I will not live on State Street next year.

The issue of water from above has come up again. The landlord called me today and told me that, aside from rent being due, water was coming into the Yellow Jersey bike shop above the cash register. He then proceeded to issue forth a bunch of falsehoods fed him by the guy holding his leash, Mr. Bikes-n-Cocaine -- our infamous downstairs neighbor.

Falsehood one: Water's been coming in like this for months. Doubtful. Why? Because we'd have heard about it by now. It's true that water usage in our apartment did roughly concur with this report, but Mr. Bikes-n-Cocaine is not one to beat around the bush when it comes to his hydrophobia. He has proven in the past that he proactively kicks some ass.

Falsehood two: He's confronted my roommate about this before, on different occasions, and was laughed at. Neither my roommate nor I have ever had a conversation with Mr. Bikes-n-Cocaine, with the one exception of when I picked up the keys to the place, referenced here.

I clench up inside every time I go home, anxious that some water came through our floor, into the bike shop's ceiling, and the man from the land of bad Russian hair design is waiting with a handgun. Or the threat of one. That's no way to have to live.


Last night Lee and I met up with Matt and Mackenzie for some cocktails at the Weary Traveller. It's a shame Lee's leaving town so promptly, since I think the four of us could constitute a comfortable social circle. I'd only briefly met Mackenzie before, once when I happened upon the two of them downtown. Matt and Lee were introduced under similar circumstances in a video store.

We all got along well, and Matt was even a sport about playing euchre with the rest of us. He picked it up pretty quickly, much faster than me. I held some strong hands, but Lee and Matt smoked Mackenzie and I. Sometimes the conversation drifted toward the esoteric history Matt and I share, but the women were patient. In total, we did not run out of things to talk about.

It got a bit awkward after we relocated across the street to Jolly Bob's, where we had to sit in a row at the bar, but it worked better than most 'in a row' situations I've been in. I got a pleasant buzz on but made the mistake of following a couple pints of beer with a couple of cocktails. It made getting up this morning difficult.

I've known Matt for years - for more than a decade, actually. He was never one of the "neighborhood kids", living on the west end of town, but we met in junior high and got to know each other better in high school. It was ten years ago this summer that we went backpacking in New Mexico together. Today he is older and more mature for the past ten years, but he remains the same friend I knew then.

He's been in a position to live on the cheap for the past couple of years, working as a resident manager for a rental company. He mows lawns and shovels snow, and gets a two-bedroom apartment in return. It's not a bad setup. At the end of June, he's packing up his act and relocating to the desert, to Nevada.

I'll miss him when he's gone. As friends, we've neglected and mistreated each other in various ways over the years, but we've also given each other truth with no caveats. I value his advice and experience, and I secretly hope that, after the novelty of Vegas lights and white heat wears off, he will heed the call of Madison and return.

It's unlikely. He's left town before, unprepared to make it on his own, and dragged himself back. This time, he has new tools and skills and a sincere desire to strike out and mark his territory, to become his own man. I haven't kept up with many people from high school, only a handful who continue to impress me with their individuality and remarkability. He will be the first to move a significant distance away.

Though we've not been in close touch for the last two years, I suspect this will be a lonely experience.

Yes, there's this daily "survival" desk-top calendar I've got. Yesterday I learned how to survive falling into a cesspool. We're well into April, and still no advice on how to survive working in "the real world."