Monday, February 06, 2006


The Evil Landlord of the Taj Mahal is building again. Probably a Laboratory of Doom, or an aquarium full of sharks or, damn him, more apartments to add to his highly illegal complex next door. When I moved here five years ago, I was next door to a somewhat run down bungalow with an equally rundown garage & garage apartment. Both were lived in by elderly black ladies, and all was peace and quiet in the neighborhood. Then, about three years ago, the Asshole bought next door. He promptly got rid of the old ladies and brought in construction crews who blocked my driveway, threw debris (okay, I kept the little tykes jungle gym they tossed over here and next summer it's going to be the centerpiece of an art installation called How Gourds Can Take Over Your Yard, so it wasn't all bad, and I threw the windows and stuff right fucking back) into my yard and then he smarmily lied to me and to the city and swore up and down that there had ALWAYS been four apartments there and so they were grandfathered in to our single family neighborhood. Not only is that a total and complete lie, but you can just walk around back and see where he extended one of the buildings a good 14 feet to make another apartment. He is scum. And his tenants have been, well, uneven. Notably there was the woman who had the loudest sex in the world - I mean, I could hear her screaming, quite clearly, from my house, which is at least 50 feet away. That kind of thing is just embarrassing. Also, I get jealous.

He also put in a ridiculously pretentious gate with two fake stone pillars, and turned the back yard into a parking lot that noone ever uses, and we dubbed it the Taj Mahal and, except for the normal neighborly annoyances of recycling and brush left in front of MY house and the time that one of the tenants had yet another high volume fight with his girlfriend which ended with her driving off at high speed with him on the hood of her car cursing at her and holding on for dear life (who needs TV?) things have been pretty much quiet. Until this morning, when large construction machines have mysteriously appeared and started making large construction noises. I don't know what they're doing. The workers are all parked in front of my house - only in Asheville do construction workers drive old blue Volvos. I feel weird going out on my porch in my gnome pajama bottoms and martini slippers to smoke a cigarette. I can't lazily go back to sleep since whatever they're doing makes approximately as much noise as a pile driver. And I really, really hope he isn't putting in more goddamn apartments, because this neighborhood has already, in the past year, suddenly morphed into party central and there are fucking drum circles and shrieking drunks all around me every weekend night anyway. Yes, I do see the irony in this complaint coming from me, and yes, it's mostly that I'm jealous that all these young people are having so much goddamn fun! But hey, I'm getting old, and what's the fun in that unless you also get to complain about the youth of today? And there's so much to complain about: damn kids are clearly not doing the right drugs. Why, when I was 22 we lived on good old fashioned LSD and we had a right to purple hair.

Also, the dogs next door are barking more or less continuously again. There was a loose dog around, and that always sets them off, which reminds them that they can and should bark, and then they get mad at each other and fight loudly for a while, and then, if we're all really, really lucky, a siren will go by and Theo will join them in a harmonic howling session that has to be heard to be believed. God. It's a terrible thing when a woman can't just be a complete and utter lazy slob in her own quiet house anymore.

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