"Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am vast. I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman
Sunday, September 05, 2004
sleaze mister sleaze
towards the end of the workday last monday the receptionist tracks me down to take an "urgent" phonecall. the caller informed her that it was something involving my children. naturally i drop everything, rush to the receptionist's desk and grab up the phone.
the caller, it turns out, is a real estate agent. apparently my children's mother is attempting to purchase a house, but her liquid assets (according to mr. real-estate) have taken a turn for the worse. can i possibly lend the missus $10,000? it seems her present lease is up in 24 hours and the children will have to move in with the grandparents (oh, horrors!) unless i can assist with the funding situation.
it's moments like these when i am most vulnerable to my typical knee-jerk reactions, and the "jerk" part usually extends up into my mouth. it being late in the day and the caffeine having worn off, i was able to respond in a more orderly and self-controlled manner.
firstly, mr. real-estate, i would certainly like to help my children keep a roof over their heads. however, my current balance sheet is running way the hell into the red (like, i can't pay my own rent this month; more on that to follow). secondly, i find it implausible that my agreeing to provide money (if i had any) at 5pm on monday is going to allow my children to move into their new home on tuesday. thirdly, i will grant you the benefit of the doubt that you did not actually tell the receptionist that this urgent call was regarding my children's immediate well-being and that there was some misinterpretation involved, because otherwise there would be some kind of family-size canister of whoop-ass being sprayed all over mr. real-estate, such that everyone from his immediate supervisor to his company ceo, not to mention everyone in the new jersey telephone directory with the same surname as his own, would be wiping it off.
ok, maybe by item number three the "jerk" part had kicked in. but at least i didn't raise my voice.
me being petty
let's bring all y'all up to speed on my current residence situation. i am renting a house that sits on my landlord's business property. the business is a landscaping service, specializing in new properties (as opposed to maintenance services). there is a goodly size one-story garage/barn out back, beyond which is an area for storing mulch, bobcats (the tractors, not the felines), etc. the north side of the property borders the street; across from us is a largish property containing a house, a small dump-truck, and a race-car. the west side of the property borders the fire station. the south side (beyond the mulch area) borders another house, home to a nearly deaf man who occasionally comes through his backyard to "acquire" some mulch.
and the east side of the property borders the Soccer Mom from Hell (SMHtm).
But this isn't about SMH. This is about her husband, and music, and me being immature and petty. We'll leave bridezilla out of this one.
On the weekend preceding Memorial Day, SMH and HubbyNextDoor hosted a cookout, during which they had a dj or a cd-changer playing tons of classic southern rock - the outlaws, marshall tucker, lynyrd skynyrd, charlie daniels.
and the allman brothers band.
fortunately for me, i like classic southern rock. which is good, because even in our bedroom, with the door closed, and the AC on, and the covers pulled over our heads, there was no escaping the music.
not being one to begrudge a neighbor a cookout, i said nothing. (ed. note: for reasons that will be detailed in a future post, there's not much point in talking directly to these neighbors.)
the next saturday, at about 11 am, the allman brothers kicked in next door. and continued for hours.
on sunday, greg and dickie started playing at about 1 in the afternoon.
don't get me wrong: i like the allman brothers band. i grew up on brothers and sisters and eat a peach, and i own the full version of the legendary fillmore concerts. HubbyNextDoor apparently really likes the allman brothers band, too. he also apparently owns only one ABB cd.
it is now Labor Day. every weekend this summer (with the exception of the weekend that SMH and HubbyNextDoor took the family on vacation), i have listened to the same damned ABB cd at least once. every saturday. every sunday.
in june i found it amusing. by july i'd grown to despise the allman brothers band.
by august i had a plan. it was petty. it was spiteful. it would solve nothing. i didn't care.
yesterday i ran fifty feet of 16 gauge speaker wire from the b-speaker terminals of my receiver out the window to the backyard. then i dusted off my old bose speakers in the basement and hooked them up out back. next, i popped in an mp3 cd and cranked it up loud enough to be heard clearly on all of our adjoining properties.
the fire station.
the deaf guy.
and SMH and HubbyNextDoor.
being the incredibly considerate neighbor that i am, i made sure to play . . .
the allman brothers band.
a cd that HubbyNextDoor doesn't have (not hard to meet that criterion). a cd that runs 2 and half hours.
i sat outside on a lawn chair, reading the great influenza and enjoying a rolling rock. and listening to HubbyNextDoor's favorite band.
but not his favorite album.
it took about 40 minutes for HubbyNextDoor to crank up his own stereo. if i walked closer to the fence i could make it out.