I live in Hawthorne, which is maybe not the best neighborhood around, but isn’t the scariest either. We live in a pleasant little apartment that is painted a faint salmon, where almost every door can be seen from almost every other door and I feel safe and happy. Most of the time.
Awhile ago, we got this neighbor, who’s friendship was – for lack of a better term – frightening. The way we met was this: We were coming home, and he was standing on the top of the steps, effectively making it rather uncomfortable to pass him on the narrow apartment walkway that leads to our door. We would come to find out that this was his favorite spot. Despite the fact that he has a perfectly good piece of walkway that goes nowhere, that no one ever walks on, that sits outside of his door, he has to stand in the way. Not only is this annoying, its a metaphor for his greater life philosophy, as well as his interpersonal strategy. This is a man who either never read “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” or read it on PCP.
While complimenting my adorable boyfriend on his admittedly amazing beard, I begin to realize the man has tattoos all over his face. On the right side, I see an “I killed somebody” gangster tear, on the left he has the “Mike Tyson” tribal situation. And the crowning glory, the cherry on top of this scary neighbor sundae are the terrifyingly suggestive rifle cross-hairs tattooed in the middle of his God damned forehead. Now I’m a little bit of a hippie, and I do have a private suspicion that chakra meditation at least helps direct blood flow to crucial lymphatic system elements and other smart sounding new age shit, so it’s extra appalling to me that the cross-hairs are positioned right on top of this guy’s third eye. Talk about negative perceptions.
Anyway, idiotic hippie fantasies aside, he was really an OK neighbor, he wasn’t that noisy and he was more entertaining than harmful, even though I did frequently wonder which one of us he was going to kill.
One time, he decided that he had beef with the guy next door who gave area teenagers illegal kitchen tattoos after work and on weekends. I came home to see tattoo head doing his best impression of a door-stop, with his face, arm and leg literally pressed into the crack of the illegal tattooists door fighting the man’s wife, trying to get inside her house. I had just enough balls to stand at my door and stare at his crazy ass until he moved away from the door, and then I ran into my house while illegal tattooists wife slammed her door on tattoo head, grateful to be alive, I’m sure.
Another time, I came home to find him literally hanging onto the door frame of the woman who lives next to me. His entire body, from the shins up was physically inside this woman’s apartment while his hands, ankles and feet remained anchored outside. Wherever she was, she wasn’t near the door. She probably pulled a meerkat and retreated inside, hoping he’d leave since she was yelling at him to go away. Turns out, tattoo head had a business. A bath salt business, and as I passed him on the walkway, he insisted I smell his bath salts. Not for the first time I thought “this is how I die.” Turns out, I made it safely home with a snout full of nasty, old-lady flavored bath salt stink. Never again.
Other things tattoo head did:
- Stand on the walkway, or the equally narrow stairway yelling into his cell phone about 1) his hustle 2) his paper 3) his business 4) his dogs/boys/crew.
- Stand on the walkway/stairway yelling for his woman’s 12 year old son (obviously not his son) to answer stupid questions such as 1) did you shit in my shoes? (this is real, people) 2) do you know I’m the man of this house? (the son had about 20 lbs on this fool) 3) Do you enjoy the shitty R&B I’m currently blasting into the courtyard for everybody’s pleasure? (disgust)
- Yell at his woman to bring him beverages event though it was plain to the world that she worked every day and his ass did fuck all, standing on the walkway talking about “his swag.”
Thankfully, tattoo head, his lady, and a boy who was definitely not his son moved out in the night several months after arrival. They were replaced by a pleasant older couple who put potted plants on their piece of walkway, and who I never see nor hear, which is delightfully neighborly of them.