One thing good about starting back to work tomorrow after having had one of the best winter breaks ever--and this is the only good thing I have thought of so far--is that I won't have to hear every day the horrible voice of the man who lives down below me. I don't really know if he actually does live there, I don't think I have ever seen him (I only hear him), as I had originally thought who had moved in was three very ugly girls (young women). I wouldn't ordinarily think to describe anyone as ugly, and the fact that all three are grossly overweight has nothing to do with it, but when I happened to run into them waddling across the parking lot and gave them a very friendy "hello", they ignored me entirely, which in this complex (or neighborhood) could mean that they don't understand a word of English (or even have the ability to interpret a smile), or, more likely, actually are very ugly people. Their ignoring my friendly overture lifted any optimistic veil I might have had covering my eyes and I could see quite clearly that the very best word to describe all three of them was "ugly".
It must be that all three girls were moving in, they kept piling in so much junk that boxes and bean bag chairs and every other kind of assorted (ugly) junk filled up even the dining area that is easily seen from the front door. They even filled up their balcony with junk, something that is against the lease, but is something that is generally ignored elsewhere in this complex, as well. As the quality of the clientele here has diminished steadily over the months (to the extent that I feel a rush of surprise and positive energy if I happen to run into somebody here who is actually decent), so have the standards, to the extent that, apparently, there no longer are any standards at all.
The unit below me is like mine, a three-bedroom apartment, so three college-age girls commonly makes sense for that size of an apartment if one isn't a family. In fact, I have finally understood why there is so much moving in and out, which I have observed over the months and determined from some conversations I have had with those doing the moving out--they are singles who have roommates and the roommate moved away for some reason, and, since the tenant couldn't find another roommate, he or she had to move out, too. The other big reason is that if it is a couple, they break up, or get a divorce. The complex is large enough, and the relationships unstable enough, that there is a U-Haul in the parking lot almost every single weekend, including the resultant thrown-out ratty furniture crowding out my parking space...also against the lease, and also generally ignored, of course, because it is impossible to police and it seems that people have lost the ability to police themselves. Which means that I will very soon be treated to a whole forest of dead Christmas trees also crowding out my parking space. For my own (sadly) drying-up Christmas tree, I have found several places run by Los Angeles County where you can for free drop off your trees to be turned into mulch, so that's where my own will be going. By the way, a few days ago, I took to one of the county's hazardous waste disposal three bags of stuff--one filled with expired prescription medications, one filled with expired over-the-counter medications, and the third filled with old grooming products that I no longer use. Imagine, I didn't just throw all that out into our apartment's dumpsters, how weird everyone here would think I must be to not do that!
As ugly as the "three girls" were, they weren't really very noisy, which was a blessing compared to whomever lived there before, the heavy pot smokers who generated smells in addition to their constant fighting and door-slamming noise, not to mention their yippy little dog whom they would put out onto the balcony (instead of walking him like they should), which made his yapping all the more evident to my ears. I seriously contemplated dropping down some poisoned meat, and I love animals and normally would never think of such a thing, but this dog simply did not deserve to live. I prayed for these people to move out, but, you know, be careful what you wish for.
However, after a month of blissful quiet, I soon started to hear the sound of a baby or child crying. Now, this isn't minding that per se, or least, in this case it wasn't the crying itself that was bothering me, but more that it sounded like a child who was possibly being abused. I definitely couldn't hear clearly enough to make any kind of a determination on that score, nor can I explain exactly why that thought would enter my head, but somehow, this didn't quite sound like a baby's "normal" cry, but had some note to it that made me think "abuse". And with three obese ugly girls taking care of it (read: "serious emotional problems and frustrations"), abuse sure seemed like a possibility, but not enough for me to call any kind of authority, but just enough to put me into a state of constant tension whenever I would hear it.
It was soon after that that I began to hear the voice of this hideous man. Again, I don't believe I have ever seen him, but there is some evil quality to his voice that makes me want to vomit. He never seems to speak, he only seems to shout. It is impossible to understand what he is actually saying, because it is in a foreign language, so for all I know, he may be saying "Honey, do you want me to help you with dinner?", but instead it sounds like anger and bullying. I do think it is Spanish, but I have never heard Spanish sound ugly, before, so, again, I think he actually is speaking ugly, angry, bullying words. Anyway, he seriously puts me on edge and the fact that I live so close to such a horrible-sounding man is disturbing, and also a bit frightening, thus the feeling of nausea that overcomes me, as if I, myself, were the child fearing abuse.
