Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Like a Good Neighbor

My apartment building used to have so much promise. I remember when the realtor cheerfully pointed out the hardwood floors and the large windows before spending an inordinate amount of time on the stainless steel kitchen fixtures, as if I'd previously lived in a place without working faucets. Her hard sell on the running water worked, though. I signed a contract and for a while everything was as delightful as it looked in the brochure.

Then other people started living here.

After two years, the turnover rate is higher than at even the most dismal fast food establishments and I'd bet that Sonic's Senior Frito Crusher has been making Chili Cheese Wraps longer than anyone has been on my floor. Most of the original owners have long since U-Hauled out of here, renting their units to other people who have, in turn, rented them out to someone else, with each generation getting crankier, dirtier and more willing to somehow triple-park their Tinkerbell-stickered Mini Coopers.

Or even to own a Tinkerbell-stickered Mini Cooper.

The current property managers are the second in a series of increasingly unconcerned, unhelpful companies who only materialize on the premises if there are free gelato samples in the coffee shop downstairs. A pair of Saturdays ago, someone spent the early morning hours prying my gas cap off and helping themselves to all the Exxon in my tank. The property dudes shrugged it off, telling me it was "probably just my friends pulling a prank", which is the crappiest explanation ever since 1) I don't even have friends and 2) if I did, they wouldn't be the kind who'd autograph the side of my car with a series of deep scratches.

And then there are the elevator rides, which are more terrifying than anything this side of a carnival in a strip mall parking lot. You haven't experienced misery until you've descended top to bottom with either the fiftysomething woman whose face is frozen in a permascowl and always smells like Band-Aids or the elderly medical experiment who will corner you to tell you all about his latest exploratory surgery. Yesterday, I awkwardly balanced two bags of groceries while he breathlessly explained the benefits of no longer having a functioning asshole.

After unpacking my Fruit Rollups and Bagel Bites and debating whether to soak my short-term memory with bleach, it was time to drag Pigpen around the block. As I held his leash and mashed the DOWN button, I braced myself for whatever reeking, recently-stitched creature could be on the other side.

Instead, it was...a guy. He was fortysomething with an expensive haircut and the kind of sharply chiseled features you see either advertising cologne or tempting a very married Judith Light in a number of Lifetime movies. I dragged The Pig onto the elevator and pressed the already-illuminated LOBBY circle because I'm increasingly nervous around attractive men. Or any men, really.

"R.E.M., huh?", he asked, jerking his chin--covered with carefully-cultivated stubble, natch--toward the image of Michael Stipe wrapped around my ribcage.

"Yeah, R.E.M." I said, because I'm good with words.

"Are they still alive?"

"Yes, all four of them are still kicking. Although original drummer Bill Berry left in 1997 and has been replaced by Bill Rieflin." A pause. "He used to play for Ministry."

"Right, only Bills can drum for them, got it."

"Well, they did have Barrett Martin for a minute and then Joey Waronker but yeah, it's mainly Bills."

The doors graciously opened before I could bury myself beneath a deeper pile of Dork. "Hey, do you live beside the stairwell?" he asked, thumbing one of the toggles on his overcoat.

I nodded.

"Can I tell you something? I apologize if it sounds a bit forward."

I nodded again--ever the master of social interaction--hoping it would be complimentary. That from a distance, I didn't look like a complete disaster. That my new clearance-rack shower gel did, indeed, make me smell like pears. That I would make an excellent first wife.

"Well, it's just that you, um..."

I waited, holding Pigpen's leash with one hand and adjusting my Bruins hat with the other, hoping that my ears protruded in the sexiest possible way.

"You...uh...you really play some shitty music."

And with that he walked out into the parking garage, a cold blast of air coming in to take his place. I stood at the window watching him, my breath fogging the glass as I waited to see which car he climbed into. You know, just in case someone would need to park uncomfortably close to his driver's side door.

P.S. It's totally unrelated to my unfortunate mailing address, but my review of Nick Lowe's all-acoustic, all-amazing concert has been posted at BitchBuzz. It's an article I'm reasonably pleased with, especially since it prompted a discussion with my mother about Lady Gaga's genitals.


Michael said...

Your talent makes me speechless. If you play shitty music, I hope it's being played in heaven when I die.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

That's it. You need to pack up and move out of Douchebagonia.

Anonymous said...

Philistine. Him, not you, natch. I loved the Elvis Costello song you posted the other day.

Deidre said...

What a jerk! Even if you did play shitty music - which you clearly don't because you're awesome - who says that?

Anonymous said...

Well, I nevah! The guy is obviously musically impaired/impotent/illiterate. It's much more important for a guy to have good musical taste and great ideas than having those damn, good cheekbones!

Anonymous said...


Scribe said...

What an assclam! I bet you thought of lots of witty repartes once he pulled out - I notoriously have many comebacks hours and even days later. "I hope you don't take offence, but you're an assclam" - there's one for ya!

Kitty said...

and THAT'S why that asshole is still single. You just can't trust a good looking guy over the age of about 24.

Bitterly Books said...

You know, he's probably also the guy who siphoned gas from your car. Parking uncomfortably close just makes it that much easier for him.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Handsome but no taste. Yep, that about sums up the world.

Does your place, perhaps, have stairs? Or are they scarier than the elevator?

Great post by the way!

reinventingamy said...

dude. seriously? who tells people that? to each their own asshole.

some people have all the nerve...

Phil said...

I bet all that cologne went to his brain and killed any sense of taste he may have had re: good music. Let's classify him shall we? As I do with all people who showcase rudeness especially in the area of musical tastes, I'd say his favorite band is probably... Godsmack. Yeah, definitely.