Monday, December 12, 2011
Meet Our Neighbors
We live in a condominium complex. Each building consists of four units designed to maximize resident privacy. They do a good job with that. A mirror-image building faces our building--doors are about twenty feet apart. We live on the second floor.
Directly across from us lives goateed Tattoo Man, who looks like he's about twenty-eight. He bought his unit for about fifty grand and did an outstanding job of remodeling it himself. I was impressed. When he was doing the work of remodeling, we frequently saw a young woman who said she was his fiancé. I doubt that as we hardly see her now. Fiancé is a phone nut; every time I see her she’s messing with her phone. I take that as a bad omen.
Tattoo Man is likeable, seems hardworking as he's usually gone in the morning before we leave, but he has a disgusting habit: he has two small dogs he lets pee and poop on the landing between our front doors. There's a grassy area designated for peeing and pooping dogs, and it ain't between our front doors. When he did this last year, we tried talking to him. Well, we also flung his dog's poop onto his door mat. He didn't get the message so we had to call the condo association manager.
Tattoo Man sells cars for a living, mainly on Craig's List. His dad owns a used car lot in town, which is where I believe Tattoo Man gets his inventory. Most of the vehicles we've seen him sell--and we see them all because he drives them until he sells them--have been SUVs, particularly Jeeps. He once sold a Mercedes station wagon, which I've always thought was a dumb model for Mercedes to sell. If I'm going to drive a Mercedes it's not going to be a station wagon.
Living beneath Tattoo Man is Hogback and his Main Squeeze. I call him Hogback because he's huge, like a hog. He's wider than he is tall, and it's not all fat. Main Squeeze lived in the unit before we moved in and hooked up with Hogback a couple of years ago after her teenaged daughter moved out. Main Squeeze had the daughter's car towed away, which I think was her way of saying "You're moving out now."
Hogback is an industrious man; he's always doing something to their unit. He's replaced the carpet, the cupboards, the toilets and sinks, the flooring in the kitchen, and has painted. He's done some other kind of work that requires the use of a loud table saw he set up on their patio. They drink Bud Light, and they, he, drink a lot of it. They haul it in their unit in two-by-two cubes. They're friendly enough neighbors. Interestingly, Main Squeeze rents the place. Maybe they're trading remodeling work for rent.
Next to Hogback and Main Squeeze is Grandma. She's not seventy or anything, but she's got a granddaughter I call Scratch (you'll learn why later). Unfortunately, we see too much of Scratch, and I'm sure she’s aged Grandma twenty years. We moved into our condo four years ago. Our first night there, with boxes covering the floor, Scratch was yelling and screaming and kicking Grandma's door. She wanted in but Grandma didn’t want her in so Grandma called the cops. Scratch has a drug (for sure) and prostitution (we’re guessing) problem.
Scratch is bad news for Grandma. When she disappears for several months, maybe even a year, Grandma gets complacent about securing her windows. Her windows are always closed when she's away--she still works--but when she's complacent she forgets to put the sticks in the window frame that prevent Scratch from somehow prying the window open. We always know when Scratch is back because she's either sitting on the stairs that lead up to Joe's place, sulkingly (I made that word up) smoking a cigarette, or the screen over Grandma’s small kitchen window is bent and laying on the ground.
One day I was reading and sunning by the pool. When I first laid down, I noticed a young woman on the opposite side of the pool, someone I hadn't seen before. I wasn't surprised, it's a big complex and people are always coming and going. Someone else was by the pool, but when they left the young woman began acting strangely. She'd get up, mutter something I couldn't understand, and pace back and forth while looking across the pool at me. She was also smoking, which I should have taken as a clue.
Aside from her odd behavior, she would occasionally reach into her bikini bottom and give herself a quick scratch. When she walked around the pool and began parading back and forth in front of my chair, I called my wife to come down and rescue me. Unfortunately, my wife's presence, as well as that of one or our daughters, did not discourage Scratch's odd behavior, so we had to go inside.
Grandma used to have three or four children/relatives/who-knows-who living with her, but now lives alone. Except for when Scratch comes and breaks in her through her window.
Across from Grandma are the Smokers. There are three. They begin stinking up the air outside at 5:50 a.m. every day. My guess is they aren't allowed to smoked inside, they're renters, so they sit on the patio to smoke their cigarettes. There is a husband and wife, I assume, and a third guy. The third guy is kind of creepy. He appears out of nowhere when you least expect him, such as 5:50 a.m. when I'm walking our daughters out to their car. Creepy parks his truck around on the side and I thinks he likes to smoke in his truck to get some privacy.
The couple is not healthy, and it's easy to see why: they love fast food. They are frequently seen limping from their truck to the condo carrying bags of fast food and flagon-sized cups of soda. Between the smoking and the fast food, their bodies don't stand a chance. I'm thinking of getting them a copy of “Super Size Me” for Christmas, leave it on their doorstep.
Above Smokers and next to us is Joe. Joe is an original owner, likely one of the few left. He's one of four that I call The Big Four because they run things in the complex. What they say goes.
For instance, there is a row of mailboxes on the front of the clubhouse, the roof of which is twenty yards from our lanai (we like to think we live in Hawaii). People, including everyone in our eight units, as well as many others, used to walk down the sidewalk that runs through the center of our eight units to get their mail. All that traffic bothered Joe so he had the condo association erect a fence, which created a dead end. That stopped the foot traffic immediately, but now we all have to walk around the entire building to get our mail.
Across from Joe are the Bird Ladies, who have a loud bird. I don't know birds so I don't know what kind it is, but it makes a loud obnoxious sound. We don't hear it in the winter as our windows are closed, but we sure hear it in the spring, summer, and fall. I know little else about the Bird Ladies, other than they seem to smile a lot. At least they smile when they're leaving. Perhaps they're happy to get away from their obnoxious bird.
Below us lives The Chick and her toddler. She moved in a couple of years ago, ready to pop. I mean she was huge. A young man we assume is the father of the child comes over sporadically to spend the weekend. Perhaps she goes to his place some weekends, I'm not sure. The Chick is friendly, petite, and drives a Toyota SUV. Because she occupies the bottom unit and lives alone, she keeps her windows closed 98% of the time so we rarely hear her little boy cry.
The Chick has a bobtail male cat that has become friends with our female cat. Not that kind of friend, though; they've been fixed. Bobtail is an outdoor cat, probably because of the baby, or maybe he's always been an outdoor cat. I think he’s envious of our cat. He occasionally tries to dash in our front door, no doubt to see what kind of luxury our cat must live in. Should he make it in the door, all he'd find are a full dish of food and a folded blanket on the back of the love seat. I bet he'd appreciate that, though.
What would our neighbors say about us? I dunno, I guess I'll have to read their blogs to find out.