One Year Ago Today…

by admin on September 1, 2011

One Year Ago Today…

In the year 2011, I will turn forty-one. It’s hard to believe I’ve lived this long or rather I made it this far. God knows I should have died years ago due to my reckless, carefree lifestyle. Between women, drugs, alcohol, jail, unemployment, the countless number of physical fights, suicidal tendencies and a dysfunctional family, I am still here. Tattered, torn and frayed around the edges, but still here nonetheless. I’d like to think I came out of all that a bit wiser, mentally and physically stronger and can see through all the bullshit but I still trip up occasionally, proving to everyone including myself that I am indeed human, despite popular belief. I am a rough boy, but over the years that roughness has been sanded down to the sporadic bout or two of anger, quickly gotten over in a day or two. Or three.

The main reason I have come to this place of calmness can be summed up in two words: my apartment. I LOVE MY APARTMENT! It has everything I need in it, from an uber comfortable queen size bed, to an array of electronic gadgets and devices for me to play with at my leisure (believe me, I do!), to the most obvious perk, my own private, personal piece of mind. It’s on the second floor (there’s only two floors in the brownstone that my place is in. I share that floor with just one other apartment), not facing the street so I avoid the noise coming from traffic (I’m on not one, but two bus lines. Nothing says ‘rise and shine!’ better than the roar of a bus engine and a screeching of its breaks at 5:30a.m.) and the neighbors who live on either side of my building. My windows face the backyard which has a good number of trees planted in the small plot of land, separating me visually from the houses behind me. In spring and summer when the leaves are in full bloom, I cannot see the other houses as they have created a natural, organic barrier leaving me free to keep my windows open and not have to worry about prying eyes. Plus I get the luxury of fresh air day and night. From day one, my place was christened ‘The Tree House.’ No other name would suffice. After a long, hard day of work plus the commute, it’s nice to come home to quiet; the only ‘noise’ at times being the leaves themselves as they scrap and brush along my window screens moved by some unknown winds. My piece of mind fulfilled.

Another pro of living in my apartment is that I can live out my stereotype of being a black man to the max by being able to play my music as loud and as often as I’d like. It wasn’t always like this. When I first moved in, I was somewhat cautious about the decibel/volume level of my music, taking into consideration that not everyone works ungodly late night hours such as me. I would turn the volume down around dinner time (I assume it’s still between 6 and 7 p.m. It was when I was growing up), respecting those who reside with me. But after a month, I realized an unfair trade was taking place between my neighbors and me; a trade where I was the beneficiary of harm while they were enjoying themselves.

They smoked.

I didn’t.

Every morning when I awoke, that God-awful stench of old tar would creep into my apartment, forcing me to spend money on scented candles just so I could have some semblance of clean air. Yes, I was aware when I moved in that some people smoked. Yes, I still signed the lease after knowing this. Yes, I went out after a month of ingesting second-hand smoke and bought a 200 watt subwoofer, speakers, and a 5.1 Dolby digital receiver to boot, sending rockin’ vibrations through the entire building day and night. Yeah, it’s an unwritten, non-verbal binding agreement: I die a year or so earlier than expected from lung cancer, they endure deep, rich bass at 2:30 in the morning from the likes of Interpol and The Cure. Fair trade.

I knew within three minutes of viewing my place that this was ‘the one.’ My broker (Omar) stood on one side of the room, I on the other, looking around in silence, taking in the space. The next words out of my mouth were “where do I sign?” True story. Haven’t looked back since. Throw in a VERY compassionate, motherly landlady (who tolerates my constant late payments of rent. God bless you, Ms. Mills!) and my place is perfect. I could use some art on the walls or a plant or two. Maybe more electronics.

Finally, yes, I signed on for another year in the The Tree House. God help my neighbors. I apologize to their ears in advance.

Rockin’ in the free world,

Gregory McCant

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Daniel Dickey 09.05.11 at 5:55 pm

Great blog man. Well said, well put.

Note: I plan on staying at “the tree house” next time I’m in Brooklyn!

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