Wednesday, September 12, 2012



The neighbor girl vanished in the weeks that followed her verbal altercation with my roommate Sara.  We hypothesized potential explanations.  Perhaps she was so embarrassed about her behavior that she made herself scarce, unable to find the right words to apologize.  The other, and more likely scenario, was that she had drowned alone in her room face down in a puddle of vomit.  Either way, we were thankful for the reprieve from her special brand of alcohol-induced fury – although in all fairness, at this point I personally had yet to see anything but the back of her head. 
As weeks turned into months, the neighbor’s absence became more and more suspect.  One afternoon, I noticed that her door was slightly ajar.  I didn’t think much of it until Sara got home and mentioned it as well.  “There seems to be a funny smell coming from her apartment,” she said. “I think we should go make sure she’s okay.”
I told her she was insane.  There were only three things we knew about this woman; 1) that she had a substance abuse problem, 2) that she struggled with the opening and closing of doors, and 3) she didn’t care much for us.  I felt the need to check on her well being as strongly as I did the need to stick my head into a turbine engine.    
“But what if she’s dead?” Sara asked.  
“Well then playing Nancy Drew isn’t going to bring her back to life, is it?” I told her.  When she expressed her displeasure with that comment, I promised her that we would get involved once the smell of human decay became too much to bare – but not a moment sooner.
 “Well, I’m going over there to make sure she’s okay,” she said, “So you can either be a man and come with me, or you can hide in here like a coward.”  I compromised by going with her like a man while hiding in the corner like a coward. 
Sara lightly knocked on the opened door. “Hello?” she projected into open apartment.  We both listened carefully to hear if there was any movement coming from within, but there was none.  She knocked again, this time a little more loudly, and said “Is everything okay in there? Your door is open.”  Again – silence.  Sara looked back at me in my hiding spot and shrugged.  “Should we go in there?” She asked. 
Suddenly we heard a stomping noise coming from within their apartment.   Before we knew it, the neighbor’s door was slammed shut in Sara’s face, her hand still on the knob.   The action was punctuated by the sound of the door being locked, quickly followed by the dead bolt being pushed into place.  
“Well I guess she’s okay then,” Sara said.  
Months passed, and Sara decided to move back into Manhattan to be closer to her job. One morning while I was at work, she stopped by to pick up the last of her belongings.  While packing, she sent me the following text messages;
“Came home to pick up my stuff.  Guess who’s in our apartment…the neighbor.   Also, I want to take the shower curtain, so let me know when you get a replacement and I’ll come get it.”
It was classic Sara – known for burying the lead.  I sent her a flurry of texts demanding she explain how our mortal enemy ended up inside the apartment.  She explained that when she opened the front door to the building, she found the neighbor woman sitting on the foyer staircase. “Oh hello,” she said to Sara as she approached. “I live upstairs, and I seemed to have locked myself out.”  Sara was taken aback.  Here she was, face to face with the very same woman who had called her a cunt in this very same spot several months before, and the woman seemed to have absolutely no recollection of it.  Furthermore, she was alarmingly sober, which seemed strangely out of character.  Much to even her own surprise, Sara asked the woman if she’d like to come in while she waited for our landlord’s office to open.  She accepted. 
I made Sara list everything the harpy had done while in my home.  “Well, she sat on the couch while I packed.  I gave her a glass of water, which she drank.  And to go ahead and answer your follow up question, I’ve gone ahead and washed the glass and mixed it in with the others so that you will never know which one she used.“  As Sara finished packing, the neighbor thanked her and said goodbye, saying that she was going to see if the office had opened yet.  “The kicker,” Sara told me, “was that she told me that it was a shame we never got to know each before I moved out.”  Unbeknown to our Doctor Jekyll, we had come to know her drunken alter ego quite well.  
A few days later, I pulled up Facebook on my computer.  It took me a few seconds to realize that it had auto-signed into someone else’s account.  It took just a few more to realize that Sara had conveniently left out the part of her story where she let the neighbor girl use my computer, where she logged into Facebook and forgot to log out.  My immediate thought was to pull up her pictures so that I could finally see the eyes of the woman who had terrorized us from across the hall.   But of her 40-some profile photos, not one of them offered an unobscured view of her face.  I was living next door to Wilson from Home Improvement.   Then I started to realize the plethora of horrible things I could do to her account.  It was as if I was given a gift from Jesus with a card that read, “Punish this wicked woman, my son.” I spent weeks trying to devise the perfect revenge.  My friend Natalie suggested I set all of her settings to private, leaving her to wonder why no one comments on her statuses any more.  My friend Russ suggested that I photoshop each and every one of her profile pictures to make her look fat.  “Make sure to get the arms,” he told me.  “Women hate fat arms.”

