Thursday, April 2, 2009

Su Casa No es Mi Casa

I have little to complain about when it comes to my home. It gets supreme morning and afternoon light. Its orientation draws in a perfect air flow that cools me down after yoga. It is impeccably clean and well maintained. Stone tiles in my kitchen are heated from the ventilation of my refrigerator, allowing for glorious mornings wrapped in my robe, sprawled across my kitchen floor with a mug of coffee and the latest edition of Cooks magazine.

My neighborhood is bustling. It is only a few miles bike ride Downtown (whereby en route I catch stunning views of the city, ocean, and Coronado bridge). I can walk to the grocery store, frozen yogurt shops, vegan restaurants, thai restaurants, cafes, bars, and the local hardware store. Its eclectic and dynamic vibe brings a flavor much more appealing to a twenty-something liberal than the nefarious pink cookie cutter stucco homes, baby strollers, and SUV’s of suburban Hades. I’m quite happy here.

North Park certainly has its share of quirks. For one, I cannot be outside at any time of day (5am, 10 am, noon, and especially 10pm) without seeing at least one prostitute. There was even a recent occasion when I was mistaken for one. I was walking home from VONS, dressed in my huge fleece sweats and Harvard sweatshirt, carrying a twelve-pack of diet Pepsi over my shoulder. An ominous looking, window tinted ride crept up on me, stopped, then slowly powered down its windows. Inside, a scruffy male peered at me from the drivers side, gave me a head nod and the look. I can't imagine the image projected from my face at that moment, but it was surely one so disdainful that he abashedly rolled up his window without adieu, pulled a screeching U-turn, and ran a red light across the main intersection. Idiot. Though, in his defense, that’s how notorious my corner is for women of the night, so much that a soda fiend and Harvard boasting female could easily be assumed part of the short skirt long jacket party on the adjacent corner.

Perhaps of most notable mention are the neighbors to the south side of my building. Looking down into their property from my second story apartment is exhilarating, exhausting, laughable, and anxiety inducing (particularly for a self diagnosed perfectionist with OCD and an inherently zen philosophy on living spaces.) In this yard, one might uncover such treasures as reindeer Christmas light structures, children’s shoes (on the rooftop), broken umbrellas, shoeboxes, candy wrappers, broken coal barbeques, broken swing sets, broken plastic kiddie slides, balls, strollers, busted electronics, life-size illuminate-able nativity scene figures, and all kinds of other goodies. Their washer and dryer machine seems to be running 24/7. Every morning I hear a woman hack and cough as if it were her final dying gasp for oxygen. At least 14 people live in that home- one for each pet dog that occupies the same space. I suppose it is also worth mentioning the uncanny behavior of these pups whenever inspired by a nearby emergency vehicle. The sirens provoke the dogs to chime in with their own melody, resulting in a cacophonous duet of howls, sirens, howls, followed by the vigorous clapping of their dictatorial owner... at which point they predictably silence themselves. This has encouraged my own Pavlovian response- now I too can quiet these beasts from the comfort of my cozy kitchen floor.

The photo above is the sign hanging from their side yard. I’m still trying to figure out who that prominent bust is occupying the center “O”.


The Schumanator said...

LOVE THIS - this is hilarious dude. Literally laughed out loud at my desk here.

Jesse and Corinne said...

Fantastic! I was going to take a picture of our next-door-dog and try to capture the audio of what happens when an emergency vehicle races down Euclid. This would have required Jesse to make a false report, though. You've captured it perfectly. In all my years I've never heard a dog do that -- his howl is so dead-on...