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Quick Notes:

In no particular order, I here are a few thoughts for the morning:

Apparently my Ambien makes me sleep walk. It also makes me go outside in my sleepclothes and smoke cigarettes at 2 AM. Another grand effect, to my dog’s dismay, is that I locked Jeckyl on the back patio and went back to sleep. I’m quite certain that my upstairs and downstairs neighbors just loved that. I’m sorry, Jeckyl. Perhaps it’s time to switch up the sleep aid. 

I woke at 4 AM. It’s pouring rain and if I could think of a believable reason to call out from work today, I would be down like a flat tire. Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything and I need the money, so it looks like I’ll be hitting the hospital halls in T minus one hour. Hrmph.

 

Love Thy Neighbor, Even If She May Be A Peeping Tom.

I’ve come to two conclusions. The first being I am completely obsessed with the goings-on in the apartment above me, and secondly that the apartment above me is being inhabited by 150 people. My second conclusion further reinforces my first.

I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow they’ve managed to occupy the place to full capacity. I live in the largest of all the buildings on my block with 3 floors with 12 units in it. I’m smooshed right smack dab in the middle of everyone and everything, and I LOVE it. My upstairs neighbors are loud. Loooooud… And when I say loud, I mean there are times when I find myself wondering if they’re throwing dressers and tables and barbells and bowling balls across the house as some weird sort of midnight ritual. There have been times when I’ve wondered if The Harlem Globetrotters have taken residence above me. The family that lives above me moved here from India about 9 months ago. There are two elderly women, a couple of older men, a couple of mid-30’s men and women, a few younger college-aged kids, and 2 or 3 small children whom I see on a regular basis. They play loud Middle Eastern music that makes me smile despite the fact that my door frames are shaking and my dogs are howling throughout the songs. When I open my patio doors, I hear foreign conversation and laughter. I smell their cooking and wonder what they’re eating. I imagine whatever it is, it’s beautiful. I’ll bet it was handmade by Daadima and it’s as colorful and intricate as the dresses she wears. My upstairs neighbors are always friendly in passing. I’d be willing to bet that if I walked upstairs and asked to join them in the Heavenly feast they’re consuming, they would welcome me with no hesitation. They are super friendly. However, they do not make any apologies for their boisterous living above.

I remember one incident recently that had my mother reeling, ready to storm upstairs and totally blast off. We were sitting on the patio one evening, watching the sun float lazily over the lake. One of my favorite things to do after a long shift is to sit outside and drink cup after cup of coffee. I contemplate my day, clear my mind, and lose myself in my drink. Mom and I were talking about the day’s events, recounting the craziness at work and enjoying our little relaxation ritual, when suddenly we are surprised by a ritual from above.

SPLASH!

Down pours a torrential stream of water from the patio above, through the crevices in the wooden planks that separate the neighbor’s floor from my patio ceiling. “What the Hellllllllll,” my mother cries, her Alabama drawl shrill and panicked. Another wave of liquid splashes down upon us, into my coffee, all over our scrubs, and covers the table. I jump up and push back my heavy, wrought iron chair. My mom looks up with bewilderment.

Ohhhh nooooooo. I’ll be right there…” comes a voice from above, and suddenly I see a little eye peering through the crack above me. “Oh no, no, noooo… I’m coming. Please you wait. Be right there…”  And before I know it, there is a knock at my front door, and a small Indian woman standing before me. I open the door and she is giggling nervously. “I am so sorry. I am so very sorry. This happen when I do offering, my prayer. I don’t mean to wet you. I should do this somewhere else, then, maybe, no…?” She produces a small, silver pot before me, and nods toward it. “See, my prayer.” She smiles, and I start giggling, too. “No, ma’am. You’re just fine. It was hot outside anyway. It’s really no bother at all.” It really is no worry, as she’s just reinforced my fascination with her family upstairs.

She smiles, heads back toward the stairs, then suddenly turns around. “Maybe you put plants on patio, and I water them, too. Yes?”  I nod. “Yes, Ma’am.”

This is just one of the daily incidents that occur between my neighbors and I. It is typically one-sided, me wondering what they’re doing as they live their day to day lives.

Still, I am truly convinced, and you will never make me believe otherwise, that there are hundreds of people up there, dancing and running with bricks attached to their feet. There may be livestock up there, stomping around as I watch the white plaster crumble from the ceiling onto my bed at midnight. Perhaps they all have Pogo sticks. Perhaps they’re slam dancing. Perhaps they’re not really doing anything at all, except living, which is a lot more that I do in my apartment. My mother finds it strange that it doesn’t bother me. She finds it even more bizarre that I, well, love it.

“Doesn’t that drive you crazy? You should call and complain…”

“Nah. I like the raucous…” I say. As I lay in bed at night, staring up at the ceiling, I thumb through all the wild scenarios in my mind. “Perhaps they’ve adopted an elephant…” Unlikely, but an enjoyable thought to entertain nonetheless.

I can only continue to speculate, and that’s just as entertaining to me….

I totally love my upstairs neighbors, all 150 of them. 🙂Image

Keep Your Dirty Pearls.

When did Alabama swallow me whole?

