Sunday, October 15, 2006

musings on my hood

My apartment community is comprised of various types of potheads.

Behind me and up a floor, with his balcony overlooking my back porch, is the Russian Kleptomaniac, as I so affectionately have dubbed him. He grew up in Moscow and moved to the States in high school, coincidentally landing in the same New Orleans suburb I spent my first eighteen years calling home. His father worked for the space program in Russia and got recruited to join the other team, now working at the oddly placed space center just over the state line in rural Mississippi. He went to the rich kid high school in my hometown, and in typical form is a misguided pill-popping genius. He got arrested recently for stealing various petty items out of cars in our parking lot in a drug-induced loss of self-control, but swears that he was just trying to do a good deed--teaching folks a lesson about locking their doors--and that he fully intended to return everything the next day, as soon as the drugs wore off. He's waiting now to see if that charge combined with a couple DUI's on his record will result in a deportment, which would put quite a damper on his pursuit of a nearly-finished physics degree from LSU.

Next door are the good ol' boys. With a rifle rack in the back window of his pickup and a complete inability to park in any manner conducive to fitting an appropriate amount of cars in an extremely small parking lot, he's solidified his standing with me as a redneck. He can often be found guzzling cheap beer out of cans on the front porch, but he keeps a good, steady job and turns the music down when we ask politely. He's got bumper stickers and yard signs for right-wing politicians on his truck and in his front window, but at least he votes. I'm much more pleased with votes against my party than with ignorant apathy.

Last but not least, are the upstairs neighbors. If they were next door, or in the next building, I might find them amusing, perhaps even likeable. But directly above my apartment they are an overwhelming nuisance. They're of a different breed of redneck--straight out the trailer park. And believe you me, I spent enough of my misguided youth in and around trailer parks to know the type. Broken beer bottles and dried up loogies litter the area below their balcony, right outside my front door. As none of them hold any kind of steady employment, they have a complete disregard for the peace vs. party schedules of normal folks, and frequently crank up a cacophonous combination of country and rap on random weeknights. Their very white friends often share with the neighborhood their freestylin' talents, rapping their little lungs out from the top of the stairs, and I have on more than one occassion had the pleasure of their admiring advances (years of experience has taught me that I am their type). I once came home to one of them sleeping on the sidewalk in front of our building. Nick and I offered to help him upstairs, reminding him that perhaps he would be more comfortable inside, and that his door had been left wide open, but he insisted that he wanted to sleep on the sidewalk, and anyone who was a real friend would understand that and leave him be. Nick went upstairs and peaked in the door to see if there was anybody we could notify of his unconventional sleeping arrangements, but found only a very large half-naked redneck passed out on the floor with a bottle still in his hand, so we let them be.

Cause the boys in the hood are always hard.


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