opened my windows. The little boys, hearing the noise, immediately began shouting the magic phrase.
Have fun boyfriend.