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Sunday March 25, 2001, 01:57

I spent the night spending money. I am unable to spend money on clothing and such. At least not effectively. I always end up buying the wrong thing and then not wearing it. However. Food. And friends. I am able to spend like a fiend. Well, a fiend with no really reliable source of income. This is the problem of someone who used to have some sort of reasonably large amount of monetary influx still believing that his bank account is unlimited. Some day. Some day I will learn.

So that was dinner and coffee. The lovely thing about dinner was standing around on the sidewalk outside an incredibly empty restaurant. We had already vetoed several possible eateries and ended up outside of this one. Nice. Italian. Nothing special. And empty. I mentioned that already. Suddenly, a head pops out of the door. "Come in! A free glass of wine with dinner!"

And with that, our dining fate was sealed.

And truth be told, it was a lovely dinner. A bit more expensive than, say, my two-dollar falafel meal, but it did come with a glass of wine and a plate of pastries on the house. All told, we came in just fine. Which meant, of course, that we had to leave and go get more coffee (the effects of which I am feeling now as I sit awake, jittering like a madman) and espresso mousse cake.

For all my whining, I now feel like there should be some discussion of the conversations had with dinner. My rambling about Internet culture interspersed with questions like "Do you believe in vampires?" and the punch line "There's no 'fuck' in Broccoli...' now supersede any complaints I've ever had about not knowing enough people or wishing that I had conversations the likes of which I had in college.

Then I left and came home and upgraded some software on the server. Look at me. Nerdy. And proud!

The evening did start oddly enough with my walking out of the apartment, umbrella in hand (for the sky threatened to open up at any moment and by my carrying an umbrella for the entire evening, I ensured that, in fact, it would not) when a voice called after me.

"Hey you! You!"

I turned. It was the super of the building, and he did not look happy. Which is an unfortunate thing for me, who is living in this apartment in an illegal-sublet sort of a situation in which the primary tenant of the apartment is in Los Angeles until early April and in which I pay her by check but call it House Sitting and in which the super has been notified that I would be staying for "one month" which in reality is "two months" which in reality is more like "three months" and in which the landlord, unbeknownst to me and, I am sure, to the primary tenant, sits across the street sometimes and watches the people entering and leaving his building.

"I could lose my job," he told me, in an accent that is wholly uninterpretable by me I would like to think because I grew up in a middle class suburb where we were really not exposed to people with accents like his but one that most definitely indicates that he is in no position to be losing his job over the likes of me. Or, rather, over the tenant of this apartment, whom he assured me is the one who is the primary cause of this little headache. The one who told him that I would be staying for "one month," something which I was not aware.

Now I might have misunderstood this man, but I was sure that he told me that the landlord occasionally sits across the street and watches people walk into this building. Could it be that he actually sits in the creperie across the street simply to see who comes and goes. If this is the truth (and stranger things have happened) then this means two things. The first is that this man has nothing better to do with his time, and that this is an incredibly wasteful way to fill a day. And secondly, it means that I am going to be in a panic these next two weeks whenever I enter this building, glancing over my shoulder to see if anyone has seen me enter this building, dashing up the stairs to the apartment, locking both locks, latching the chain, and considering what to do if there is a knock at the door.

It happened the other night.

The upstairs neighbor was being particularly loud, wearing what sounded like cookie sheets on his feet and dropping bowling balls on the floor. I was doing my best to ignore it when I heard a knock at the door.

I paused. Perhaps it was the wrong door. Why would anyone be knocking at my door. And yet, there it was again.

I opened the door, chain still attached. A woman in a robe was standing there. Supposing her to be harmless, I unlached the chain and opened the door fully.

"Are you doing something that involves moving large boulders in here?" she asked.

I shook my head and indicated that, in fact, I heard it too, and that it must be coming from upstairs. She muttered something to the effect that this was a satisfactory answer and that she would now go and bother the gentleman upstairs.

Soon after, the bowling balls stopped, indicating, well, indicating not too much, as he did continue to stomp around for the next several hours.

It is my hope that my relationship with future neighbors will be healthier than these. I harbor dreams of something of a community, complete with friendly smiles and the offer to collect each other's mail when one or the other is off on vacation or some such thing.

I am totally smoking crack, however, as this does not happen in my world.

Regardless, I am moving into my new apartment soon. And this is a good thing. Gooood. So good.

Now if only spring would show up.

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