Once again, I am tired and puffy-eyed, and it’s all my fault. I can’t blame insomnia, or noisy neighbors…
Although, side note: late at night last week our lovely downstairs neighbor treated us to her rendition of the same song, which she sang at the top of her lungs over and over and over again. Nothing like waking up to someone singing Dionne Warwick. Yes, you heard me correctly.
That’s what friends are for. No. Just no.
When my alarm went off at 5:45, I started the day by jumping up and down on the floor, and then slamming a few doors. Maybe next time she’ll lip synch, or at the very least choose a better song to sing. The situation did, however, get me to thinking, under what life circumstances does That’s What Friends Are For become a theme song?
Anyway, I bought Donna Tartt’s TheGoldfinch a few weeks ago, which I plan to read over the holiday. But, since I haven’t read her first two books, I also purchased The SecretHistory to read before starting her most recent novel. Is it a life-changing book? No, but the story is entertaining and I can’t put it down. The only problem is, I have too many things to do during the day, so I read a little before going to bed each night. And by a little, I mean a lot, because the book is nearly 600 pages and I really, really want to know what happens.
Two more late nights and I should be done with the book.
In the past, you guys have suggested some excellent reads, so recommendations please. What are you reading?
I just remarked to my husband this morning that, though I’m less than thrilled with all the work we have to do to the place, at least it’s quiet. No noise from the neighbors whatsoever.
I do believe I jinxed us.
A little while ago, I was sitting in the living room writing, and all of the sudden I heard the most god-awful music. Loud, terrible music. Our living room opens to a little patio that is next to a small courtyard, and that is the direction the music came from. So I opened the blinds, and there was a woman in a workout top and hotpants sitting approximately ten feet away, blaring Eye of the Tiger.
And just when I thought that was about the most annoying thing ever, she repeated the song. Eye of the Tiger once could be construed as funny. But Eye of the Tiger twice? No, that’s just mean – it is going to take me the rest of the day to get that stupid song out of my head.
This, however, made me think of a story.
Years ago, before my husband and I married, we came to Texas to visit my family. At the time my sister and her not-then husband still lived in Austin, and we crashed with them for a couple of nights. Now, I can only have about a half a cocktail, or one very weak one nowadays, but this was, like, eight years ago. We were all much younger, and able to party all night. And that is exactly what we did whenever we all got together. I think we probably hit half a dozen bars that Friday, and got totally obliterated.
Needless to say, we were hung the fuck over the following day. Horribly hungover. And we were supposed to meet my dad for lunch and a movie. My little sister, head hanging over a trashcan by her bed, baled. My dad helpfully suggested she drink some Sprite and eat a little toast, and off we went to grab lunch. Eating, by the way, did nothing to alleviate my hangover. In fact, I felt worse.
Afterward we headed to the Alamo Drafthouse, which is a great place to catch a flick. We were going to see Apocalypto (you might recall that there were some bloody and gruesome parts to that movie, not a good thing when you’re already queasy). It just so happened the new Rocky movie opened that day too, and in honor of it, the Drafthouse set up a gargantuan slab of raw meat for Rocky viewers to punch, if they so pleased (posters also promised a raw egg eating contest for later in the day. Gross). The meat punching was to begin at 1pm, but a long line of guffawing dudes already waited, punching each other’s shoulders and shadow boxing. It was quite the scene. And for me, a nauseating one. I am a vegetarian – have been for more than twenty years. Vegetarian + hangover + large quantities of raw meat = one very sick Vesta.
Anyway, the point is, Eye of the Tiger still makes me a little sick to my stomach.
