the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Here in the Three Two Three

Jon and I spent the entire day yesterday helping our neighbors move their two-bedroom apartment into a storage space, a storage space on the second floor of a winding storage building with elevators operational only with 10 digit access codes. What we thought was going to be a two-hour rush of heavy wooden objects and boxes turned into an eight-hour dust and pinball machine? and why-is-this-not-in-a-box? fest.

We love our neighbors and their wonderfully insane dog who happens to be Chuck’s best friend. Once, when Jon and I went out of town for the weekend they had to spell C-H-U-C-K whenever they talked about us, otherwise their dog would think Chuck was outside and he’d start doing that dog pacing thing, where the dog walks from window to window with a terribly worried wrinkle creasing his forehead, as if he’s got to decide whether or not to take Grandpa off life support.

So they’re gone, these neighbors, just up and gone, and it’s incredibly sad. Chuck counted on at least three play sessions a day with their dog, and I counted on at least three good gossip sessions with the dog’s mother, a publicist in the fashion industry who has given me delicious scoops on everyone from Ben Stiller (a total meany) to Christian Slater (a total worry wart) to Martin Sheen (who sings spiritedly! at Church on Sundays).

But they had to move, and the reason they had to move is good reason for us to move. You see, there’s this neighbor, and this neighbor is an evil neighbor, and this evil neighbor once told our lovely friends that if they didn’t watch out, he’d “fucking kill” their dog and cat.

This evil neighbor often used phrases like “you’re going to get what’s coming to you” and “watch your bitch or I’ll come after her” and “if that bitch does that again I’ll stick a fucking bullet in her head.”

And I’m sure the evil neighbor is really a lovely man who just has a few issues with, I don’t know, sanity. And maybe he just needs a hug or a really intense session of hopscotch, but if someone as large and thuggish as this evil neighbor were to threaten my dog, let alone my bitch, I wouldn’t stick around and try to kill him with kindness. That motherfucker would kill me with weapons.

And it’s not that I’m a coward, or that our friends are cowards either. They called the cops and they filed complaints with the proper authorities, and every law-enforcement official who heard their story said that unless the evil neighbor physically assaulted them, they couldn’t do a damn thing, except live in fear and horror and ongoing hell.

And I’m not one for the ongoing hell part of living. That part really sucks. So we gave our friends what we could give them, our backs and legs and Jon’s superbly anal box-arranging capabilities. And we’re thinking, yeah, it’s time to leave. Los Angeles isn’t the safe place it used to be.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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