Friday, August 04, 2006

Movin on Up

So I finally mustered up the courage to move downtown. Big step for a small-town girl like me. I still walk around gawk-jawed in typical tourist fashion, but I'm sure that'll wear off in the next couple of years.

The new apartment is right smack in the middle of downtown within walking distance of work. It's actually pretty cute: vaulted ceilings, top to bottom windows, open floor plan for the main living areas. It's also on the ground floor, which has its ups and downs. I like being able to watch all the foot traffic go by when I open the blinds, but it makes for a lot of noise on Friday and Saturday nights when everybody's down in the district tying one on and walking the streets of our fair city.

Three days ago, I had my first face-to-face encounter with an "urban personality", as I've taken to calling them ("them" being the folks I watch through my window - it's like my own live-action reality tv that stretches across the entire front of my apartment).

I heard her coming from nearly a block away, slurring and cursing at some one who wasn't talking back- which meant she was really, really drunk, insane, or talking on a phone. I was laying in bed, trying to get some sleep, staring at the ceiling and praying to the Sandman, "Please, oh please let her just keep walking."

See, part of the benefit of my ground floor apartment is that I have direct street access with a set of double-doors and a concrete stoop. I also have deep-set windows with handy little ledges for sitting and chatting, stopping for a cigarette, rebalancing groceries and the like. There are always folks hanging around outside, which is fine during the day. It's not so fine in the middle of the night.

"You never loved me!" She was sobbed into her phone. "You never loved me and you never appreciated me and you never, ever loved me!" I heard her heals click unevenly on the sidewalk as she tried to sit on one of the ledges. I waited a few minutes to see if maybe she was just catching her breath. She wasn't, of course. I mean, where else would she sit in the middle of the night on a weekday, but directly outside my bedroom?

When it became apparent that she'd grown quite comfortable on my window sill and didn't intend to leave for awhile, I hauled my tired ass out of bed, climbed down the front steps of my apartment in my pajamas, holding the door for quick escape in case she got belligerent, and said, "Ma'am? It's 11:30 at night on a Wednesday. I have to get up in the morning to go to work, and you are right outside my bedroom window. Think you could move it down a block?"

Her hair was bleached a tacky, yellowing platinum. She'd stuffed her sagging breasts and ass into clothes two sizes too small, and way too young for her. This one was pushin thirty and trying to look nineteen. She blinked back at me, mascara pooled around her eyes, making her look something like an aged clown.

"Ma'am?" I asked again.

"Oh... um... yeah... Sure sugah. Sorry bout that." She lurched off the window sill, regained her balance by hugging a nearby light post, smoothed her skirt, then staggered down the street. About half a block away, she stopped, turned around, and said, "Yanno, good for you, stickin up fer yerself. We should all be like that, us wimmen."

I nodded, waved, and went back inside. Then I double-checked the lock. Then I went to bed.

Livin down here... yeah... it's definitely different.

Oh, and I've made plans to line the window sills with broken glass tommorow.

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