December 2, 2009
People keep saying, “Can you believe it’s December already?” I reply, “Yes.”
Although, I wish I could be that astonished all the time. You know what’s really astonishing? Origami. I think people should save more astonishment for origami.
You know what I can’t believe? The Mystery Hour is in two days! The mayor is going to be there. Rumor has it that he will be decreeing things all over the place. So come on out, you might get decreed. Here he is with what I can only assume is a real Leprechaun.
For the last prompt I asked: What is the least valuable thing in your house?
I’ll use Jason’s answer:
“Man, I miss being able to watch you perform.
The least valuable thing? A power cable to some electronic device I no longer own.”
The overbundance of random cables can be troubling at times. That reminds me of my apartment I had last before I got married and moved into a house. My roommate, Mike, was intent on making our place cool. It actually was cool. It was an old place that had been renovated. Mike’s big motivation was to make the place, as he put it, “Oooooh, say what, say what.” I’m not sure if we achieved that goal, because I’m not sure what it meant.
My apartment before that cool and sketchy at the same time. I lived near downtown and across the park from the apartment I referenced. That apartment building was equally old, but with a misleading name, The Windsor. Windsor evokes classiness, which the real Windsor easily revoked. I had a studio apartment on the second floor. The place looked great, it had arched doorways, a nook for the phone, an ironing board that came out of the wall, hardwood floors, and the coup d’etat, a Murphy bed. A murphy bed is the type of bed that folds out of the wall, like in old silent movies. I even could have opted for them to provide me with a mattress. I declined. I felt like I was living in New York City in the 1920s.
The downside of the place was the smells and the cockroaches. I couldn’t smell very well at the time, but the hallway smelled like a grandparent’s basement, if your grandparent was the Marlboro Man. The cockroaches were just scattered early on, but in the winter they came out to party. If there are 200 cockroaches in the walls for every 1 you see, then the building had 860,000 cockroaches.
However, the best part of the building was the neighbors. There were many kooky characters. A lot of them received some kind of government assistance and a lot of them didn’t work so I would see them around a lot. Here are the highlights.
-Billy the Kid. Billy had a different name, but he went by Billy the Kid because the real one was supposedly a distant relative. 12% of all Americans make the same claim, but no one else acquires the moniker on their own. Billy was my favorite person, I would often visit him after we both moved. When I would go into his place he would show me the new eagle figurines he had gotten since I saw him last. There was something poignant about looking at the symbol of American freedom while Walker, Texas Ranger blared in the background every time.
-Fat Joe. Joe was a hevyweight to be sure. As far as I could tell, Joe did not own a t-shirt, he was never seen in one. He had about as many teeth as he had t-shirts, but he made up for it in friendliness. Everytime I saw him he would invite me up for a beer.
Unnamed woman. I never knew her name, but I took her grocery shopping once. She moved very slowly and spoke very incoherently.
The neighbor. My window looked out to a small old house next door. There was a blonde college aged student living upstairs who looked like she maybe played high school basketball. She would often smoke on the stoop while talking on the phone. I never met her but I had a real connection with her because I would watch her in the darkness with binoculars, a sleeve of Ritz crackers, and a Miracle Ear.
Stabbing victim. One night I looked out and there were ambulances right out in front of the building. Apparently, a woman a few doors down had been stabbed and had wandered down toward our apartment building looking for help. She survived, but the guy who stabbed her, I read in the paper, had made the mistake of saying, “Remember me? I’m…” Only he used his full name. The cops had an easy case on their hands.
DJ. I used to play hacky sack with him on the front stoop. Later I visited him in jail by pretending I was his cousin. He was actually a really nice kid, just kind of messed up.
That rundown made it sound like it was a bad place, it wasn’t. The characters were great. It was the cockroaches that convinced me to leave, so I could finally get some “oooh, say what, say what”
Next prompt: What is the last thing you mailed?