Erik and Laura-Marie Magazine

the characters of my apartment complex

I already told you last issue about the crazy white woman downstairs who owns Orange Cat. She thinks there’s a conspiracy against her involving furniture and people listening in on her telephone. I don’t feel sorry for her because she’s mean, and she scares me.

Another character is the old British lady. She has lived in this complex for 30 years. She has her own, real mailbox, with a flag and everything, as opposed to one of the narrow columns in the brass mailbox cabinet that opens with a key, like everyone else. She’s mean too. But she calls us “dear” while being mean, which is creepy.

Next door is one of the normal-est of the bunch. He has odd bumper stickers, though—Harry for President (in the Harry Potter font), WAGE PEACE (which of course I like), and Get a Taste of Religion—Lick a Witch. He plays his music loud, but I don’t mind some of it, like occasional Led Zeppelin, Enya, and John Lennon. He burns incense a lot, which smells nice. He’s not bad.

Directly downstairs is our quiet, young black female neighbor who drives a highly-oxidized-red car with a Mason sticker on it (I assume she’s not a Mason, though). She has a hard hat. When she has guests, they’re super-loud! She’s gone almost every weekend. Where, I have no idea—we’ve never spoken a word. She’s a bit mysterious and completely non-objectionable.

Then there’s a not-so-bad family across the way. The dad blasts terrible Christian music while he washes his car, but they are otherwise fine. The two sons are quiet. I saw the parents in Trader Joe one time.

The dad has a white truck, in addition to his black car, and it’s huge. It makes maneuvering the parking lot difficult, and we wish he would get rid of it, because he hasn’t driven it in more than six months. It has a cow bell on the front. Spider webs spun near the wheels prove the truck’s long period of disuse.

There’s the disabled woman who sometimes is visited by a guy I assume is her personal assistant. He drives a van. He wears an unusual Greek fisherman’s cap and black leather.

Then there’s the pure evil and her children and her dude. She is the white trash queen of the complex. She’s pregnant and screaming. She’s the one who I heard yesterday call her son a little fucker. She was yelling this morning at her dude for half an hour straight, and I don’t see how she doesn’t lose her voice. She doesn’t watch her kids for hours, and then suddenly she snaps and starts yelling at them with an anger that can’t be justified.

The kids are many and super-loud. The oldest boy is the worst–he likes to find a stick and bang on everything. Making noise seems to be his main way of having fun. The children leave trash everywhere, and their toys—a rake, small plastic chairs, half-naked Barbie in the grass.

What do you do about a neighbor like white trash queen? She symbolizes for me the reason our country is going downhill. The kids must be traumatized, and I think they’ll grow up to be like her. It’s clear that she’s stressed out to the max and needs some kind of help. Having another kid on the way was a terrible error. I wish I could lend a hand somehow, but I hate her, and I wouldn’t want to be around her. The sound of her voice is defeating.

Someone needs to give her a break, wash her dishes, and let her take a walk or do something nice, alone, but I don’t think I’m the one. It’s hard to start a conversation with someone whose dirty laundry you’re so familiar with via the screamed threats, accusations, and name-calling.

Her youngest daughter is so cute, and I wave to her sometimes. I wish I could help her too. Sometimes I hear her cry and cry. Life will only get harder for her when she’s no longer the baby!

The characters of my apartment complex have such a big impact on me because I am severely affected by sound. The walls are thin, and I’m forced to listen, but I’m isolated by shyness and aloofness. We all share poverty, and we all share the laundry room, and that’s about it.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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