“the karen chronicles” chapter ii

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This encounter with Karen is not as shocking as the first, but if I write it well enough, it should be worth reading.

Some of you may remember my first story detailing the characters that live in our apartment building and especially our dealings with Karen (Karen is not her real name - also I wish I would have given her a more creative pseudonym, but what’s done is done). 

We recently had another “situation” with her that I’d love to catalog on my blog. 

It all started one night at 9pm while Joe and I were cleaning up the kitchen. We got a text:

Karen: “Hi Guys: are either of you home tmrw during the day? I have a favor to ask. 🙃”

If you’re like us, right now your initial response is: “tell me what the favor is, and I’ll tell you if I’m home tmrw.” But you can’t be that honest with a stranger. Also I don’t like that upside down smiley face. Seems ominous, right? So we said…

“Hey Karen what’s up?” …trying to fish it out of her. 

She wasn’t budging… “Can you give me a quick call and I can explain. Thx”

We decided to tell her we were in the middle of something and could talk tmrw because we were a little annoyed and just wanted to relax for the evening. Also don’t text us at 9pm at night, ask if we can help you with a mystery favor, and then ask us to call you about it. Bad form. 

The next day, she texted: 

“Are you guys home just now?”

Yes, we were home. We are home most of the time. Both of us work from home. So we told her:

“Yep we are here working. What’s up?”

“Nevermind got it figured out. Thx.”

The suspense! Karen, please tell us what you need without us having to ask!

That evening, Joe and I were eating dinner and watching a really intense documentary called “Heal” on Netflix. It was about the power of meditation, the drug industry, and why placebo works, etc. We were really into it and very engaged, when we heard a timid knock on the door. 

We were completely thrown off guard because no one ever knocks on our door, but we both immediately knew it was Karen. 

“Sorry to bother you guys. But I wanted to come over and explain what I was texting about because it’s too confusing to put into a text…”

She then went on to explain that her laptop is very slow, and she has a very slow operating system. Also she’s having new Fios internet installed in a few days. She’s been needing to check her finances a lot lately, and has to make multiple trips to the bank to do so, and she was just wondering if she could come over one day soon and use one of our laptops. 

Right now, you’re thinking this is an obvious ‘no’. So many red flags here like “why don’t you update your computer?” Or “Don’t you do graphic design for a job, and so shouldn’t your computer be fast enough already?” “We know you have a new iPhone, so why not check your bank account on that?” “If you need to use a computer, why not go to the library a block up the street?” Not to mention all the security reasons for not letting a stranger use your personal laptop containing every important work and personal document. And so on. 

But in the moment (especially the moment after just finishing dinner and a glass of wine, being spread out on the couch dazzled by a new Netflix documentary) you’re not that quick on your feet. 

We must have been watching her explain this with our mouths wide open, visibly confused. And after that we just said, “…uh okay, sure. Can we figure it out tmrw?”

After she left, we regretted not asking some more questions, but the next day we decided to text her about it to see if she wanted to come over in the afternoon to use our laptop. We were just going to open a new private window for her to use. It would be a little weird to have her in our apartment, but we were a tiny bit interested in what other stories we could accumulate because of it. 

Joe: “Hi Karen, do you want to stop over this afternoon to use our laptop? Or would you like to use our WiFi for a bit until yours gets installed?” 

Karen: “So it’s not the WiFi it’s my actual computer OS. It’s out of date as is my computer and my online banking is only on the latest browsers. I’m actually not feeling good just now can we try Tmrw? Much appreciated. 🙏🏼”

Tmrw. Always tmrw.

We didn’t know how to respond. We were a little annoyed that she seemed to think she could just reschedule her computer time at our place for whenever was most comfortable for her. In the meantime, we had searched reddit for a similar situation and even posted our story for advice. We had a number of people tell us not to let her use it and just refer her to the library, so this text felt like a way out.

She never texted about it again. Until three weeks later this text came in:

“Hey do either of you have a iPad I could borrow Wed?”

We kind of laughed. We don’t have any kind of relationship with her or know each other very well at all. Would you ask a neighbor you didn’t know to borrow their personal computers? I’m actually curious. This felt so strange to me.

Luckily we don’t have an iPad, so the answer was easy. 

“We don’t have one sorry!”

“Ok thanks for coming back and letting me know.”

Thanks for coming back and letting me know. A nice response? Or a polite way of saying “thanks for responding to my texts again, you punk kids!”?

The world may never know what is truly going on in the mind of Karen. It’s fascinating, and I can speculate and ruminate and make up crazy narratives. But we may never truly know. 

Until next time.