And then several nights ago, I realized what I had to do.  I worked late one evening, and as I walked home in the dark night, I noticed the silhouette of familiar figure hunched over the front door of my buidling.  My heart started racing, realizing that I was only moments away from finally meeting the neighbor woman.  Confrontation seemed to be inevitable.  Panic set in as I got closer, and I decided to duck into another door well in the hopes that by some miracle she would just disappear.  I checked after a minute or so, but sadly it had not worked.  Weighing my options of hiding there all night, or manning up, I decided to brace myself for whatever alcohol fueled rage she was about to unleash on me.  
She looked up at me as I approached the door.  Her eyes were big and filled with sadness.  Her bottom lip was shaking.  She had the air of a frightened little girl.  As I pulled my keys out of my backpack, she put her hand on her heart. “Are you my savior?” she asked.  I don’t recall what I said, or if I responded at all.  All I really remember is struggling to unlock the door, the way you only do when someone is watching.  Finally it popped open and she scurried inside.  “Thank you!” she shouted after her.  “Thank you thank you thank you” she said the entire way up the stairs.  She managed to get into her apartment as I trailed behind her, and with one last “THANKS!” – that was that.  
When I got to my room, I went straight to my computer and pulled up her Facebook page.  This woman had called my roommate a cunt, and passed out on my doorstep. She had filled the foyer with garbage, had boyfriends terrorize us in the middle of the night, and left her cat roam hallway.   She had not been a great neighbor – that is a fact.  But the more I reflected on the situation, I had to wonder – have I always been a good neighbor? I mean, I sometimes let my mail pile up in the hallway and I’ve been known to blast country music when I clean the bathroom.  Hell, I just wrote a 7,500+ essay on what a giant bitch the woman across the hall is, and then published it on the internet.  So what – she’s not a good neighbor.  I can’t say that I’m a terribly great one either.  So I opened her Facebook page, and logged out without photoshopping double chins onto her photos or messing with her settings.  Being mean to this woman wasn’t going to make me feel any better.  We’re suppose to love our neighbors, but it unfortunately we have to love them all – not just the good ones – not just the young college grad and the lesbian bicycle enthusiasts.  Sometimes, just sometimes, some drunk bitches are going to move in next door, and dammit, you’re going to have to love them too.

Unfortunately I just came to this realization after publishing chapters I, II, III, and IV of this series, so please disregard everything mean you’ve read up until this point.  

Friday, August 10, 2012


When I was in college, there was almost nothing I enjoyed more than filling out teacher evaluations.  In real life, I've found that the opportunity to jam my opinions down the public's throat is sadly rare.  Or at least I thought it was until I discovered Yelp.  You can read my reviews here.  My latest is of the Patriot Saloon. 


The Patriot Saloon 

Yes, I am giving the Patriot Saloon 1 star.  Why, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you why - without editorializing or exaggeration either.  Here is a play by play of the evening:

5:00PM Wednesday Afternoon: Not very crowded.  I'm waiting for a beer at the bar downstairs.  There are two bartenders - one working up a furry at the opposite end of the bar, and one staring into a mirror, watching herself repeatedly put on and take off a pair of aviator sunglasses.  There's a crowd forming around the busy bartender, so I figure I'll have a better chance waiting in one of the many empty stools at the other end.  I mean, Sunglasses has got to notice me at some point, right?

5:10PM: Sunglasses has not noticed me.

5:15PM: My friends are texting me from the upstairs bar wondering where I am. I tell them that I'm still working on getting a beer.  My first beer.  Finally Sunglasses notices me.  She walks over, and mutters something. I say  "I'm sorry?" She mutters it again and smiles, and then kind of falls over a little bit.  I assume she asked me what I was drinking, so I tell her a Bud Light.  She frowns.  She gets really quiet.  And then she lifts her hand above her head and SLAMS it into the bar, screaming in gibberish.  She then turns around, and crumples up into a ball.  She does not get me a beer.

5:20PM: Sunglasses is still standing motionless in a ball like formation - so I give up and decide to try the upstairs bar.  My friends had warned me it was a shit show - but I can't imagine it's worse than what I just witnessed.  

5:21PM: It is worse.  Much worse.  The bar is more crowded upstairs - all older skeez balls watching the scantily clad bartender bounce up and down around the bar.  She is most likely old enough to be my mother, assuming she had her first child when she was 13 - which is when I'm assuming she had her first of many children.  She is clearly high, and for all of the bouncing she's doing, she's not pouring very many drinks.  In fact, I watch her for 10 minutes and she opens not one bottle.  Instead, she is draped over the bar, licking her lips at an older gentleman.  Everyone seems happy but me.  No one is drinking.

5:45PM: I'm outside, getting a breath of fresh air.  I am contemplating leaving - except for the fact that I haven't even had a chance to say hi to my friends yet.  I instead tweet about my sadness, take a deep breath, and walk in with new determination to get a DAMN BEER!

6:00PM: I have three beers in my hand.  I have ordered three so that I do not have to go through the experience of ordering a drink from this bar ever again.  The busy bartender is apparently busy because she's the only one in this awful place who is concerned with the sale of alcohol (and also not high on quaaludes).  

