It's only 6:30 in the morning, I thought to myself as I walked faster to the subway, ignoring the yelling and cursing behind me, way too early for any of this and also this being no way to start the day.
I have what might potentially be the worst neighbor ever. To rewind a little, when I was moving into this apartment a few months ago, lifting heavy boxes up flights of stairs, unloading furniture into a still empty apartment, this lady from across the hall watched the proceedings from her doorway without an introduction or even a simple hello. She just glared at us as we made a couple trips up and down the stairs. After a bit of this, she peeked her head in and asked if we were the people moving in. I said that I was. She said that she only has one rule. She doesn't say her name, doesn't ask ours, just starts right off the bat laying down the law. She tells us that she has grandkids and is trying to protect them so when we smoke weed, we need to light incense in the hall so she doesn't smell it. I think it is also worth pointing out that my friend and I were not carting in massive bongs, blacklights, vacuum-sealed bags of weed, or pints of Ben and Jerry's - nothing that should immediately give away the fact that we smoke weed.
At that point, I actually hadn't been smoking weed for a couple months and didn't for the first month or so I lived here, though now I have started smoking just about every night. Last night, I incurred her wrath - this mean Puerto Rican grandmother. I don't know why this woman is so loud. I don't know why Puerto Rican grandmas tend to be. This woman reminds me of the landlord of my first apartment in New York that I lived in for four years - another insanely loud Puerto Rican grandma that I also got into massive battles with.
Anyways, around 10 pm last evening, this lady from across hall comes BANG BANG BANGing on my door, the type of knock that announces one is really, really, really mad. I open up the door and she starts screaming at me about the smell of weed in her apartment. Also worth noting is that the people who live downstairs blaze out all day long and the entire building has always and will forever smell like weed because of them. Also worth noting is that I hadn't even smoked weed yesterday when the BANG BANG BANGing on the door came. We yelled a bit and I closed my door and she stormed back over to her apartment.
At that point, it was definitely time to smoke some weed.
This morning, I am leaving for work at around 6:30 and I hear her yelling to her grandson about the motherfucker across the way. I hear her yelling all the time - every moment of the day she is home she is yelling, either at someone on the phone, at her grandkids, or at her equally loud chihuahuas. She disturbs me more than I thought possible and yet I do not go BANG BANG BANGing on her door to tell her that her constant aggressive shouting all day long is really ruining my vibe.
So I was particularly upset when I was about to leave the building this morning, down at the bottom of the flight of stairs, when I heard her again mumble about the motherfucker to her grandson, referencing me. I yell to the top of the stairs, "Excuse me? Are you talking about me? Do you have something you actually want to say to me?" And neighbors on the first floor, I do apologize about so early going to battle this morning right outside your doors, but I did it for you too, for the good of anyone that lives with this insane gremlin.
She was walking her grandson to school, giving him fine education in the choicer words from the English language, particularly the word "motherfucker." Every third or fourth word out of her was "motherfucker." Our fight spilled out on to the porch, on to the sidewalk, and continued as we both walked toward the subway together, me and her and her grandson, waking up all the fine residents on Dekalb Avenue at such an early hour this morning with our profanity punctuated screams at each other. I told her that if she ever knocked on my door again I was going to call the police and file harassment charges. She told me that the next time she smells weed, she is going to call the police and report me. Threats back and forth. I complained about her dogs. She told me to move out. I told her to go fuck herself. A beautiful start to the day.
Since I was already running late for work even before this fight started, I walked quicker, leaving this lady behind as I hurried to the subway. I could hear her still from a block away screaming obscenities and threats in my general direction.
I called my landlord and explained the actions of this little domestic terrorist living next door and he totally took my side, told me how much he hates that fucking bitch, and told me she needs to mind her fucking business. Apparently my landlord is also a big fan of f-bombs - from him, I really enjoy them though, probably cause they are directed at her, my nemesis, and not me. He told me that she has also harassed both of the downstairs tenants as well, yelling at them about weed smells too. He told me that she calls him everyday to scream at him about something. He told me he is going to file a police report about her and asked if I would give a statement. I told him that of course I would, that this woman is a terrible human being and a menace to my happiness and well-being.
That taken care of, after work today, I went to Greenwich, Connecticut to see a gentleman. It was weird. I just wanted to be drinking or having sex. Instead we watched Newshour and he cooked me a burger and told me that he is taking painting classes. He showed me paintings he is working on. He was nervous and clearly lonely. He was 70 and looked much younger. He wore a wig. He was nice but his loneliness was really making me sad. He remarked a couple of times on how he was sad he never settled down with anyone, how it's too late for him now. He told me that he thinks he would have been much happier if he had stayed in Cincinnati, that his life would have turned out better, and he would have fallen in love with someone there, how smaller cities are actually easier for gays than large cities like New York. He was sweet and he told me he didn't want to have sex this first time, that he needs to feel like he knows someone first. And I am so bored in these situations, so uncomfortable. I don't know how to fill these emotional needs, how to fill their loneliness. I know so much better how to fill particular sexual needs. I am not necessarily comfortable trying to fill these emotional needs; too often tonight they reminded me of my own unfulfilled emotional needs.
I knew I didn't want to end up as this guy, that more than anything I did not want to end up as him - rich in a big house all by one's self in the suburbs, lamenting that one missed out on something. I slept on the Metro North ride home. Around me as I slept, rich girls from Connecticut in heels and really nice winter jackets drank beers and whole bottles of wine as they rode into the city for their Friday night.
I thought back to this guy who I had just seen and something he mentioned. He was really into the concept of vanishing points in visual art. He had a bit of an art collection and pointed out the vanishing points used to give these paintings depth and a sense of field. A road narrowing down in the distance, objects either painted smaller or the colors more muted, sometimes both, or maybe a river winding through the background of the image. He told me that he was really intrigued by the prevalence of vanishing points in images, that he had been thinking a lot about them lately, trying to understand them.