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1/31/2008

I’m goin’ old school with this one… time to rip a page out of my everyday life and see how ridiculous life can be sometimes.

So I’m checking my mail a few weeks ago on a Monday night at the mailboxes outside my complex. As I’m doing so, a fellow resident approaches.

“Checkin’ your mail, huh?” he inquires.

“Yep,” I simply respond. There’s a silence of about 10 seconds as he does the same. Suddenly, he turns to me and issues the following statement:

“You know I’ve lived here 15 years.” This is the moment where I am forced to treat one of my fellow residents like many of us may have treated that one really disturbed or drunk homeless person you encounter on the street. I keep my head down, proceed about my business and refuse to engage/acknowledge. Kid Zippy proceeds to detail how much he likes it here and thinks it’s a good, clean place to live.

Before you go off on me for my arguably callous negligence of this man, let me offer you the following nugget to digest: Every time I have met this guy, he has told me the exact same thing. Typically of his volition, rarely provoked. In fact, just scroll up and reread that transaction. Notice the pause between the exchanges.

I wasn’t even attempting to make conversation with this man and he still felt compelled to give me his life story.

This event, coupled with my past dealings with life in the average condo complex has led me to conclude that such an environment is the perfect sampling of the American psyche. Seriously, if it takes all types, then you’ll find ‘em in an apartment complex for sure.

Here’s another example of life in the Twilight Zone: this past spring, I ordered some promotional shirts for my company. Somehow they were delivered to my home rather than my office. I didn’t even know I had a package until I got a letter from the resident in Unit 24 telling me he had a package waiting for me. Several trips to his apartment left me at a loss as there was no response despite the noise of a TV inside. A note asking him to leave the package at my door also went unaddressed. I thought little of it since it wasn’t a huge issue for the office, but then it happened again a few months later.

This time it was more personal.

See, this package happened to be for a friend of mine who had just become a daddy for the first time. So I got him and his wife a baby monitor set from Babies R' Us. Once again, the package never made it to me. It was once again accepted by the mysterious Samaritan in Unit 24.

After I found out about this through a series of twists and turns, I thoroughly chewed out UPS, then once again ventured to the eternally locked door of Unit 24. I wasn't too shy about keeping quiet with my knock. From within, I heard some kind of a grunt from someone telling me to "hold on."

When the door opened, there was a dead ringer for Samuel L. Jackson in last year's feelgood cinematic opus, Black Snake Moan. In a towel. That's right, the culprit in Unit 24 not only resembled the main character from an unforgivably bad movie, but was also in the process of cleansing himself.

I can't begin to tell you the immediate humor I saw in this.

I queried Black Snake about my packages, only giving him my unit number. He immediately nodded and took me out to the hallway, unlocking a storage room rife with untold treasures... and my packages.

Oh yeah, he went in and put on his briefs before giving me my property.

What's the point of this?

I'm not even sure, but I swear, sometimes life is a ride that throws these amazing characters at you, and you can't help but laugh. Honestly, an apartment complex is the perfect gathering point for all of them. Heck, in my building alone I live across from and above two functioning alcoholics. Then there's Kid Zippy the proud tenant, Black Snake, and I'm sure there are even more where those cats came from. I've been half-tempted to go on some sort of a safari through the inner workings of my building to see what other unique indigenous organisms I can find.

At the end of the day, I'm just here for the show. I'm putting my feet up and feasting on popcorn and soda. Encore, baby.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

1/30/2008

I have a favor to ask people... I know that Super Tuesday is upon us, and after that, the big 2008 Presidential Election. I know it's an interesting landscape that's growing more curious by the microsecond. With that said, I'm well aware that many of you fervent party members are doing your best to promote your team and see to it that we're all aware of the facts.

That said, please do me a favor: count me out.

I've had my mind made up for a while. I won't tell you what my thoughts are on the matter, because I don't have the time/energy to debate and engage right now like I did when I was 23. At least not at this stage in the game.

But I'm going to ask you as kindly as I possibly can... please spare me the forwards, the long chain letters, the endless laundry lists of bulletpoints as to why I should vote for Candidate X.

My mind is made up, I'm not a swing voter, and there is not a damn thing you can do to change it.

I think my school of thought regarding politics right now is really this: if you're unaware of what's going on, then I'm willing to share with you my feelings. If you have your mind made up, then God bless you an may the best party win.

I really no longer believe in the militant, shove-it-down-their-throats guerrilla campaigns that have become all the rage by the hardcore pundits. I respect passion to no end, but with that said, such zealousness can really be a turn-off.

I remember during the 2000 election, there was an intense Green Party presence at Skidmore College. So intense in fact, I felt like I was being force fed information at a rate quicker than I could digest. The group was so in-your-face, it led to a substantial backlash from the swing voters on campus. Myself included. It was my first presidential election as a potential voter, and not only did I not vote, I didn't even register.

You can chalk that one up to ignorance if you please, but before you judge, be sure to remember that there is a significant sample of the population who will withdraw due to frustration or disgust rather than stick it out and choose a "lesser of all evils." Case in point: my own mother didn't vote in the 2004 election for the first time in her life as a U.S. citizen. Chew on that, dear reader.

Besides, not only will you turn off people to your party, you may just turn them off to you. No one likes a hard ass.

So please think twice before you click send on that e-mail, kids. Keep thy policies to thyself.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.