Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

A Collection of Last Straws

I love our neighborhood. I loved this building. I crash-landed here at a moment of huge personal change. But that was eight years ago. Since then, a lot has changed. I met Heather and we moved in together on the top floor. We got married.

But not all of it was good. I kept a list.

  • The never-ending parade of crappy downstairs neighbors, including the ones that could sleep with their TV blaring, the one that was learning how to play electric guitar, the ones that grew pot, the ones that played thump-thump-thump music at 3am, and the ones that laughed at me when I went downstairs to ask them to please keep it down at 1am on a Tuesday.
  • The air raid siren blast the N-Judah trains make when a car is in their way. Or a person is in their way. Or when they think a car or a person might be in their way someday.
  • The fact that we can’t operate two electrical devices at a time without blowing a fuse.
  • The people using the park across the street as a bathroom and vomitorium.
  • The human feces left in the doorway.
  • The time when Bug ate the human feces left in the doorway.
  • My trash, so carefully placed in one of the bins, taken out and splayed across the sidewalks. Every time.
  • The Christmas tree forest that sprouted up in the new year, my neighbors being too lazy to haul them the extra 20 feet to the curb.
  • The other day, when I was exiting the building and I saw a pizza box I’d put in the recycling bin the day before on the ground. So I picked it up to put it back in the bin. It was soggy with urine.
  • The time my laundry was stolen out of the laundromat across the street.
  • Watching every other apartment get refurbished with hardwood floors while our grey carpet got greyer.
  • The words scrawled on our mailboxes every couple months. Asshole. Bitch. Cunt.
  • Being panhandled for change when walking the dogs at 1am, and harassed for signatures when walking the dogs at 1pm. “Can you spare a minute for the planet?” “Are you registered in California?” “Excuse me, sir? Sir?”

For all these reasons and more, we’re finally moving. Not far. Hopefully, just far enough.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.