A couple of months ago I read about Nick Cave’s new art opening in W Magazine. I assumed they were writing about this Nick Cave:
Not so much. Yesterday while driving through downtown Austin, we passed the Jones Center, which is currently exhibiting Hiding in Plain Sight, by a completely different Nick Cave. Rather than go into detail, suffice it to say he does stuff involving fibers and pogo sticks, among other things:
Anyway, all this reminded me of some moronic neighbors I had about a decade ago. After several years of weird roommates, I decided it was time to live by myself. Being that I was in school and working at a restaurant, I could only afford a certain amount of rent. My choices were limited, and I ended up in a crappy studio apartment in a building filled with some interesting characters. And by interesting, I mean thugs and stoners. The people directly across from me fell into the stoner category, and there were three of them living in a tiny studio. None of them were employed, so even though the rent was only $700 a month, the apartment manager was constantly threatening to evict them for non-payment. Keep in mind this was well before the economy went south, and all three dudes were about my age. They could have gotten jobs, but that would have involved getting up in the morning, and possibly passing a drug test, neither of which was going to happen.
To supplement for the lack of living space, the stoner dudes decided to put an entire living room set of furniture outside of their apartment, which was mere feet away from my front door, and because these were some of the tiniest studios ever, my bed. I went round and round with those guys. There was no AC in any of the units. I went out and bought a wall unit, but Larry, Curly, and Moe were only able to pull enough cash together for weed, so they sweated it out. Rather than hang out inside, they spent all their time outside on their what I assumed to be flea and lice infested couches. All their time, by the way, was at night. All night. Every night. And none of them gave a damn if they woke me or anyone else up in the building. I started by politely asking them to keep it down after midnight (which is beyond reasonable), to which I only got a blank stare. I asked not so politely, same blank stare. Between the three of them they had an IQ of about 10, so I don’t know why I bothered.
Flash forward to finals week. I stayed up half the night cramming for a test, and was trying to catch a few hours of much needed sleep. Instead, I listened to Red Right Hand over and over and over again, because The Stoners had brought a boom box outside and were playing it on repeat. Also on repeat was their conversation. They kept talking about how Nick Cave was so high during the recording of the song that, “You can just feel his eyes rolling back inside his head, maaaaaaaaaan!”
Every time they replayed the song they turned it up a little louder, which meant they had to yell a little louder to make their asinine observations heard. The fourth or fifth time it happened, something snapped in me. Clad in PJs, I opened my front door and let loose a torrent of pent up anger.
Pent. The Fuck. Up.
I had finals, and had put up with their nonsense for far too long. The funny thing was, they just could not understand why I was upset, you could see it in their bewildered and red-rimmed eyes.
After I finished flipping out, they replayed the song at full blast, and I’ve never been able to listen to it since without feeling a tinge of annoyance.
By the way, the next two days will be a whirlwind of travel, so I won’t be posting again until Thursday. Happy Holidays to all of you!!
So, this morning I was in the laundry room when one of my neighbors walked in while I was getting my clothes out of the dryer. She’s a very nice woman, one of the few approachable folks in the building. I think I’ve mentioned before that we live in a rather unfriendly complex – no one knows each other’s names and there is zero sense of community. Because of this, my husband and I have given our neighbors names based on personality traits and whatnot. You guys remember the Poop Baggers (to be fair, they finally stopped leaving bags of dog poop outside their door months ago, but the name will probably always stick), and then there are The Couple with the Kid, The Crazy Bald Guy, The Bulldog Couple (no, that’s not mean, they have a bulldog), etc. It just so happens I know the name of the particular neighbor that came into the laundry room this morning, because last year UPS mistakenly delivered her package to our door. But prior to that we called her The Soap Lady, since she makes fancy soaps and sells them at nearby farmers markets. However, my husband can never remember her name, so he continues to call her soap lady.
Anyway, she and I exchanged hellos and whatnot, and then she asked me if I work. I told her I work from home, blah blah, and she told me she was a freelance writer for 20 years. And then she said, “I didn’t become The Soap Lady until I retired.”
That line, by the way, was delivered with crossed arms, a smirk, and raised eyebrows. Ahem. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that, at some point, she overheard one of us call her the soap lady.
Well, don’t I feel like a bit of an ass.
On an un-ass-y related note, I saw this over the weekend. Usually my shout outs are to real life or blogger friends. I have no idea who these guys are, but I really hope they find the funding to make this movie.