11.01.2010

I did this instead of getting drunk

Our apartment is technically a duplex, although I never refer to it that way. I'm pretty sure that out of all the words used to classify domiciles -- studio, apartment, townhouse, bungalow, and so on and so on up the income scale -- "duplex" is the only one that sounds like a skin disease. Also, here in LA I think it's douchey to ever call your residence anything but "apartment," unless it's an actual house, in which case you can call it your house but then are required to add a clause immediately explaining how it is that you came to have a house -- i.e., "We could always go to my house, but it is in Watts," or "I'd invite you guys over to my house, but my mom hates unexpected visitors." Otherwise you're just putting on airs. Whether you realize it or not, you're subtly letting other people know that your place has some expensive characteristic that distinguishes it from theirs, such as stairs. That's no small faux pas to make in a city where some people are living in studio apartments so small they're forced to keep their toilet paper in the kitchen, not that this has happened to me.

So I never call me and Henry's place a duplex, though that's what it is. It's a house that's been divided into two apartments, one upstairs and one downstairs, with two front doors opening onto a shared stoop and two back doors opening onto a lawn that is supposed to be shared, but that our downstairs neighbors are pretending is all theirs because they're parents, so they're allowed to do whatever they want and we have to take it. It's really quite ironic how put-out they are about having two unmarried, late-hours-keeping, noise-making yupsters upstairs, because if we were just like them, they'd have no leverage in their incessant struggle for power. Sometimes I think I'd like to have a baby just to piss them off. I get lost in a revenge fantasy where their excuse for everything shitty and self-involved that they do -- "It's not about us, it's about the kids" -- has been completely invalidated. If I had a baby right now, I'd wake it up in the middle of the night just so I could stand directly over their bedroom holding it while it screamed. Try ringing my doorbell to complain about that, parents! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA SUCK IT.

But I digress. My point is that I now have a front door opening directly onto the street, which I haven't had since I was still living in my parents' house. Also, this happens to be an area of LA where houses actually outnumber apartment buildings, which would make me feel quite grown-up and accomplished if it weren't so generally annoying. Between the bazillion-year-old hyper-religious crank next door who complains to our landlord that we have lights on at night -- the horror! -- and the awful blond mom across the street who screams at her nanny in the front yard and loses at least one of her eighty-nine massive hounds every single night, LA neighborhood life has turned out to have little in common with neighborhood life where I grew up.

But there is -- or was -- one thing to look forward to, and that was Halloween. For the first time in a decade, I was living in a place where I could reasonably expect trick-or-treaters, and I was stoked. I had my big bag of candy all ready, and as the sun went down last night, I waited eagerly for the doorbell to ring. Standing in the kitchen, I could see kids in costume walking by on the sidewalk, giggling and having an awesome time. YET NONE OF THEM RANG.

I went out the front door and observed that the downstairs neighbors had extinguished all of their lights, suggesting that they weren't home. However, from the street this made it look as if no one was home, and isn't that just so typical of them? Because they have better things to do than hand out candy on Halloween, they think nothing of ruining it for me. YES, THEY WERE PROBABLY JUST BEING GOOD ECO-MINDED ANGELENOS AND CONSERVING ENERGY. I don't care. Everything they do sucks.

Having figured out why the doorbell wasn't ringing, I grabbed a book and my sack of candy and sat on the front step for about an hour. During this time, I saw almost as many groups of children go walking by as I did girls in slutty costumes, which is saying a lot. YET NONE OF THEM APPROACHED ME FOR CANDY. Not one. Many even ran across the busy street in front of my house to hit up the blond mom's place, while I just sat there feeling like the last one to get picked in gym class. Eventually I got discouraged, not to mention cold, and went inside. Now I have this giant bag of candy, which two months from now I'll affectionately know as "extra five pounds I cannot seem to burn off no matter how much I work out."

How could blond mom, with her verbal abuse and raging hounds and general suckiness, attract trick-or-treaters while I didn't? It took me a few minutes of observation, but finally I figured it out: theatrics. She'd festooned her gate with fake spiderwebs, put a cut-out pumpkin on the door and hung purple and orange lights. Meanwhile, I was sitting on an ill-lit stoop with a book, looking at best as if I was enjoying the night air and at worst like a probable child molester. Oh, LA, even your simple childhood traditions are competitive. Next year I'm going to have this place so Halloweened out that it looks like the Addams Family mansion. In the meantime, I'm going to go overdose on Sweet Tarts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Joahn Swift
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