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Friday, August 18, 2006

Mr. Lee

Mr. Lee is my downstairs neighbor. He's weird. Not in any clinical, diagnosable way, just your general weird.

At least once a month, at about 11:30pm, my roommates and I can hear him moving furniture around downstairs. It sounds like he's pushing dressers and barcaloungers across the room to see where they look best, and then pushing everything back to its original position, for no reason whatsoever.

Sometimes he's out in the yard with a leaf blower, ferreting out errant leaves from his garden. I realize the desire to beautify one's lawn is not strange behavior in and of itself. However, Mr. Lee is usually struck with the hankering to do yard work at midnight on a Tuesday. And it doesnt even matter whether or not it's fall. We've heard him out there in late May, blowing petals off flowers. Why? Who the hell knows?

See? Weird.

Mr. Lee has a Korean accent so strong we can hardly understand a thing he says. Usually we just say, Hi, Mr. Lee, and rush into the house.

He's about 52, plump, and bald. Oddly, he likes to ride motorcycles.

The other morning he started up his hog at 8:15 am. It was Sunday. I love Sunday mornings, reading the paper, lazily drinking coffee, not showering. I dont like being woken up by the sound of the little Lee-man in his skin-tight leather jumpsuit revving up his Harley Davidson Road King for a nice long ride.

In fact, I dont even want to picture it.

I discovered Mr. Lee had a drinking problem one summer night when I was meandering up the walkway to our shared duplex and heard a bottle roll off the porch and smash onto the ground. As I got to the top of the steps I saw him sprawled on a beach chair wearing only a pair of shorts. It might have been acceptable if it was the middle of the day and the sun was out, or if he had a nice bod. But it was midnight, and ew.

Plus, he was singing. Slurry, sloppy lyrics, but I could make them out. "You got to know when to hor em, know when to for em." The Gambler. Oh no. You killed Kenny.

Clearly, you got to know when to walk away and know when to run.

As I hurried into the house, I knew things from then on would be different between us. He would likely be embarrassed that I'd seen him drunk, half-dressed, and way off-key. Plus, the vision of his round, hairless torso had been involuntarily hard-wired into my cerebral cortex, and I glimpsed a great deal of dry heaving in my future.

That night I had a nightmare. A complete music video. Mr. Lee, topless, slow-dancing in our front yard air humping his leaf blower and singing the Gambler. Then he jumps on his Harley and tears off down our street. But first, he winks at me. Ew.

Which brings me to the ultimate purpose of this missive. Great one bedroom apartment available in Davis Square. Rent negotiable. Please call Mandy. As soon as possible. 617-616-8792.

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