I was thinking I should do something productive tonight.
Maybe mess around with new looks for the site since it's over two years old and looking considerably dated, but I decided that I spend enough time messing with websites at work.
Then I thought maybe I’d finally finish that whiskey bottle and stuffed monkey diorama I've been working on, but I didn't feel like getting pelted with all that feces the little hairy bastards toss at me when they see me scaling the zoo fence with a Chloroform soaked bag slung over my shoulder.
I even thought that maybe I'd even go to bed early so I can wake up bright and bushy tailed tomorrow for work, but sleep is for the weak and my co-workers wouldn't recognize me if I showed up bright and bushy tailed anyway. I like to pretend they prefer me showing up an hour and a half late, throwing hostile glares at any one who tries to speak to me before I've surfed the internet for a couple of hours and scarfed down whatever swill they're calling lunch in the cafeteria.
Instead, I decided to put some pants on, go buy some cigarettes, pour myself a mason jar of shitty whiskey, and blabber on the strangelands for awhile. Hell, it's the end of the month, so nobody will read this anyway.
It's cold as a well digger's ass in my apartment tonight. Not for the usual reason. Usually, the guy running the Pakistani deli downstairs shuts the off the heat.
For those of you living in more civilized parts of the world the way it works is, in a building like mine, two apartments in a 3 story building with a retail establishment on the ground floor, whoever runs the store on the ground floor has to pay for the heating oil for the building and also controls the heat. This means he can save a couple of bucks for that wife he wants to buy back home by shutting off the heat, locking up his store, and going home.
After 5 years of phone calls to my landlord, complaints to the city, and threats of eviction, I think he's finally given up. Or maybe he finally bought that wife and doesn't need the extra cash anymore. Either way, the heats been on most nights this year.
But tonight my apartment is freezing because all my windows are open and God decided to send a in cold front to give me pneumonia.
You might ask, "But Trey, why don't you just close the windows?" Good question. I can't close the windows because the hallway outside my door smells like a bum with an intestinal infection spent an entire afternoon rubbing his shit into the hall carpet.
I honestly don't know what happened. I came home one day and the whole place smelled rancid, and it doesn't seem to be going away. Right now, the subway smells better than my apartment. My downstairs neighbors claim they don't know what's up, and keep dumping Pinesol all over the hall. I don't know what they think that will accomplish. All it does is make the place smell more like a gas station bathroom. All disinfectant and feces. Mmmm, Mmmm good.
I have two current theories.
The first is that the Pakistanis smuggled someone into the country, convinced him he'd be safe in an alcove under the stairs, forgot about him until he starved to death, and I walk over his rotting corpse every day.
My other theory is that my neighbors downstairs came home one day, found a shit covered bum dead in the hallway face down in a puddle of his own ripple wine vomit, hauled his body into their apartment, and turned him into tamales. Mmmm... tamales.
The kicker of this whole thing is, I'm going to my landlord on Friday so I can beg him to let me stay in this dump.
It went down like this.
For the past year my GF has been wanting to move to Austin Texas. It really doesn't make much sense she's from Massachuessettessettss, but she seems to think cheap housing, friendly people, and sunshine are things worth having. Since I've become a hostile hard as nails New Yorker verging on Vampirism, the kind of guy who thinks sunshine is for hippies and friendly is what you pay the strippers for, I spent a year trying to talk her out of it.
But, after a year I finally gave up, filled out a form promising my landlord I'd move out by Feb. 1, and gave my notice at work.
Then a funny thing happened.
My boss-boss called me into his office. I figured he hadn't read my "take this job and shove it" email yet and was going to finally get on my case about showing up an hour and a half late, surfing the internet all day once I finally showed up hungover, and wearing ketchup smeared clothes that wouldn't meet the dress code even if they were clean.
Much to my surprise he wanted to talk me out of leaving. I told him that there really wasn't anything I could do since my options were either move to Texas and live in luxury with my girl who, although evil, isn't so hard on the eyes, swears like a sailor, can drink you under the table, and is nearsighted enough to overlook my rapidly expanding gut; or I can stay in New York in my shit hole of an apartment as a fat single drunken chain smoker.
To which he replied, "Oh shit." To which I replied, "well, yeah."
He leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling for a bit. While I waited, I stared out at the cloud clad roof of the city through the floor to ceiling windows of his corner office and cursed the fact that I majored in Computer Science instead of Business. Business majors don't have as much fun in college as art majors, but everybody has more fun than the C.S. majors. And when it's all said and done the business majors get corner offices and fat paychecks while C.S. majors get a grey cubicle and maybe a coffee mug that says, "bow before me, for I am root."
So, the boss-boss creaks forward in his chair, leans over his massive desk covered in pictures of his summer retreat in the Hamptons and empty food containers dropped off from a ritzy restaurant uptown and says, "Well, what if you could live better in New York? What if we paid you (60 percent raise)?"
Out of the air he picked the number that, if I found a good job in Texas and busted ass (highly unlikely), I might make in five years. For just a moment I indulged in visions of whiskey rivers, cigarette mountains, and liposuction before I told him that money really wasn't the issue.
He leaned back in his chair, stared at the ceiling again, looked back at me and asked, "Now why are you leaving?".
I laid the whole scenario out for him again (see above). He said, "Oh shit," again, and I said, "Well, yeah," again.
He convinces me to at least talk to my GF about it, and I spend the next week looking for my balls while negotiating between my corner office boss-boss and my girlfriend. When it's all said and done, she actually agrees to stay in NYC as long as we move in together and maybe find a nicer place.
No sweat right? I'll be bringing in a big stack of cash every month. We can find a nicer place.
Turns out I was wrong. And not for the first time.
When I moved to New York I was actually in the process of buying a place in Dallas. I figured I'd cancel that deal and just pick up a place in NYC. New Yorkers laugh when I tell them that. I took one look at the real estate listings and decided I'd be renting for awhile. I looked at a couple of places in Manhattan before deciding that I would be living in Queens. I looked at a couple of places in Queens before deciding that if only I could find a place that wasn't on fire, where the rats didn't carry switchblades, and where the roaches didn't laugh at me when I walked in, I would sell a kidney to rent it.
So, I finally found a place, a dump that none of my friends from Texas even like to set foot in, but at least the ceiling is only collapsing in two rooms and it only rains in the bathroom, and mostly in the tub at that.
So, with my new stack of cash, we went apartment hunting. Every place I looked at I became more depressed. Turns out my apartment is a better deal than I ever thought. When you look at a 2k a month shit hole in Long Island City, climbing over the crack whore passed out in the hall way just to get to the fifth floor walk-up with the industrial carpet, you start appreciating your own 1200 a month dump with no square rooms. So we decided to say here.
All I have to do now is crawl on my knees around my landlord's whale skin furniture, through his 4 inch deep hand woven Scandinavian virgin carpeting, make my way behind his 40 ton ancient redwood desk, kiss his feet, slobber on his scabby dick, and beg to keep my place.
I just hope he says yes...