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Blog: So Long, Troubled Neighbors

(originally written 2/11/13)

Last year, my immediate neighbor was a modern-day Martin Payne (Martin Lawrence's character from his 1990's sitcom), a fundamentally decent but highly emotional young man whose hair-trigger temper incited ejections of his many houseguests as quickly as his bouyancy attracted them.


His expletive-laced outbursts often sent numerous guests of both genders scurrying for the safety of their cars. It became a running joke in my family that, unlike on Martin, we'd never see the same guest twice, leading us to believe he regularly invested in mail-order homeboys.


Who'd have thought we would actually one day wish he were still around?


One day last fall, he just vanished. (The last time I spoke to him, he gave a detailed description of people he suspected of burglarizing his place; I'm guessing he found them and got himself in legal trouble.) A few weeks later, I opened my window—to the revoltingly pungent odor of balcony bomb. Mary J at her very strongest, and I don't mean Blige.

Only on one other occasion have I been hit in the face harder: four years ago by a baseball lined so ferociously, it knocked me from the pitcher's mound onto my back. 


But I'm not here to talk about the past.


The new neighbors consisted of two sensationally dysfunctional couples, couples who clearly weren't together out of love or respect or anything resembling partnerships. They didn't even seem to really like each other that much, their unions appearing to be products of a firm realization that no other soul on Planet Earth wanted or needed companionship so badly as to even consider any of their apathetic, damaged selves.


Their typical day consisted of standing on the balcony getting high and swearing, like a ghetto, co-ed King Of The Hill. They used so many F, S  and N words, Fox SportsNet could have used them for urban promotions. On New Year's night, Josie and I were forced to cut our balcony firework-viewing short, because of the excessive profanity coming from the females on their own balcony. (Note: I absolutely abhor potty-mouthed girls.)


Unless they operated a call center out of their living room, none of them held jobs, so someone was always home—meaning the opportunity for fireworks literally existed 24-7.

And boy, were there fireworks.


They fought all the time. One of the men, in his effeminate, RuPaul-esque voice, threatened to kill his girl (and the other couple) all the time. More than once, I heard loud BOOM's coming from their unit—I've lived long enough to know the difference between furniture and a marginally-intelligent human body being flung against a wall. 


I never knew them and I never wanted to know them. I never learned their names. I didn't talk to them. I had no respect for any of them or the way they lived their lives. I did not want my daughter exposed to the women in particular at all, lest they trickle even a drip of influence upon her.


Now, for some reason, they're all gone. Last Monday showcased another of their routine rumbles, this one spearheaded by the girlfriend of the non-RuPaul. It was loud, profane, and at 8:30 a.m. WTH could trigger a fight like that at 8:30 a.m.?! Burnt toast? (Of course, RuPaul guy once spent the entire 3am hour on the balcony threatening to "beat everybody ass come up in here" at the top of his lungs, so I shouldn't be surprised.)


On that note, so long, troubled neighbors. No more of you parking in my space, then appearing clueless when I explain your car belongs in the space with your unit #, and my car belongs in the space with my unit #. It's tricky, I know. But surely dumber have caught on.


No more of RuPaul's girlfriend's comically poor dye job. How poor? It's strongly suspected to have inspired Wiz Khalifa's song "Black and Yellow". It's like she uses a Steelers jersey as a scarf.


No more keeping my window shut even on hot nights just to avoid contact highs.

No more blaring music with offensive lyrics ("Bitch, I slap you cuz I love you, suck my dick or I'll have to drug you" or something along those lines). No more blaring arguments with offensive lyrics. The dysfunction has ended...


...and I won't miss having them around.

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