RSS

Tag Archives: sports

Peeping Toms and Hand Grenades

or … “My Window on the Sidewalk”

This one might be a little worrisome to my friends and what remains of my family. It worried me, too, at first … but then I got to know this town, P-town, and relaxed a bit. In the six years I’ve lived here it’s pretty much behaved itself, even in the inner city. But I can’t say it hasn’t been a little weird at times … so I guess this is business as usual for my friends and family after all!

For those of you who are avid readers of my blog (and let me stop for a moment, so I can run around and give you each a hug), you know I’m a lover of heights. Not in a thrill-seeking adrenaline-junkie capacity, but more in a I’m-so-comfy-in-my-lofty-but-humble-perch kind of way. I practically started out my life falling off a bridge, grew up climbing trees and crossing abandoned railroad trestles without pause, helping with roofs and antenna towers was a hobby for me, and flying little airplanes a pleasant habit I’d really like to get back to.

5c9edd318196f5e14b65a6761c5e795bBut when it came to my choice of apartments, my student budget (read: those student loans you hear about indenturing kids to the wrong side of the financial system for life) stole away my hopes for a fourth-story walk-up, and relegated me to the smallest studio on the ground floor. A city sidewalk crouched ominously just outside my window.

Oh, would I have copious stories to tell–and will–about the milling crowd that once frequented the pub across the courtyard from me–and probably will again … but that went out of business a few months ago, so that colorful clientele has greatly diminished. I’m here to tell you that the remaining crowd has been no less entertaining.

First, I’d have to mention the old man who thought he owned my kittens. The fact that they had an apartment he didn’t live in seemed not to dissuade him at all. Every morning I would prematurely awake to the sound of tapping, or that squeaking sound a finger makes when rubbed on a window. Despite my initial upset at this intrusion, I could never bring myself to chase him away, especially after I heard the endless adorations he murmured through my window. Cowardly, I decided to let this one go and let the man have his fun, although I did leave a card in the window about the tapping.

Apparently he couldn’t read. The tapping got louder, the squeaks turned to bits of twine and sticks rapping on the pane and whatever other toy he could find to entertain “his” furry children. His words had become more insistent over time, as well, assuring his glass-enclosed felines he would liberate them from their bondage soon. My perturb was beginning to make a comeback, and brought worry along for the ride. Would he actually break in to save them?

It all ended when he realized the cats would chase sun reflections on my curtains, which were being perforated at an alarming rate … Finally I set out down the hall and set our friendly behemoth of a night manager on him, who calmly informed the man that he would be charged as a peeping tom if he didn’t desist. I felt guilty taking that one little pleasure away from him after so many months, but my curtains were much relieved.

Summertime approaches and my windows are open more. Smokers from my building, and perhaps the ones next door, seem to think my window is just the right legal distance from the front door to light one up. Of course the one person in the building allergic to cigarette smoke is the one they put in the ground-floor apartment. But I must give our local smokers credit: once I show myself in the window, looking a little green around the gills, they move on as pleasantly as possible. Yay Portland! But it has taken a long time to train the local smokers not to pick my window.

From cigarettes to cellphones, the endless meandering conversations that waft in from under my window I can do little about. And sometimes I don’t want to: these are the most entertaining part of all! It’s amazing how silly most phone conversations sound from only one side, especially when your side has no idea there is someone listening from a foot or two away, just on the other side of a very thin curtain. I’ve heard many a strange conversation suddenly cut short when I couldn’t help but giggle a little sitting here at my desk.

We won’t talk about the conversations where the caller is missing their cellphone altogether … I figure they are having a conversation through time, with someone from their own unfortunate history. I hope at least in this version they get ahead in life.

I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention the singers, some of which are truly amazing. Every known genre of music is represented passing across my little patch of sidewalk. I’ve heard snatches of opera going by my window that should have had agents chasing after them!

1658_JELD_WEN_Field_ExteriorThe sports fans come next, as the summer rolls in, crowds of chattering and excited fans wearing green and yellow, cheering, singing, goofing, and general hubbubing on their way to and from the nearby Timbers stadium. It is best not to try to get in or out of my building when a soccer game is about to begin or end, for fear of being trampled by good-natured sports fans.Some of these make up for the lack of the closed pub, especially post-game; their hubbub a little more outrageous and confrontational than before the game.

Occasionally the quieter times on my sidewalk are broken by a more depressing mix of verbalizations, usually a homeless couple–or soon-to-be, from the sound of things–arguing over whose fault it all is. This is never a productive subject to argue about, I murmur to myself as I turn up my music. Over time I’ve come to recognize a certain level of inebriation that affects their relative volume, violence and choice of vocabulary (the three V’s) of these tirades–all increasing at the same time.

