Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Rants, I: The Apartment Complex is the New Trailer Park

Actually, our apartment complex has a trailer park on two sides, but I digress. The place Kate and I live consists of about 10 or so buildings, each with maybe 30 apartments, stacked 10 across and three high. We live on the second floor. The apartments themselves bear quite a bit of resemblance to most trailer homes I've seen, from the bland carpet to the prefab walls, doors and fixtures to the shotgun shape. Lately, I've begun to feel that where we live is a lot more like the trailer park next door, except that the trailers here are stacked on top of one another, which makes for closer quarters and even greater conflict than your average mobile home enclave on a saturday night. Allow me to begin with my downstairs neighbors. Recent transplants from Tennesee, Mr. and Mrs. Downstairs and (we think there are at least three, that we can count) kids have crammed themselves into the apartment below us. The Mrs. spends a good bit of time smoking on the deck below ours. When she does this, the smoke wafts up into our place if the slider is open. We like the fresh air and the access to our deck, but these are not ours to have if she's out having one of what has accumulated into an impressive pile of butts in a coffee can right under our deck. Mr. Downstairs occupies himself with running his massive diesel truck outside our window for hours on end, presumably to keep the engine warm on those cold, sunny 60 degree days. The constant drone and oily stench are just delightful. The Downstairs kids consist of a charming little girl (no sarcasm, really) who likes to ride her bike around in her free time, a far surlier older sister whose hobbies include making out with her far-older boyfriend in our shared stairwell, and pretending not to notice that we are there when we sneak by to get home, and a middle child who likes to hang off our deck with his friends and sneak glances into our apartment from his precarious vantage point. Older Daughter and Son also enjoy hanging out in front of our stairwell and giggling to each other while making snide comments at Kate and I under their breath when we come back from our runs. The comments seem to have something to do how uncool we look in our running togs, which are noticeably not available for purchase at the nearest Abercrombie and Fitch. The Downstairs family's primary evening diversion involves listening to loud, bass heavy music into the night in the larger of their two bedrooms. Kate and I actually had staked out the corresponding bedroom in our own abode when we first moved in, but we quickly relocated to the front bedroom when we discovered that we would not be able to get to sleep directly over the thumping soundtrack of the latests Hollywood blockbuster or plastic rap star. At any rate, we learned to shut our sliding glass door and sleep in our other bedroom, and things had been all right, minus the occasional baleful glance from one of the Downstairs kids as they whiled away their afternoons in the nourishing environment that is the parking lot, their young minds no doubt stimulated to great levels of inquiry and enlightenment by the asphalt expanse that lay before them. In fact, one day they were so stimulated that one of them drew a fairly accurate representation of male genitalia in the frost on the windshield of my car. Charming. Kate and I were getting along fine, and had pretty much written all this stuff off as a natural consequence of living in close quarters with so many people. It's just never going to be like living in your own house, and we can understand that. We remained tolerant, if annoyed. But tonight, that has all changed. At 11:30 PM I recieved a call that we were the subject of a noise complaint involving "stomping around" in our apartment and that this "had been going on for some time." I called the apartment manager back to plead my case, incredulous as I was that our activities that evening had disturbed anyone. Here is a list of the aforementioned activities: Matt: Sitting on the couch and reading King Lear. Kate: Earning a few bucks editing a paper for a Phd. candidate at USC. Ben: Typing up a homework assignment. Clearly, we will all have to be much more careful about offending the delicate ears of the Downstairs Family, which have probably been overly sensitized by all the straining they do to hear the stereo in their bedroom. As far as I am concerned, I don't want to start a war, but I see no reason to put up with any further asnnoyance from downstairs either. Hmm- I wonder if they said they had a smoker in the household when they applied for this lease, if they took out the extra insurance required by that, if they really told the complex manager how many people would be living there, if their three and sometimes four cars are just a few more many (an always parked in the most convenient spaces for access to my apartment) than the two they are alotted in their lease?