This apartment, this city, this state- the whole region, actually, has gripped it’s pearly little teeth right into the nape of my neck, and refuses to let go of me. The grip of this culture, or lack there of, is astonishing. It’s binding and painfully sticky. While I was raised in The South, my upbringing was nothing like this. Be warned – The State of Alabama will suck every ounce of individuality and free-thinking you have straight from your eyeballs and wash it down with a side of sweet tea.

I was transplanted here when I was 16, uprooted from the artsy Lowcountry town in which I was raised and loved. I was brought kicking and screaming to this God Forsaken place. The day before we left, it was Prom Night and also my 16th birthday. My mother had told me   that the following day I would be moving to Alabama. I decided two things at that moment – 1. I wasn’t moving to “Good Ol’ Alabammy”, and 2. I was going to drink as much cheap vodka as I could get my 16 year old hands on and never go home again. As it played out, my mother found me, her bumbling, pirate-drunk daughter, disheveled in a puke-stained sequined blue ball gown with a Misfits hoodie, draped over a park bench by the fountain downtown. Despite my protest, despite my ingenious plan, I found myself headed to Alabama in the 100 degree heat, no AC in the car, puking and crying and sweltering as she drove me straight to Hell.

At the age of 18, I packed up everything that I could jam into a suitcase and booked it on a Greyhound back “home” only to have my loving family “rescue” me from the city and from my wild ways and bring me back. Again at the age of 20, I married and booked it 1000 miles away to Boston, only to wind up divorced a year and a half later, heading back down South, this time with a new baby in tow. 25, same story, this time I fled to the Southern most point between The Gulf and The Caribbean. After a nightmarish 6 years of my life, I once again packed up my beat-up old Saturn with anything that would fit, told my significant other that I was going to Publix for mac and cheese, and fled 600 miles North again, back to the place I’d tried so desperately to escape.

So here I am again, 5 years later. I haven’t tried to escape. This time I decided to try to make it work. I’ve attempted to establish some sort of amicability between Alabama and myself. The problem is, I don’t belong here. I don’t fit in. I feel like an awkward  teenager in a High School gymnasium. There are cliques and groups and certain ways about this place, even at 35 years old. Conform or be shunned.

Now this is not to say that I have not made a single friend since being here. I have. I am thankful for the select few that seem to get me, the ones who could care less if I’m wearing a Chevron printed top with stylish Greek sandals or what church I go to. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people I’ve come to know here do, in fact, want to know what church I attend. Why am I not married? How could you have anything other than church plans on Sunday? It’s absurd that I may not be Southern Baptist. Perhaps I find that quoting scripture on Birthday Cards is revolting. Perhaps that I don’t find swirlydoodles with scripture on t-shirts painted with flipflops to be high-fashion. Perhaps I don’t enjoy sitting around quoting the Bible whilst judging others and gossiping about who is doing what and how they’re just not “True Christians”. Perhaps I find monogramming everything you fucking own absolutely hideous and ridiculous. I know what belongs to me, thanks. I don’t have to have my initials printed on my handbag to know that it is mine.

Perhaps I have no desire to wear a sundress and cowgirl boots when I’ve never even touched a horse or a pony or a cow or any other farm animal in my stinking life. Perhaps, just perhaps, I think that dressing your little boys in scary Exorcism gowns and having his picture taken (to further scar him as an adult) is absolutely insane. Perhaps I don’t want to dress my child in a Jon-Jon with his initials sewed in turquoise blue lettering and have a tea party for his 1st birthday. I don’t want to be a part of these retarded traditions. I don’t want to put on pearls and pretend to like it. I don’t want to take a bunch of screaming asshole kids from Youth Group to Kids Night at Chick-fil-a. I’m not baking you a fucking cake and I don’t want any of you to come to my house. Like ever. I have no desire to fit into this group of dickhead women nor will I ever put on the false pretenses that I do. I find these people highly revolting, and if I could punch every single one of them in their squeeky little hearts, I would without hesitation.

Everything is temporary anyway.
When the streets are wet —
The color slip into the sky.
But I don’t know why that means you and I are
– that means you and….
I quit — I give up.
Nothin’s good enough for anybody else it seems.
But I quit. I give up.
Nothing’s good enough for anybody else it seems.

And being alone
Is the best way to be.
When I’m by myself it’s
The best way to be.
When I’m all alone it’s
The best way to be.
When I’m by myself
Nobody else can say…

Me, I’m a part of your circle of friends
And we notice you don’t come around.

I’m not saying that I don’t want a great group of friends and that I don’t want to fit in and “belong” so to speak, but I just can’t seem to find anyone to relate to here.

So, what to do?

My family tells me, “The reason you’re lost is because you haven’t found God.” “You’re pessimistic.” “You need to find a good group of church friends and you will find happiness”.

No. I’m lonely not because I’m a bad person, but because I can’t relate to these people or my surroundings. I’m lonely because no one thinks I’m funny except for me. I’m lonely because I laugh when the jerk-off waitress at the Catfish restaurant slips and busts her ass after rolling her eyes at me for asking a simple question. I’m lonely because when I talk about visiting other parts of the country I’m not referring to Georgia or Pensacola. I’m lonely because I think that the majority of the women that I’ve met thus far are so different from me and I am totally uninterested in anything they find appealing.  I’d rather be lonely than spend my time pretending to like and care about things that I could care less about.

Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again
If you’d only try turning around.

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