The Runner Up

I bumped into my neighbor today in the elevator. She’s the second most annoying person in my building. he once threatened to dethrone the racist Aspergerian champion, the one with bursitis and bad breath, here’s how:

it was three years ago at 3pm, and i was late to a doctor’s appointment. i ran down to my car to find that another car was double-parked abutting my car, blocking me in. Someone had obviously forgotten to move the car when alternate went off two hours earlier, so i looked to see if there was the customary “if you need to move your car, call 917-…-….” note on the dash and thankfully there was. I dialed the number, with a mixture of relief, annoyance, and concern for the person who had neglected to repark, maybe something terrible had happened…but then i hear the relaxed voice of the second most annoying person in my building. I should have known it was she, by her annoying teal green Mercury Sable, afflicted with hideous bumper rash that was only partially hidden beneath a dogeared “Support our Troops” ribbon, the “Tr” of which had completely worn off so it seemed to say “Support our oops.” All these trappings are sooo this annoying neighbor. I tell her she forgot to repark her car and she hollers “Oh fudge!” She tells me she’ll be right down and apologizes for the inconvenience, then explains that her cousin Phyllis had called with the results of a biopsy, it was just a calcification, but by the end of the call, she’d forgotten to move the car. I shut shit down with “No worries, see you in a second.”

I turn on the radio, catching one of the more annoying episodes of Radiolab on WNYC, I think it was about how this one kind of snail farts to seduce potential mates but winds up attracted to its own scent and jerking off in a corner, and how that is akin to how prosecutors offer overly punitive plea deals that are more appealing to themselves than to the defense attorneys, or was it how pharmaceutical reps become addicted to the drugs they shill? Whatever the case, the quirkiness of the sound mix was overbearing, and Robert Krulwich, needlessly aggressive in that adorable way of his…but where was I? My neighbor takes twenty-eight minutes to get to her car. By this point, I’m thoroughly pissed off, and overly smiley to disguise my annoyance. She apologizes again as she approaches, she says “sorry it took me so long, it’s just I clogged the toilet right as i was leaving and had to get Nelson up to plunge cause the bellow on my own plunger tore from the pressure.” I lose the smile, bite my lip and stare into the distance, as I reflexively visualize the scale, smell, color, weight, texture, and exact location of this woman’s turd. I find the words “I hope you tipped him.” She scoffs “You don’t tip people to do their jobs.” And that’s when i became the culprit.

She’s standing there scrutinizing her key chain and then mutters to herself “Tip him?” Then she storms over to her car but just after she starts it, she notices a ticket in the window. She rolls down her window and tries to grab the ticket, but she can’t reach it, then is forced to get out to take it from under her windshield wiper. She braces herself against the side of her car as if the rage might blow her over, then she looks at me and screams “Did you call the police?” I scream back “What??? NO!!!” Without using words, I wildly gesticulate the following: “The point is that I’m stuck here because you’re there. Just leave!” She smiles sheepishly and sings “I don’t know what I was thinking!” Then she gets in her car again and finally drives away.

We’ve hated each other ever since while enduring a continuous exchange of hurtful pleasantries. But much to what i assume would be her chagrin, she wasn’t able to accede to the throne because of the racism espoused by Bursitis the next week. Back to the original thrust: we stood in the elevator today, she asked where I was coming from, I said from a visit with my 105 year old grandmother, and she cheerfully said “Oh, God bless!” and as i held the door for her, I said “I’m pretty sure my grandmother’s painful overexistence is proof of the absence of God, or at least God’s curse. She said “What kind of thing is that to say?” as she rolled her cart over my red suede boot

Craig LaCourt

Photograph by Craig LaCourt at the recently extinct Red Hook Bait and Tackle Bar.