Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's "Apropos of Nothing" Moment

I used to live in this shitty apartment building just across
the freeway from downtown. The front door was sticky
and, if you weren’t careful, it wouldn’t latch behind you.
This proved a boon to the many derelicts who lived in the
park down the block, especially during the colder months.
They would sleep in the halls and stairwells and, when I
got home late, I had to step over them to get to my tiny
one bedroom. The worst was the laundry room. In Jan-
uary, that place would be like some kind of hostel for
grizzled, unconscious crackheads and winos. Now, in
other buildings, you can just bring your clothes down
to the basement, stuff them in the machine, and then shuffle
off to watch television or surf internet porn or whatever. But
not in that place. There, you had four options. You could...

a) Wake up the sleeping street people and try to shoo them
away. This struck me as the least appealing option. I usually
figured it wasn’t prudent to go prodding at booze-smelling,
desperate strangers.

b) Call the police to get them to wake up the sleeping street
people and bring them to jail. Time considerations generally
ruled this approach out. I just wanted to get my underwear
washed, I didn’t want to drag in all of city hall.

c) Wash the clothes while hoping that none of the sleeping
street people wake up and steal them. I did this a few times,
and I never got used to it. I always spent the whole dry cycle,
panicking at the thought of some sluggish junkie wandering the
neighborhood in my best slacks.

d) Wash the clothes while sitting in the room to keep an eye
on the sleeping street people. This was my preferred strategy.
I felt that we all got our needs met this way. The derelicts were
able to sleep peacefully and I was able to get my stuff clean. If I
didn’t have to spent those hours in a dank little room watching
a bunch of smelly drug-addicts snore, it would have been perfect.