Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Town Just North of Newark

I fully intended yesterday after work to go to the driving range. I had dinner/television plans with Liana in my old hood of Belleville, but there's an excellent range in Wayne off of Route 23. Instead, I laid down on my bed and fell asleep. I used to be quite the napper in college, but I usually only take naps these days after a night in Atlantic City.

Anyway, the driving range was out by the time I woke up. So I hopped in my Honda and headed off to B-ville.

Liana promised apartment building gossip - I lived there for three years with her, surrounded by a cast of colorful neighbors. There's the racist old lady on the third floor, the long-suffering Diaz family with their two screaming children, our Gotti-esqe next-door neighbor who perpetually hit on Liana, all the while mistaking her sisters for her. Then there's Mrs. H and her little yappy dog. When we first moved in, our downstairs neighbor Brooke would obsessively play Alicia Keyes' "Fallin'" until the floor of our apartment would vibrate. Brooke was evicted for non-payment of rent and best we could tell it was because most of her money went to coke.

And then there's White Trash. WT is a downstairs family of four - they are heavy smokers, dad has a serious mullet, and for about three months, their beat up old pick-up truck sat in the parking lot with a flat tire. Dad also has a penchant for attempting to fix the family cars with a hammer while listening to 80's hair metal. Good times. My personal favorite - dad's brother, a registered sex offender, moved in with them for a while and would leer at the women of the building. There's also the typical spat of domestic violence, which heart-breakingly would send the two children running out of the building. The kids were tremendously polite and sweet and whether their behavior had anything to do with their parents or not, they are proof that sometimes children turn out well, despite their upbringing.

In any event, Liana's gossip was that WT was moving out. I was shocked - according to our ridiculous little landlord from Italy, Vito, WT had lived in the building for about 10 years. I had never really expected them to move. But there they were, packing everything up in a U-Haul when I arrived last night.

The fluctuation of the building is odd for me. It is impossible to live in a building of 14 apartments and not come to know quite a bit about your neighbors, particularly when the walls and floors are so thin. The contrast with my current apartment, where I know none of my neighbors and can't hear anything, has been both a relief and a disappointment. I think part of my attachment and dislike for B-ville stemmed from the relationships I formed in that building and its surrounding neighborhood. And a big part of the detachment I feel towards Morris Plains involves where I live.

I hope next time, I can find a happy medium between the dysfunctional B-ville and the sterile Mo Plains apartments.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:31 PM

    I used to be quite the napper in college

    um, you were okay—AA perhaps, never quite in the big leagues.

    —Major Leaguer