Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The neighbors were officially evicted today.

The remnants of a careless, reckless life. Their stuff was literally thrown out of their windows in bags, the couch cut into three pieces and dropped out the third floor window.

They left a ton of stuff in the apartment, and were living like derelicts. It is a testament to "just say no" to drugs if there ever was one. If Betty's parents knew how their daughter was living they would be horrified. Cluttered by tons of trash, miscellaneous items, a stained mattress, an oriental rug that is probably worth some money but was left to ruin and serve as a pissing mat for the dogs. They told me last year that Igor, who has relatives in Egypt, received it as a gift from his sister who had brought the rug from there. I'm sure she didn't see its humiliating future of being dropped out of a third floor window in Baltimore City, soiled and reeking of piss. Nor did the people who made it by hand. It makes me wonder how many other treasures meet such ends across the globe, bestowed on people who lack the ability or care to preserve them.

I went upstairs when they were cleaning it out and saw the trashed place. Thick blankets were nailed to the windows letting no light inside. One of the workers yanked it off and then opened the window to gasp for fresh air. There was so much dog piss caked the floor that it looked like a waxy film on the wood floors. The stench is unbelievable. For months, the dogs upstairs were kept inside all day, and walked maybe once at midnight. The rest of the time, the floor was their pissing ground. The smell is so bad that for months I thought that my cats were peeing somewhere that only they knew about, as sometimes a strong scent of urine infiltrated my apartment, especially on more humid days. However, since my cats are good kitties, that wasn't the case. I'm sure they'd be deeply insulted if they thought I suspected them. I just didn't think it had gotten that bad up there. And, she walked around the place barefoot sometimes. I'd see her leave the building with no shoes on.

I didn't mention this in my earlier post, but there was suspected drug dealing going on from that apartment. The neighbors saw many cars pull up for very short times and exchanges of cash. I never saw that, but always suspected Igor was back to his old tricks due to their continuous "bad luck." They were always getting money stolen, or mugged, and things kept "happening" to them. This is a neighborhood with lots of families, which is why the neighbors noticed the activity so much. I became the source of information about the status of their getting booted out for the many worried parents on the block. I'd walk out of my apartment, and they'd ask, "Are they out yet?"

A week before they did their final pick-up, the neighbor who lives next door, a federal attorney with two young children, heard Igor and Betty's dogs howling for over fifteen minutes and grew concerned. She walked out in front of our building and called up to their window, asking if everything was ok, when she was intercepted by Igor who appeared to be on his way back from a drug run. He was high as a kite, eyes glassy, stumbling, topped off with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. When he saw her, he shouted at the top of his lungs for her mind her own fucking business, called her a fucking whore, and said that if she told the landlord that he was dealing drugs, he'd tie up and kill her children. I missed that little display because I was at the court commisioner's office pressing charges on the two for the phone theft.

This is a grand old building with rich history. It probably housed a wealthy family a century ago that cared for it like an extended member of their clan. The proof of that is in the details of the building. With the eviction of these two, I have a feeling their ghosts are relieved. That, and the building itself is being allowed to exhale on the third floor.

Speaking of ghosts, I was in my bed reading and Scout as usual had claimed her place right next to me. All of a sudden, she popped off my bed like a kernel of corn, launching herself a good two feet in the air and several feet from my bed. It was pure adrenaline powered by instinct, a wild leap where she writhed in the air but being a cat, landed right on her feet. Her tail was straight up and thick like a pin cushion, and she looked at me as if wondering how I could just be lying there. There were no weird noises or anything that could have prompted it unless it was one that I couldn't hear.

On other fronts, I've launched a full court press on applying to jobs in Los Angeles. Cover letters being written and perfected, resumes being sent, and fingers being crossed. My good friends there have even set up their message box to take messages on my behalf. I've felt a change coming over me in the last few weeks, and want to find a "home" instead of be a gypsy. A home, meaning a full time job where I can actually plan for things in my life and feel some sense of security and place. I think that was hammered home today watching this eviction, how important that has become to me.

However long it takes to come to pass, that's fine. Achieving that doesn't happen overnight.

But I'll be ready when it does.

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