6:05PM: I have drank my three beers and I'm in a much better mood.  As I stand there, my friend grabs me to warn me about the shirtless waitress carrying a large tray of beers behind me.  The following interaction takes place;

Friend: Chris, watch out - there's a bra coming up behind you.
Waitress Only Wearing a Bar: I AM NOT JUST A BRA! I AM A LADY!

The End. 

Actual picture from the Patriot's Website of Jiggles, the upstairs barkeep. In this photo, she is asking the photographer if he knows what this funny contraption is.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


A few weeks had passed since I had witnessed one of the girls across the hall pass out into my front door, and though my roommate Sara and I had never actually met either one of them – we knew all that we needed to know.  They had only lived in our building for a few months, but in that time had already packed our foyer to the brim with garbage, had gentleman callers wake us in the early morning hours, and had a theatrical display of drunkenness at 7AM on a Tuesday.  That being said – it was odd that we had never met face to face, given the amount of time we had lived directly across from one another.  In fact, the closest thing to any sort of interaction between us was a note I left in the foyer gently reminding “all tenants” to be responsible for their own refuse – which they promptly ripped down and tore up.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before we had a showdown.  Luckily for me however, it was Sara who had the pleasure of meeting them first. 

It was around 10:30PM on a Sunday evening, and I was reading in bed.  Sara had a friend visiting from out of town, and I heard the two of them slam the front door and walk straight to my room. “You will never believe what just happened!” Sara said as she threw open my door.  Startled, I informed them both that I was naked under my sheets – but they cared not.  In a mad rush, they proceeded to tell me the following story.
As I mentioned, Sara’s friend Maggie was visiting from out of town.  The two had met while volunteering at an orphanage in Africa, and Maggie decided to visit New York for a few days on her way home to Canada.  They had spent the afternoon sightseeing and had returned home after a late dinner, only to find a shadowy figure huddled on our stoop.  As they approached, Sara could make out that it was a woman, her forehead planted against the front door, blindly stabbing her keys into the air.  Having heard the story of my last encounter many times, she realized that this must be Short Ponytail from across the hall.  Instantly, two things became clear.  One – this woman was extremely intoxicated, and two – there was absolutely no way they could get around her.  Interaction was unavoidable. 
“Excuse me,” Sara said as she approached, “Do you need help?”  Short Ponytail turned around and pursed her thin, leathery lips.  She was much older than Sara had expected.  When we had called our landlord’s office to discuss the man breaking into our foyer, the receptionist had tried to quash our fears by saying “it was probably just a boy trying to get the attention of one of the young ladies that moved in across the hall from you.  You know what it’s like to be young.”  However, this woman was not young – nor was she a lady.  She stared at both Sara and her friend for an awkward amount of time, and then turned back towards the door without saying a thing.
“Okay, well, I’m going to scooch on by if you don’t mind,” Sara said as she reached around to unlock the door.  The woman just stood there as the two entered the foyer.  Sara held the door open and asked if she was going to come in.  The woman remained silent. “Okay, well, I’m going to shut the door now…” Sara said, as she slowly closed the door on the woman’s face.   As they headed up the stairs, Maggie turned around and made a facial expression to express her shock.  That’s when they heard the shouting.
The sound was muffled by the front door, so they paused and listened more closely.  “I believe…” Maggie whispered, “I believe she’s calling us…cunts.”
Now, you should understand that my roommate is easily the least confrontational person I have ever met.  I once saw her eat something she is allergic to rather than tell the waiter he had brought her the wrong order.  “I don’t know what came over me,” Sara said as she retold the story to me, “It was like some one else took over my body.” Without thinking, she marched back to the door and yanked it open.  The woman tried to enter, but Sara put her hand up to block her.  “You know what, I don’t know who you are but I really don’t appreciate you calling me a cunt.”
“Well I really don’t appreciate all the damn signs you leave all over the place!” The woman shouted.  In one swift motion, she kicked the door wide open and push passed Sara and her companion.  “Get out of my way, cunts!” Though her speech was slurred, she made a point to enunciate the hideous word as clearly as possible. 

The two just stood there watching as the intoxicated woman climbed the stairs – repeatedly shouting the c-word as she went.  Every movement and every action was a complete struggle for her, and yet that word flowed from her Marlboro Red smoking lips with such ease.  Maggie simply stood their shell-shocked.  As a young Canadian girl who had spent the last six months volunteering with African orphans diagnosed with AIDS, I can only imagine this was one of the first times anyone had used this word to describe her sweet soul.  Halfway up the stairs, the woman’s skirt slipped down to her ankles, and she barely caught herself as she tumbled over onto her side.  Undeterred and still saying the c-word, she jumped to her feet, pulled her clothes halfway back on, and made her way to her door. 

“Oh, and one more thing,” she turned around and said – her eyes ablaze, her makeup smeared, her underwear exposed, her denim skirt clutched in her hand.  “Nice to fucking meet you!”  She then quickly unlocked her door and disappeared into the darkness, letting the door slam behind her. 
“Dammit!” Sara said to her friend, “What a great exit line.”  She kicked herself for not thinking of it first.

Actual Photo from the incident.