I’ve been living in my apartment for about four years now, and am at this point the second-most senior tenant (I live upstairs in a quad-plex), after the woman I never see, the one who lives in the secondary building above the laundry room. I’ve never been one of those people who hangs out with his neighbors, and I’ve never had much more than a nodding acquaintance with any of them—for example, the woman who lives above the laundry room, the longest-surviving tenant? I spoke to her a few months back for the first time ever—which means I typically have no strong opinion one way or another about them. With one exception.
The last ones, though, the ones across the hall. Man oh man I hated them so much. It was some girl—and I mean “girl” almost literally: I think she was about nineteen years old—who constantly had dozens of her douchebag friends over to her place to have loud parties. And look, I’m no square—god knows I’ve been to my share of parties where things have gotten out of hand—but these were parties that involved three dozen drunken, stoned teenagers, shouting at the top of their lungs and blaring Skrillex or whatever crap they like, stomping up and down the stairs, banging on the door, yelling, climbing on the roof, leaving garbage all over the lawn, at one point fighting in the yard (!). I hated all of them, and wished they were all dead. The one highlight of her time as my neighbor was when I saw a couple of teenage lesbians making out in front of my door. I should point out that I was looking through the peephole at the time. Don’t judge me.
And now there’s a new one, a guy across the hall. I opened my door one day to go to work, and he was standing there in his new empty apartment. An older guy, probably in his mid-50s, kind of collegiate, but in a run down sort of way. His name is Glenn, which is pretty much a perfect, vaguely sad-sack sort of middle-aged name. As we talked, I noticed behind him what looked like some sort of stereo equipment, and what might have been a guitar stand. We exchanged pleasantries and I made my way downstairs. So now, having just met the guy, I start analyzing him like I’m Sherlock Holmes or something, trying to piece together what’s going on with Glenn. I figure that at his age, if he’s just moving into a place like this, a rental, and specifically the kind of rental someone like me can afford, that he’s probably on some level down on his luck. Probably divorced. I imagine that he’s probably friends with my landlord, who is about the same age. That stereo, I thought to myself, I bet ole Glenn’s gonna be sitting around listening to Old Dude Music and celebrating his newfound freedom.
And then one Saturday morning as I entered the landing to mount the stairs, I heard Glenn in his apartment blasting what sounded like the Allman Brothers. An hour or so later, as I was leaving, he was playing “The Word” by The Beatles. I was exactly right. One hundred percent correct—a sad old guy who never got to listen to “Whipping Post” or Rubber Soul really loud, finally doing what he wants to do. If I’m being honest, I have to say I want to be dismissive of Glenn, but I suspect that it’s just a matter of time before I wind up over at his house at two in the morning, getting drunk and blaring Steely Dan records or something. Wish me luck!