Search This Blog

Saturday, September 23, 2023


Just as I had managed to drift off to sleep tonight, loud music started up in the apartment across the hall from me. New neighbors moved in a few weeks ago — I have not yet met them face to face — and earlier this week they kept me awake with the sounds of their lovemaking coupled with music that was apparently intended to mask their amorous exclamations. On that night, just as I was about to get out of bed to ask them to modulate, the noise stopped, so I wrote it off as their one free night of youthful inconsideration. No noise from them during the week, but I promised myself that I would act swiftly if it happened again. Cut to twenty minutes ago and the music from the neighbors' stereo being heard through my wall at a volume that is unacceptable for a residential building at 3am. One of their speakers must be located right next to the head of my bed, only on the other side of the wall, and the walls here are thin. As most of you are aware (from my serial whinging about the matter), I suffer with insomnia, so what little sleep I may glean on any given night is precious. Thus, I got out of bed, threw on a shirt, and ventured across the hall.

Upon leaving my flat I could not help but hear the music, which was audible at a level where I may as well have been in the room with it. Surprisingly, none of the other tenants on my floor took umbrage, so I assumed they were either dead asleep or out enjoying the remainder of Friday night bar time. Anyway, I rang the doorbell a few times and  soon heard the music's volume decrease. I could hear someone stumble to the door, lining themself up to peer at me through its peephole. I was met with a confused "Hello?" from what sounded like a male in his mid-to-late twenties, so I told him I was his across-the-hall neighbor and that his music could clearly be heard through the wall and that it was right next to my head, thus rendering it impossible for me to sleep. I was polite but firm and it was likely that having a big, bald black dude appear at his door with a noise complaint in the wee hours of the morning was NOT something he anticipated when retiring to dally with his inamorata, so he apologized, after which the music was silenced. I came back to my apartment but now I was wide-awake again, so I will put on an audiobook on low and let its voice lull me back to sleep. At least it's a Saturday, so I don't have to wake up early.

In my 26 years of living here, I only had to complain about late-night noise once, when my then across-the-hall neighbor, an obnoxious trust fund kid named Larry, saw nothing wrong with inviting over some randos he'd met just before a local bar closed. Larry was a cokehead whose habit lost him three well-paying jobs within that year, so his days were spent being falling down drunk while he played selections from his voluminous record collection — he was an obsessive audiophile — and he spent his nights cruising the neighborhood bars and snorting cocaine with strangers.

On the night in question, Larry had lured guests back here with the promise of Bolivian marching powder, and probably a head full of hope of getting laid. Larry arrived just before 4am with three equally-wasted strangers he'd just met, and once within his flat he put on Black Sabbath's first album at high volume with heavy bass, and the group began doing coke and talking and laughing loudly amongst themselves. The din woke me from a sound sleep (back in the days when such slumber was commonplace), so I got out of bed and knocked on Larry's door. He threw the door open and, reeking like a distillery while looking like he'd tried to shove a box of powdered donuts up his nostrils, smiled and gestured for me to come in. "Hey, Steve!" he bellowed. "We're havin' a sniff party! Come on in!" I did not budge but I did alert him to the fact that it was just after 4am on a Tuesday and I had to be up at 7 to get ready for work. He either did not hear me or did not care, so I raised my voice and shifted into "scary black man" mode, which got him to focus on my words. His guests also took notice of the dusky irate figure who loomed in the doorway, and they were at least sober enough to know that the party train had been derailed. They gathered their things and swiftly exited, leaving Larry there to whine "Hey, man! You're harshing my good time! NOT cool!" I told him to turn the music off and go to bed or I would call the police, and once he heard the word "police," he complied.

After that, Larry's drunken and coked-up antics only increased, or maybe he'd always been that bad and I had simply never seen it. Whatever the case, he was now regularly seen at all hours staggering around bombed or wired, his classic moment came one morning when I had to go into work early to get a head start on a time-sensitive assignment. I left my apartment around 6:30am, and as I was locking my deadbolt I noticed what appeared to be a corpse laying at the top of the stairs to my floor, so I took a photo for visual evidence, just in case. (see photo below)   

                                             Ah, the joys of New York City tenement living...

Upon close examination I at first thought a homeless guy had gotten into the building, but it turned out to be Larry, who was so drunk that he stopped to lay down and rest upon making it onto the second floor, perhaps twenty feet from his apartment. He was out cold, so I woke him up (as much as I could) and asked if he was alright. Slurring, he assured me he was fine, then he invited me to join him on the floor. Instead, I offered to help him into his flat, but he declined my offer and opted to remain where he was. Not having the time nor the energy for that foolishness, I bid him farewell, to which he happily exclaimed "GET SOME REST!!!"

That was a decade ago, and there have been no late-night incidents until tonight's. I hope my neighbors will be more considerate going forth, but we shall see...

Friday, September 22, 2023



During today's dialysis session I read the first volume of SUPERMAN VS MESHI, the imported manga series in which Superman reveals he's addicted to Japanese cuisine, hence the "meshi" of the title. (It loosely translates as "something that is eaten," or "grub.") You see, when lunchtime rolls around, Supes frequently flies to Japan at super speed and satisfies his craving for his favorite food while commenting on the meals like a smitten food critic. His sense of wonder and enjoyment during all of this takes me right back to my formative years and my early experiences with the sumptuous flavors and textures of Japanese food, and by the time I finished reading the first volume I wanted to devour a big plate of seafood tempura and rice.

The tone of the script eases the reader into assorted Japanese dishes and what makes them so delicious, and the simplistic artwork gives the piece the look and feel of a child's primer on the joys of Japan's cornucopia of quality eats. In short, it's a fun guide for newcomers to the cuisine and foodies alike, with guest spots by Justice League members. It's silly but it knows what it's on about, so I will be back for more. Offbeat but RECOMMENDED. (And it's relatively cheap.)