Friday, July 30, 2010

In a Neighborly Way, Part 3

(Note before I begin I wanted to reiterate if any current or previous neighbor/landlord reads this, please take this in the atmosphere intended, which is you're all humorous in some fashion and I mean no offense.)

2002, I moved in. The landlord was a former client when I worked at the radio station and he allowed me a cat. At the time, his son lived across from me, an elderly lady lived downstairs and I don't remember who, if anybody, lived in the mouse hole. The landlord's son owned a Jack Russell that was a barking annoyance at times, but all in all pretty good.

Everything was hunky-dory until one night around ten. I'm in my hall and suddenly, the door bursts open in the other upstairs apartment and I hear, “Police! Everyone on the floor!” The dog goes nuts and I'm wondering if I'm about to get raided, too. The cops had hidden down the alley, sneaked upon the apartment and busted the landlord's son for selling drugs. A short time after, the place sells to a new landlord but only because the man didn't have time to properly care for it. Oh, how I long for those days when he did.

That first year, the new owner mowed the lawn exactly six times during the summer and has been about as consistent in getting it mowed since. Actually, it isn't so much mowed as pre-harvested and two days later needs mowed again.

After the Tony Montana wannabe leaves, a high school mother with baby and dog moves in. Dog barks as incessantly as the baby cries. Speaking to her does no good and she solves the barking problem by putting the dog outside at the bottom of her stairs, where it still barks. Then buys another dog with a doghouse about two sizes too small for the animal. The first pooch sits forlornly at the bottom of the stairs, no food/water/shelter. After about a week, I call the animal shelter, the animals are gone and she blames the landlord for calling the cops on her. She gone.

The only sane tenant, the elderly lady, develops health problems and soon I hear the funeral notice on the radio one morning; I end up getting some of her groceries. I miss her sereneness and kindness and I was glad I was able to help her in times of need.

After mother and child leave one of the landlord's assistants is in for two weeks before bugging out for his homeland Jamaica, and I don't mean New York. Downstairs in the efficiency a youngish couple move in. Two people in an apartment only a little bigger than a boxing ring-ack! Anyway, I won't go into details, but they don't last but a year or so before the newly adopted Megan's Law (look it up for further information) affects his in-town residential status and they're gone.

In comes an employer who rents the apartment and lets ex-cons stay, while he gives them second chances at a normal life. Right up until one of them is late for work a few times more than allowed and that arrangement terminates. The current resident had previously lived in the efficiency for awhile, and again, without going into detail, breaks his probation and is back in the pokey for another stretch. During the hiatus, a Samoan-American moves in and tells me his life story one evening-unasked-and he bugs out one day leaving the door open. Dampness and mold ruins the apartment floor and furnishings. The ex-con is back and is a quiet nice guy who drinks a lot of beer and grills up some tasty smelling steaks every now and then.

Back upstairs, an ex-Marine who plays the drums moves in. Nice guy, he really was. The acoustics only allowed me to hear his drums if I was in the hallway or if all the windows were open but I don't think I convinced him he could play till he deafened himself; I wasn't bothered. I was annoyed during the summer when he played, at max volume, Bob Segar's Hollywood Nights every night for about a week. He (the tenant, not Segar) had been busted for DUI, didn’t have a license, but bought a van that never ran and kept it parked in the back lot for way too many weeks. He (again, the tenant, not Bob) played in a band and ended up moving to the band's practice area.

Next to move in was a wonderful couple who argued for hours because they liked to. There was no point to the arguments, no defined topic of contention, but who cared, it was fun to listen to them. Unfortunately, they didn't last long either. The apartment stood empty until recently when another of the landlord's assistants moved in. He's okay if he would only park his truck so that I can fit my car in and not have to park on the grass.

Meanwhile, the main apartment downstairs sees a series of lively people...

Yep, cliffhanger till next week.

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