Without knowing his story at all, what I can imagine is that he was the "lover" (using that term very loosely) of one of the ugly fat girls, who got impregnated by him and now this is the baby of the two of them, who are not married. He is probably taking no responsibility for this baby at all, but comes by periodically just for some more sex. I can't imagine anyone wanting sex with one of those three girls, whichever one it is, if any of them, but from the sound of him, he can't be too choosey. He probably hates her for her ugliness, though, and he hates her for his sexual need (a man like that doesn't take responsibility for anything, even his own desires; it is all the fault of somebody else). And so it is possible that the abuse of the baby comes from him...in fact, I have started to notice that the two sounds are now often concurrent. Again, not anywhere near enough for me to be conclusive, only negatively imaginative.
Fortunately, I really don't think he lives there, but, instead, comes loudly clomping up the stairs (also disturbing to me) and slammingly enters the door and the shouting begins until he slams the door on his way out and his hobnail boots go stamping on down the stairs and his car-sorely-in-need-of-a-muffler-repair goes booming out of the parking lot. I hate him and want him totally gone. Even if everything I have imagined is 180 degrees away from factual, the hideous sound of his voice, alone, is enough for me to want him removed to a different dimension.
I am sure that all this makes it seem that I live in a truly awful place and, of course, must want to move, myself. Well, I do want to live in a house (living here has made it very clear that I would never buy a unit in a condomium) and have no idea what my future holds, but I actually really love the apartment, itself. And unless I were a millionaire (or maybe even billionaire), I have no idea where I could go where the entire culture, itself, isn't falling apart. Fortunately, except for some noise and a certain feeling of "aloneness" (the negative aspect of "solitude"), my life here is good. There are so many neighborhoods that are much, much worse. From a middle-class point of view, this one is still pretty good. Although I will admit to being disturbed by having discovered just last week that the Spanish-language billboards are now only one major street to the north away (as you travel south from here, the neighborhood goes from middle class to some of the more upper class in the entire San Fernando Valley, but as you travel north from here, well, the billboards being in Spanish tell you what that means).
With the United States being economically more polarized than ever before in its history, and it is predicted to get only worse, the ones who are being hurt are the middle class. The rich class seems to still be untouchable, and the lower class is now the ever-increasing majority. When one reads of people moving out of Los Angeles specifically, and out of California generally, I think the ones doing that moving are the middle class. Again, the rich are still benefitting from the assets that California has to offer, and the poor somehow just keep on piling in, across the border if from no place else.
Strangely enough, I am actually liking Los Angeles more than I ever have before, but still, if I ever manage to hear of (and be convinced of) any place in the world where things are actually getting better (and by that I don't mean China, which most westerners think is the economically booming place, but I think that it is heading for a serious correction, or Africa, some countries of which actually have logged in some of the highest economic growth on the planet, meaning "up from nowhere", so...no), I would visit there to see what it was really like, and maybe even make plans to move there. However, so far, I have not heard of one hint toward anything in that regard. Instead, what I have heard of strikes me as ridiculous; mostly extremely rich Americans moving to what they believe is the real-life version of Atlas Shrugged's "Galt's Gulch", but which is located, not hidden away in the mountains of Colorado, but in southern Argentina. I say, "Argentina, you've got to be kidding me;" that's a country that seems to alternate among dictatorships, socialism, and economic collapse, which one of those cycles is the one that is supposed to be appealing? Of course, I'm not rich enough, or "mover and shaker" enough to be welcome even if it really were a genuine "Galt's Gulch" but as it is, it is a commercial real estate venture that heavily advertises its golf courses and the like and is being sold more like a billionaire's resort except not in a Caribbean paradise. So that one is a "no".
So, for now, like most everyone else, I am stuck with what we've got and attempting to make the best of it. So for me, to quote Nick Vujicic, "Attitude is Altitude".