Who am I? I Live Here!
Back in the care-free pre-house days -- my husband (and then eventually babies too) lived in apartments in Somerville, MA. Known for its three story homes called "triple-deckers," Somerville was the one of the cheapest place to live -- and sometimes for good reason. You don't get the nickname "Slummerville" because you won any beauty contests. So, if you found a good one -- you stayed in it as long as you and the landlord could stand each other. Well at least we did. My husband and I both hate moving, so we stayed put. But lots of people were just passing through.
Always on the second floor of the triple-deckers, we had to meet and stay pleasant with the stream of folks occupying upstairs and downstairs. It seems downstairs always had college students who could keep themselves pretty under control (Okay- once in my 8th month of pregnancy I had to stand in the doorway and intimidate the hell out of five boys who were blasting Sticky Fingers at 2:00 a.m. -- but no one was hurt, I promise). But the upstairs apartment was a much more exciting affair. To call them all "young professionals" would be stretching that term to its outer limits.
There were several instances of young white men who were working on dissertations and all of them had Asian girlfriends.
There was a guy who was somehow related to James Taylor. He wanted a bird feeder outside his window, but our landlady said no, because everyone knows birds attract mice. We became friendly enough with bird-loving-James-Tayloresque guy for me to trust him with watering my plants while we were away. He killed my African violets.
There was a young woman who was the manager of a large homegoods store. She was the only person I knew who was in her twenties and had a Christmas tree bursting with ornaments. Then one day during the holiday season, a squirrel got into her apartment from the attic and trashed the place. We found out by hearing her scream.
There were two guys named Seth and Jeff who played Peter Cetera songs on a casio keyboard and sang along really loudly. "I am a maaaan that will fiiiiight for your honor! I'll be your heroooooo...." Yeah, you get the drift.
Then, there was the most exciting couple. A young man and woman who ran their own "business." They got chattier and chattier, more and more animated. They came and went at all hours as did their guests. They bought an expensive new car, announced that they might be moving, and then left after one night of frenzied packing. But before high-tailing it out of Dodge, they left us the gift of a stuffed animal for our soon-to-be-born child. A week or so later a guy who really honestly looked mob-connected knocked on our door and asked where the couple upstairs had gone. We kept shrugging and saying, "Sorry buddy," as good-naturedly as we could. Again, my large-pregnant-self may have been the reason he decided to leave us be -- but after that, we referred to the couple's gift as "Coke Bear."