When I first moved in here a year ago, I asked my landlord
about the neighbors. Since then, I've fleshed out his very cursory descriptions more fully.
One night a few months ago Velinda and I spent an hour or so, late at night, talking in my car outside of my building. We were simply chatting in the car before getting out, but it turned into quite a late night show. There was an inordinate amount of activity going on, people coming in, going out, other people coming in, going out. It was fascinating to us both.
Anyway, in the year since I've lived here, here's what I know so far about my neighbors:
Downstairs, in the Northeastern quadrant, is a nest of French lesbians. I know they are French, the lesbianism is speculative, but not without grounds. I've never seen a man there, they are decidedly crunchy, and this is midcity after all.
I mean come on.
When I first moved in, the one who pays the rent (I think) was not very nice. The other day, however, the other one seemed to almost warm to me, offering me a bit of a smile. I'm not holding my breath. I don't think I'll be sharing white wine and lentil stew on their floor cushions any time soon, but it is nice to come home some days to hear French in the hallways.
Across the hall from them is a young professor. He's slender and tall and with a mop of curly hair and glasses...rather like
Erlend Oye well, ok, maybe if you squint.
He's from Texas and is in the Latin American Studies program, Spanish Literature. How do I know all of this, you ask? Well, because I am a sick man. Yes, have a little crush on him...or did. I'm ashamed to say that within a few minutes of finding out his first name (a box left on the porch addressed to him) I discovered that I have but one degree of separation from him. (My friend Dennis' friend Hugo, whom I also know slightly seems to know him. They were in the same phd program). I'm sorry, I'm sick. I know this. Don't judge.
That is the extent of my investigating, I swear.
Besides, my crush has waned since I've decided he's probably straight...that and seeing him wearing a headband while running. Nothing can kill a crush like a headband on a man.
In the apartment below me lives an older man. He's the only one I've actually spoken to at any length. He's semi retired, friendly, very old time New Orleans.
My intial impression was that he was straight. (It sounds like all I do is speculate on my neighbor's sexuality, doesn't it? I really don't...ok, maybe I do, but not all the time. Don't judge!)
Anyway I'm sure it would be anyone's impression that he is straight, but now I'm having second thoughts. I'm not sure why...it doesn't matter. He has at least one good friend, another older man, who visits him often, and they drive off together often. The other day this other man, to whom I've never even spoken, by the way, waved to me. I thought that was nice....odd, but nice.
The last apartment downstairs is inhabited by a guy from somewhere in South America, I think my landlord said. He's a bit paunchy, seems like a businessman of some sort.
We saw him taking out his garbage in a suit jacket and boxer shorts one night. Very odd. He's never around.
Upstairs, there is another mystery man, a young man, very much like an overfed frat boy. He's almost never home (thank goodness, considering his neighbor, the howler).
He has said hi to me once I believe, and I've peeked into his apartment (door was left wide open) to see a mess of dirty laundry and hand me down furniture, all very bachelor-esque. He, the South American and the Latin American professor all seem to be gone for the summer, in fact.
The apartment next to mine was formerly inhabited by a couple, neither of whom were ever very nice to me. It's odd that I am the "friendly" one here in this apartment. There's something not right about that. It certainly wasn't like that at my former apartment. But I digress...
This couple had lived in my apartment before I moved in, but wanted more "space." (yeah, right, and I'm sure Howler Mc Howling across the hall had nothing to do with it)
The husband used this address as his "Law Office." The wife was considerably younger than he was and from Africa. A lot of the mail still coming to my address (a month after they've left the building and a year after they've moved from this apartment) seems to be from creditors and such.
There's was always something shady was going on there, couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was shady. The only thing I miss about them is the smell of African food wafting up from the hall (cooked by one of the several young female family members she seemed to always have in from Africa on a rotating basis). I don't miss high pitched Swahili being cackled into cell phones at all hours.
Then, of course, there's my other neighbor
I was happy to have at least one other soul I know confirm the howling. My friend Dennis had a tiny little taste of her the other day, a very subdued version of a high full moon performance, but still enough.
I can't quite figure out who's moved into the apartment next to mine. My fellow tennant, the older man below me, tells me that it has been rented and that the rent's gone up. The other day Michael and I helped a young woman and what seemed like her young husband in, as they carted up what looked like Sam's Club amounts of snack food, but a few days later Carlos and I saw a young (gay?) man, in a wife beater going in. Who knows. Currently, it seems like no one is there at all.
That much has been nice.