Excerpt:

When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbour had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I've had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offence.

It turns out, it wasn't a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighbourly and -- to me -- entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief "good morning" as I passed my neighbours on the way to work.

Still, it was enough of an affront for the man -- once a doctor somewhere in the Middle East, my landlady clarified -- to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death.

I expect the battle will wage on, as we appear to be stuck at an impasse.


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