I’m pretty sure one of my neighbors has tuberculosis. I believe the fancy term for that is “consumption.” Each night at approximately 9:30 p.m., someone goes into the bathroom that shares a wall with my living room and coughs like he or she has a huge hairball deep down in his/her lungs. Or a bale of hay. Or a meat grinder. Or a chainsaw.
Why do I say his/her? Because my neighbors are very confusing people. They are, I think, a couple. I only think this because I’m pretty sure it’s a one-bedroom apartment. And I’m almost positive one of them is a man and one is a woman, which makes sharing a bedroom more difficult if you’re not a couple (and you're both straight). But it’s hard to say for sure. They’re both quite obese, and when I first moved in I thought they were a nerdy gay (male) couple that loved video games. Now I think they are an unconventional straight couple and the woman really loves baseball. The one I think is a woman has a relatively feminine face, but she has close-cropped hair and a deep voice. The one that looks like a man (Jay—he introduced himself (herself?) begrudgingly one time when I was warning him (her?) about my bee situation; P.S. he/she didn't care, even though I was trying to be a good neighbor and tell him/her to watch his/her back), has a mannish face but a very high voice. And sometimes he/she smokes cigars. The two of them have a screen door that closes with magnets (instantly!) and Jay (J? Jaye?) will often smoke his/her cigars just outside while lady-friend (man-friend?) watches some baseball and eats some/a lot of Cheetos.
Behold the screen:
Whoever it is that coughs sounds a lot like a man, because the coughs are deep and throaty and baritone. But who’s to say that Jay’s girlfriend (boyfriend?) isn’t a deep, throaty cougher? (FYI: it seems "cougher" is not a word. I'm coining it. Dibs!) I only mention it because it’s actually kind of disgusting and drives me up the wall. But I’m sure that I make noises that annoy the shit out of them as well. I just hope the coughing isn’t a result of one of them having cystic fibrosis. (Although, and I'm not trying to be insensitive here but medical: I'm pretty sure people with cystic fibrosis have to do their coughing in the morning, not in the evening.) If one of them actually has CF, that'll suck...mostly because I'll feel guilty for complaining.
Also, my fascination with who’s who in this sexual/romantic/mystery relationship has more to do with my innate need to label people and put them into tidy little compartments so I can move on with my life and free up gray matter. Think of it as Tupperware of the mind. (Though I’m pretty positive the Tupperware cabinet of my mind looks a lot like the Tupperware cabinet of my kitchen—and my Mom’s kitchen, too: half of it is mismatched and 90% of the lids are missing.)
In other news from my increasingly classless apartment building: someone left this on top of the recycle bin this morning:
|My garage is full of treasures.|
Please forgive the poor quality of the photo. It was 6:45 a.m., I was on 4 hours of sleep and there wasn’t much light and oh yeah, I’m a SHITTY PHOTOGRAPHER.
What do you suppose this is? If I were being practical, I would assume it’s just a hideous duvet cover or bed skirt. But I prefer to think that it’s the cast off robe of a former king who, due to reduced circumstances, is forced to share this shithole building with the rest of us poor, consumptive, sexually ambiguous slobs.
*Lou Holtz, retired American football coach (most recently of Notre Dame and South Carolina). Wise words, buddy.
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