Neighbor Peter

I for one am glad the Oscars are over. It’s so hard not being in the main industry of your city.

If I worked in New York, I’d feel right at home in banking, but here in L.A. all anyone talks about is the entertainment business. And as you can tell from previous posts, I have issues with celebrity culture and narcissistic behavior. So I look forward to the Oscars being over every year so the decibel level can return to normal.

On to talking to strangers. I have a new next door neighbor. I never really spoke to the previous occupant of the apartment next to me, even though we sort of share a balcony. So when that guy moved out, I decided to make a friends with the new neighbor.

This weekend, the movers came and a dude named Peter moved in. He’s a little younger than me and works for Verizon (in corporate sales, not the cell phone store). Anyway, I came up with a plan and here’s how it went down.

Side note first. A lot of my ideas would never work without a girlfriend (or fiancée) at my side. It would just be too weird to be a single guy doing some of the shit I do because women generally think I’m trying to hit on them and guys think I’m gay. So having a girl there makes everything so much easier. You’ll see what I mean when you hear what I did.

I waited till the moving trucks left then knocked on the door with Michelle. Peter opened it.

I said, “Hi, I’m Fletcher, your next door neighbor. We share a balcony. This is my fiancée Michelle. So anyway, we wanted to welcome you to the apartment complex and make you feel at home.”

He looked down, a little confused. He asked, “Is that for me?”

I smiled. “Yup. We baked you a cake.”

It’s true. We totally baked this dude a cake. It was so worth it just to see the look on his face. Like, what the hell kind of apartment complex is this?

After he got over the initial shock, he invited us in and we chatted for a little while. I gave him pointers on where things are in the neighborhood (he moved from West Hollywood) and gave him my number. Oh, and he cut the cake so we all had some.

Anyway, that’s about it. We left, went back home, and watched the stupid Oscars.

Dog Park

Sorry I haven’t posted anything all week.

I thought I was fine with Chloe breaking up with me, but it turns out I was actually pretty upset about it. I’ve been working long hours, too, and haven’t been in the mood to talk to much of anyone. Then, yesterday I ran into Polly with her dog Fellini. Fellini and Tad have hit it off since they met and Polly invited us to join them at the dog park.

The funny thing about the dog park is how everyone refers to themselves as so-and-so’s owner, not by their real name. But the dog park is a friendly place where strangers just naturally talk to each other and there’s always something to talk about: your dog. So I met some of Polly’s friends, a big bald guy with a lot of tattoos (Hunter’s owner); a bookish woman in her sixties (Mimi’s owner); an Asian guy who does something in the music business (Chulu’s owner); and a few others.

I really liked the dog park and Tad did, too. Polly and I walked back to our apartment complex and I thanked her. Then she said that she thought I seemed down and I decided to tell her about Chloe. She was sympathetic. She didn’t reach any conclusions or offer any advice. She just said, “Well, I hope the dog park cheered you up a little.” And it did.

TAD

Guess who just moved in and is living with me now?

Wrong, not Chloe. Wrong again, not my old roommate Scott. I am now the proud owner of one mangy mutt named The Artful Dodger, or “Tad” as he likes to be called.

Time was running short on Tad and I decided I wanted to do this. Chloe did not exert any pressure on me. She even gracefully ignored my prior lie about them not letting pets in my apartment complex. (She said, “I knew it was a fib but I didn’t want to talk you into anything you didn’t want to do.” P.S. Who says “fib”?)

I took him home yesterday and the good news is he’s mostly already trained. My apartment is obviously new to him so there were some first day accidents but I think Tad is smart and he’ll get the hang of it. My only real fear is what he’s going to do all day long when I’m at the office. Chloe says he’ll be fine as long as I get him exercise in the morning and when I get home.

Getting Tad was a little tricky emotionally. It’s not like Tad is Chloe’s dog, too, but still, I think it will be weird if Chloe and I don’t work out and Tad never sees her again. Still, things are really moving quickly with Chloe and Tad is really bringing us closer together. I hardly ever think about Michelle anymore.