I’m amazed at the difference one windowsill can make in our minds, once we’ve become acclimated. If I were on the other side of mine, standing on that sidewalk so near at hand, … er, foot … I would be ducking for cover as these screamers tromp past. But my pre-high school experience growing up in the hell of inner-city Baltimore seems to have come back to me, where out of sight really is out of mind … and I still have a veneer of shielding from the violence of the city itself, even if it is just sound. I have yet to witness anyone actually being harmed physically here …

Although I can attest that words often hurt far more.

If it wasn’t for my tightly fitted metal screen–and my common sense–my inner child would love me to wait for moments of verbal distress like these and loft hand grenades out the window. Not REAL hand grenades, but something that goes “POP” and showers the victims with confetti or something equally distracting. I mean, it works with dogs bent on squirrels or other dogs! Break their focus and they forget what all the fuss was about.

I can see CSI-Portland dusting bits of confetti for fingerprints now. Oh, well … it was fun in my head.

Now it’s full summer. My windows are once again glued shut during the hottest part of the day, but–eek–open at night to capture some of that cold dry air that sneaks back out from the shadows once the sun has mosied on. Except for a few one-sided conversations and the rare cussing-at-god moments passing outside, the scene is a relatively quiet this time of night. I’m usually taking this time to game online, or write in my blog (like now), or cuddle with my kitties while watching a movie, or just relaxing with the breeze . . . a normal night . . .

Until something rare happened a few days ago: my kitties and I heard feet shuffling outside the window, then silence. (Were they trying to peek in?) . . . then the sound of running water. Oh, ugh.

It seems someone thought my window was just the legal distance away from the front door to relieve their bladder. So not something I wanted to be sitting nearby to witness, even by sound. I waited for the feet to shuffle off and quickly closed the window before the smell of that wafted in. (Thankfully my building manager is ON things like that and hosed it off the next morning.)

I’m hoping this is a rare once-in-five-years kinda thing, which means I won’t be around to witness the next one. I think I’ve had my fill of the city for a lifetime. With a year left in college and a one-year lease, I’m settled in for that long; but after that I have no idea where I’ll go next.

But you can bet it will be high above any sidewalks.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Bloggie Bits, Miki Bits

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apartment Shopping in my Mind

I live behind a bar.

There, I said it. Phew, what a load off my mind to finally be out about that.

Oh, wait . . . that’s not right. It was that queer thing I should be worried outing myself about. Good thing I didn’t mention that then, huh?

It’s a pretty respectable bar, as bars go: A sports pub actually, with tons of huge screens for people to drunkenly scream at for no apparent reason, as if the players can actually hear them–or each other for that matter, as loud as it gets over there. Recently renovated, pleasantly arranged, well-lit . .  it’s a friendly looking place in there, from what I can tell. If I actually drank or could fathom sports I might give you a better view of it than through its large shiny windows as I’m passing by each day. But I don’t, much, so there.

The pub is nestled on the ground floor of my comfortably appointed and friendly apartment building, with a lovely courtyard separating it from my cozy little apartment. I’m happy with the arrangement . . . for the most part . . .

Until about 1:00AM.

You’d think I’d be happy that the noise abates around this time of night. But if you know me (i.e., you pay attention to the posting times of these blog entries. No, if you could actually see the posting times of these blog entries), you’d deduce that it’s not really a fly in my bearnaise sauce. You may not deduce the bearnaise sauce bit, actually. But if you did, I’d send you a cookie and a one-way plane ticket to Siberia, because frankly you’re freaking me out.

No, what happens around the wee hours of the morning are conversations. Drunken ones. Directly under my window.

I don’t mind conversations actually. The daytime ones are quite entertaining. I’ve witnessed a plethora of phone calls, debates, arguments, diagnoses, theories, educated and uneducated guesses, prophecies and neural pathway cleaning exercises (otherwise known as self-monologues) beneath my windows that have affected me anywhere along the spectrum of Boredom level 0.2, to Rolling under my desk laughing until my head pops off level 92.8. Although not entirely sane, at least they were relatively sober.

BonNuR1CIAA2UeQ.jpg largeBut at night it gets a little scary. It’s not the slurring or the exclamations about why my building keeps moving that I find so frightening . . .  but the way in which the monumentally drunk are stripped down to their bare essence. Their true colors. Their actual selves.

Most of the participants of these verbal expectorations are male, with a few rare drunk women mixed in to amp up the frighteningness (yes, I’m glaringly guilty of adding “ness” to almost any word, without the actual benefit of feeling guilty. about it . . . because I can). Not to kill your buzz here, but if I were to get a nickel for every misogynistic comment I’ve heard under my window past a certain hour, along with all kinds of premeditated rape-like details, I’d be able to afford installing huge neon lights on the moon that spell out, “Hey guys, WTF?” (I originally had “is wrong with you!” added to the end, but I calculated I’d need another 7 cents per misogynist.

