Interpretation of the short-story "Neighbors".
The short-story "Neighbors", by Raymond Carver, was first published in June 1971 in the Esquire and later in "Where I"m calling from" (1989). In this story, told by an omniscient narrator, Bill and Arlene Miller are supposed to take care of their neighbors" (Jim and Harriet Stone) apartment while the couple is out of town, but they end up invading the Stones" privacy. By this they will compare their lives, apartment, relationship and even themselves. As a result of this comparison, they get depressed because they feel that the life of their neighbors is better than their own.
The first paragraph already tells that Bill and Arlene are unhappy about their lives, how boring is their jobs and how they envy the couple who lives across the hall, in the Millers" opinion, for having a much more exciting life.
The Stones are going to be away for ten days and in their absence, the Millers will look after their apartment, their cat and water the plants. These things will allow that Bill and Arlene get in Stones" home and, by consequence, in their lives. They will, actually, try to become Jim and Harriet.
The first time Bill gets in the apartment he sees a clock that makes him remember the day Harriet showed it to his wife and how it seemed to him that she was showing it off, what, apparently, makes him feel irritated. After feeding the cat, Bill goes to the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror, closes his eyes and then looks again. It seems like he was trying to become someone else: when he opened his eyes he wouldn't be him, he would have become other person. Maybe because he isn't the same anymore, he takes from the chest a container of pills of Harriet and puts it in his pocket. After that he goes to the living room, opens the liquor cabinet, takes two drinks and leaves, feeling that he had left something. .
From this point he is already trying to make that apartment his, and not only the apartment, but also the way of living of its previous inhabitants.