Friday, April 10, 2009

Goodbye To All That

It was way past midnight
And she still couldn't fall asleep
This night the dream was leavin'
She tried so hard to keep
And with the new day's dawning
She felt it drift away
Not only for a cruise
Not only for a day

As I've stated before in one of my many posts on one of my many failed blogs, I love summertime in Iowa City.

There's just something about the way the town empties out for a couple of months, leaving a mostly deserted ghost of a mid-western town to rebuild for the next wave of rich kids to arrive in the fall. The streets are quiet and you can see the smiling faces on the young children walking around with their parents in the just south of uncomfortable heat of an Iowan summer. The pedestrian mall, instead of being a haven for backwards-baseball-hat-wearing bros shouting into their cellphones, becomes a gentle, brick-strewn path full of elderly folks enjoying a walk and pseudo-intellectuals congregating at the many coffee shops. You can easily get a table at one of the fine restaurants and there always seems to be a free seat at the bar at one of the thousands of taverns. It's hard to leave when you travel on vacation and it always looks beautiful when you get back. And for all these reasons, it's going to be bittersweet experience when I move away in the fall.

Yes, the time has come for your's truly to seek shelter in another locale. The nights sleeping on my old futon is playing havoc with my back muscles and next month I'll be turning 36 in a neighborhood filled with 20-year-olds. I can take a hint. It's time to move on. So I'd like to use this space to say goodbye to some of the individuals who made living in IC such a... place to... exist... for a while: my fellow neighbors.

Looking back, I can see now how spoiled I was three years ago when I got sick of living in my little basement efficiency and took my landlord's offer to move into a larger one bedroom a few blocks away. My neighbors at the old apartment were mostly hippies and artsy types - quiet and accommodating. I kick myself now when I think about going to look at my future domicile and barely noticing the wide upstairs balcony and the yard full of empty Busch Lite cans. I disregarded the carpet full of cigarette burns and the broken cabinets - I mean, after all, Dallis said he would fix them before I moved in. But it never occurred to me that I would be moving into a "party house". I mean the few other renters I met was an older guy who was REALLY into the WWE (bonus!) and a guy with some mental handicap who was on an assisted living arrangement. It really didn't occur to me that they lived below in the basement apartments and the college students who I would see everyday were in class at the time. Now I know the older dudes didn't mind living there because the ceiling in the basement wasn't as paper thin as the ones upstairs.

As soon as I moved in, the ebb and flow of a college student's social life became glaringly obvious to me for the first time: drinking on Sunday through Wednesday followed by heavy drinking on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Evenings when I wasn't forced to blare my TV or stereo to drown out the steady diet of Tupac and Eminem songs that shook the light fixtures in my room were punctuated by the ever present Official University of Iowa Motto of "WHOOOOO!" outside my window. Violent arguments over cell phones brought the 5-0 to my door at 3:30 a.m. one morning and it was often a grim amusement to try and guess what kind of shit (sometimes literally!) would be waiting for me on the lawn or in the parking lot when I shuffled groggily off to work in the morning. Ever been woken up by a chorus of douchebags drunkenly singing "Margaritaville" next door to you in the early morning hours? It's as pleasant as it sounds.

So when I got my notification that my lease was up for this year (along with the increasingly standard rent increase) I took a pass. I found a 2-bedroom in nearby Coralville that includes stringent noise control rules and an August move-in date which gives me one more summer in IC to enjoy. Just the thought of the relative quiet of my new digs has filled me with a strange inner peace. The yelling and the constant squeaking of the ceiling above me doesn't bother me as much and just a few nights ago, I got an aural present:

" got out of OUR bed, went downstairs, and SUCKED MY BROTHER'S DICK... ON MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY!"

I look at the clock - just passed 2 a.m. It's Chunky Gal and Rapper Dude, they are fighting.

" fucked Tommy, you fucked Greg, you fucked all my friends! You let Greg put his dick IN YOUR PUSSY!"

All of a sudden I realize I haven't heard their stereo blaring out some bass-heavy dreck in a while (maybe it's broken?) and, for some god-forsaken reason, the song "Captain Of Her Heart" by the Swiss group Double pops into my head. I heard it on the radio a few days before and promptly forgot about it, like much of the world did a few months after it was released in 1986.


Slowly, I piece together a narrative. Chunky gal finds one of Rapper Guy's ex-flame's number on his cell phone and calls it. Accuses boyfriend of infidelities. Boyfriend repeatedly brings up Chunky Gal's many past indiscretions, including providing oral gratification to his sibling on the night of Rapper Guy's birthday party. Rapper Guy denies that he and Chunky Gal are involved using a sort of reverse "Single Ladies" logic. Bemused downstairs neighbor smiles and turns over on his futon while Kurt Maloo's breathy baritone whispers through his brain.

Too long ago
Too long apart
She couldn't wait another day for
The captain of her heart

1 comment:

Churlita said...

Good for you for getting out. When I first got divorced, I got an apartment on S. Johnson St. that my girls called the motel room because of it's size and lack of personality. I can't tell you how many times my girls woke-up terrified because of all the noise from after-hours parties during the week.

We moved to a place above the Hilltop Tavern after that and it was a million times quieter than living above a bar. Weird.