I don’t really want to talk about it, but it looks like I did anyway. I mean someone has to. These guys’ male friends who DO have scruples might want to step up here. Just saying.

I’m kind of hoping this phenomenon is rarer than it seems, though I will clearly not be holding my breath on this point anytime soon. Perhaps it takes a mentality that thinks getting this drunk is actually fun, for that person to also be unclear on the whole human empathy thing. I don’t really know.

Until I find a cure for stupid, I’m thinking the best thing I can probably do is either: A) Learn to sleep like a “normal” person (Side-splitting laugh level 85.3), or B) find another apartment that exhibits a complete lack of bar-ness*.

Anyone know of a modest apartment I can rent in NW Portland?

[ * Yes, I did it again. If Lock Ness or Eliot Ness can do it, so can I. So there. ]

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Poor Sport

It has been brought to my attention that I introduced the idea of writing memoir in my blog . . .  without actually writing any. Uhm . . . Busted!!

Geez, you guys. Make me write, whydon’tcha! ~sigh~

Okay, here goes  . . .

I was born in the mythical kingdom of Koozbeen, the only child of a badly rescued princess and a recently kissed frog, both on their second marriage. Life was good until the Bugblatter Beast of Traal arrived and ate the townsfolk . . .

No, that’s not right. Ugh. You all don’t really want to hear the whole genealogical regurgitation, do you? Yeah, neither do I. We’ll get to that later, when I can think of a way to put a better spin on it. Believe me, it’s not what you think. Unfortunately no townsfolk get eaten in that version–I’m sorry to get your hopes up on that part.

Instead, let’s be all random and start out with a piece I wrote about <sarcasm>my most favorite thing, sports, . . . during my most favorite part of life: high school.</sarcasm>

This was written for a creative writing class and actually read on stage in front of people. I don’t want to talk about it. It goes something like this . . .

Poor Sport

I have a confession to make: I’m a poor sport. It’s not that I lack sportsmanship—winning or losing isn’t a big deal for me.

I just don’t get it. Grown people running back and forth, killing themselves over a round orange or white ball, or a misshapen brown ball, or placing themselves in the path of a hard threaded Frankenstein ball someone just whacked with a big stick. All this excitement and injury over who gets the ball. It’s just silly. And people pay big bucks to watch them do this. It seems to me if they just gave everyone their own ball—whichever color or shape that works for them—they’d all be happy and stop running around jumping on each other.

Of course, my confusion about playing sports may stem from how badly I suck at it—that’s what I meant about being a “poor sport.” It’s not that I didn’t try. Each time I was conscripted to play one of these competitive games in Phys. Ed. class, I’d give it my best. But—except for running—I’m just not built for that sort of thing. Thanks to several bullies I’ve had the enormous pleasure to meet in my life, I can usually outrun most anything. But make me kick or catch a ball along the way and I’m liable to make a dramatic face-plant on the turf, or knock over my fellow players like bowling pins.

20070812-02-01There is one sport I suck at in a particularly awesome way though:

Dodgeball…

Yet another silly game with balls, which I find ironic; but this one involves the biggest, strongest kids throwing stinging hard rubber projectiles at each other, but especially the easily-bruised geeky ones—like me. Someone was feeling particularly sadistic when they came up with this game.

I’m usually the last one picked for any team; but in this game, once I’m out on the polished gym floor, they get a surprise: If there’s one thing about me and pain, I’m good at getting out of its way. I can move! With a dozen of these hard rubber horrors whipping around at once, I can duck, jump, run or simply turn sideways and disappear.

Yes, sometimes that joke is true—at least back in my pre-college days.

Unfortunately, that’s where my talents end. If my team was winning, it was not due to any help from me. My throwing ability then was despicable, and catching a ball to get someone out was not an option.

If my team was losing, my evasive talents simply drew out their imminent death. At this point, the teacher would become impatient, watching my macabre survival dance, and dissolve the “do-not-cross” line between the teams. My assailants would then amass and move in for the kill. All my hard work would lead to circular bruises all over my body, rather than the expected one. You would think I’d figure this out and sacrifice myself early on … but apparently, I don’t have a mind for sports either; and survival is a hard habit to break.

In the end, with all such sports, my performance would amount to a spastic effort to avail, but end in a letdown to beat the lowest of expectations. Looking back now, it seems to make more sense to me, that if the team captains don’t really want to pick the geeky kid—the one trying to make herself invisible behind the climbing rope—and the invisible one doesn’t want to be picked—why not just let them sit out all the silliness and read a book, or play with their new calculator.

If exercise truly is mandatory, then they could be made to run laps around the field. This would’ve worked for me. I could say I ran circles around them all.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Bloggie Bits, Miki Bits

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,