Charming, one bedroom apt in Somerville. Quiet, friendly neighbors, rent negotiable. Call Mandy ASAP. 617-628-6896.
Well, it’s true. The apartment is charming. It’s Mr. Lee that’s insufferable. Mr. Lee is my downstairs neighbor. He’s weird. Not in any clinical, diagnosable way, just your general weird.
He’s about 5’2”, plump, bald, Korean. In his 60’s. 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 don’t love being awakened by the sound of the little Lee man revving up his Harley Davidson Road King for a nice long ride.
I won’t want to, but for days after, I will picture Mr. Lee’s chubby, little body poured into a skin-tight leather jumpsuit, head thrown back in ecstasy, his three strands of hair blowing in the wind.
Often I hear him in the apartment below me late at night, moving furniture around. Why? Who the hell knows? It sounds like he pushes dressers and barcaloungers across the room to see where they look best, and then pushes everything back to its original position, for no reason whatsoever. Maybe working on his pecs.
Incessantly, he’s out in the yard with a leaf blower, ferreting out errant leaves from his garden. I’ve even heard him out there in late May, blowing petals off flowers.
I discovered Mr. Lee had a drinking problem one summer night when I meandered up the walkway and heard a bottle roll off the porch and smash on the ground. As I got to the top of the steps, I saw Mr. Lee, sunbathing by moonlight. He lay sprawled out on a lawn chair, wearing only a pair of shorts, making no effort to explain himself or – for God’s sake – cover up.
Plus, he was singing. Slurry, sloppy lyrics, but I could make them out. “You got to know when to hor‘em, know when to fo'rem …” The Gambler. Oh no. You killed Kenny.
Clearly, you got to know when to run.
As I hurried into the house, I knew things from then on would be different between us. He’d be embarrassed that I’d seen him drunk, half-dressed, and way off-key. I’d be embarrassed that the image of his round, hairless torso had been involuntarily hard-wired into my cerebral cortex. 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 with his leaf blower, singing the Gambler. Then he jumps on his Harley and tears off down our street. But first, he winks at me. Ew.
So, yes. I admit it. I padded the classified ad a little. This is an emergency.