I don’t quite know when I noticed the wailing from across the street, but I only pinpointed the apartment building it was coming from today. Diagonal from me, red brick, four stories. Above a pizza place and across the street from the deli that doesn’t sell beer and has given me food poisoning twice from their bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches. NB, do not get them if you’re ever so inclined. The deli is next to a coffee shop/ice cream parlor/donut shop, which is dumb and twee because who wants ice cream in the winter, dude?
Not the wailing man.
The wailing man sounds like a bad imitation of a ghost.
From my fire escape you witness the gentrification of Crown Heights. To the left, an ugly pastel building with balconies used as storage units, a mixture of couples and small (“Baby, we really need to think about getting a bigger place.”) babies, and couples with dogs. To the right, an old yellowed out WWI-era (I’m making that up — not good with architecture) lump of pragmatism. The foundation of the latter is painted with this red that sweats at sunset.
The kids in front of the latter building are loud. They are impossibly loud. Most of them are under balls-dropping age, and I can deal with it. But one of them is either 1) an older-brother with an inferiority complex, or 2) I dunno, his balls dropped and it’s that much annoying when he yells.
And they yell a lot. A lot. Because they are kids and they are OUT. SIDE. and there is basketball, and there is baseball, and soccer, and so many things to do on the SIDEWALK and get excited about. “AUHHHHHFHHGHHHHH, YOU MOTHERFUCKER.” That’s the post-pubescent one.
I hate him the most. And of course, I used to be just like him.
The heat here in the winter is good. Reliable. So is the hot water. Those count as pluses. So does: no roaches. Granted, you’re facing north, which isn’t ideal, but the sun does set directly in your eyes in the late spring and early summer, so you basically don’t need an alarm clock. If you’re a light sleeper, windows open or not, you definitely won’t need an alarm clock, because there’s a methadone clinic a few doors down and, sadly, the people who frequent it are both very punctual and very loud about that fact starting around, oh… I dunno. 6:45 or so?
There are four apartments on every floor. Four times four equals sixteen. So you live with sixteen people. You all have studios. It’s been reported that yours is among the better ones from the people who’ve seen some of the other ones, and I believe it. (Or, rather, you believe it. Because you did the walk-through, too, and you had a checkbook, duh.) You will be incredibly annoyed by the two people who lock their bikes up in the hallway on the second floor railing because the hallways aren’t particularly wide, you travel a lot, and at four-damn-thirty-in-the-goddamn-morning, please Jesus, just let me roll my roller-bag.
We are basically a college dorm. There are the ladies on the first floor, the one Irish dude on the second, the dude below me who’s kind somewhere on the autism spectrum, the black lady who just chills, and I dunno the fourth. She sometimes leaves when I do and puts out her trash.
The third floor is me, my neighbor to the right, and I dunno, some other people. And the fourth is a wasteland, except that one time I dropped a dude my keys because he said he lived here and I believed him (because that would be one hell of a lie), and it turns out he does and just locked himself out, and needed to take his dog for a walk.
I think his name is David.
The hallways are aqua blue with a pumpkin trim. Not the best combo, but I don’t pick the colors, I just paint them. As mentioned at length, and once more, for emphasis, they are also narrow. The interior apartment walls are a very faint, inoffensive blue. Each of them has a dishwasher, which I fail to understand. If you live in a studio apartment and you need a dishwasher, you have serious time-management problems.
That I took the apartment with the fire escape, the wailing man, the methadone clinic, the horrible regular children, etc. — that I took this apartment I’m fine with. The ones facing south might grow better oregano, but when this dorm burns, I don’t have to jump three stories onto concrete.
There is a lease on my counter top. The counter top is granite. My lease says, “Well? Once more for old time’s sake?” My head says, “Duh,” and my heart says, “Wait a minute.” I haven’t signed it yet. I’m still thinking.