4-Legged Dog Girl

I saw Polly again and asked about the new dog I saw her with. First of all, his name is “Fellini,” which seems a little pretentious.

Second, Fellini is a mixed breed, but mostly Lab. And third, unlike François, Fellini has four legs.

It was obviously a sensitive subject but I was super curious so I gently started with, “I noticed that Fellini has all his legs…”

She said, “I know, everyone is asking the same thing. The truth is, I looked for another special needs dog at the shelter but they didn’t have any. So Fellini lucked out.”

Turns out, dogs with missing limbs are the first ones euthanized, so Polly has had several “special needs” dogs over the years. In fact, this is the first dog she’s had with all four legs.

I told her that all dogs go to heaven and she’d be right there with them.

Scott Has Flown the Coop

Scott moved out. He admits that he owes me for a new TV or at least fixing the screen on the one he broke but he said he has “absolutely no way to pay for it.”

He thinks it’s best if he finds a new place to live so he moved out yesterday.

The weird thing is I don’t know if Scott was ever truly a friend. It seems so juvenile, but I feel kind of used. I haven’t questioned a friend’s motivations since like 7th grade but now I’m left wondering how much I can really trust these people I meet randomly.

Who knows, maybe Scott will pay up and we’ll continue to be friends. But now I’m doubting my own judgment on these people.

While the Cat’s Away…

So first of all, I get back to find my TV with a big crack in it.

Seems Scott decided to throw a party while I was away and things got out of control. Some guy Scott didn’t even know got into a fight with Scott’s friend Ryan and the mystery guy threw a beer bottle that hit my TV. Then he took off and no one seems to know what this guy’s name is.

There are about ninety-three things wrong with this story. Yes, Scott pays rent now, but it’s still my apartment. And it’s my $3,000 TV. Plus, what am I, Scott’s parents? Who waits for their roommate to go out of town to throw a party? I think that’s the biggest dick move of all.

Scott says it wasn’t something he planned. He just invited a bunch of people over to watch football and then more and more people just kept coming. And people wonder why I hate sports.

Not sure what to do next. Scott has apologized profusely and even offered to move out. But he has not offered to pay for a new TV. No real attempts were made to find the mysterious bottle hurler, so it’s unlikely he’s ponying up.

So do I just let this slide? Just because I can technically afford it doesn’t mean I want to pay for a new TV. And why should I? I didn’t break it. Plus, now I feel like Scott has been using me. Like he was just pretending to be my friend so he could live in a nice place. Maybe he should just move out.

Three-Legged-Dogless Girl

Polly’s dog died.

I saw her in the complex without François and I said, “Hey, where’s your dog?” She told me he had cancer.

I was thinking, “Great, like the holidays aren’t depressing enough without thinking about dogs dying of cancer.” But what I said was, “Come here.” I gave her a big hug.

It’s weird. There are people who touch you without provocation (or invitation) like Janet at work who always puts her hand on your shoulder when she’s talking to you. It doesn’t mean anything. It just feels nice. I am totally not that kind of person (big surprise) and the thought of just touching someone seems a bit rude, but mostly just scary. Still, in this case it just seemed right and I hugged Polly for a good little while.

And I think afterward she felt better.

Part-A

We are having a party this Saturday night. Officially, it’s to welcome Scott to the neighborhood but unofficially it’s to invite Michelle.

Plus, I have met a lot of people in the past few months and I thought it would be fun to invite every stranger I’ve met. Well, the ones where I got their name and contact info.

Gunther is a given. I’m going to invite Monica as well because I think she’s cool and I don’t care if Gunther gets pissed off. Who knows, maybe the party will make them realize they should get back together.

I’m going to track down Polly, the girl with the three-legged dog. Plus Mario, I’ll text him. I will leave a note today for Hung (wonder what he looks like).

At work, I need to invite Kyle even though he’s a dick. If I don’t invite him and he finds out about it I’ll get a lot of shit. Neil obviously. Also have to remember to invite Janet, the receptionist. And Daphne. And Maria, the cleaning lady? She’s a bit out of the age range for this party, but it’d be nice to drop an invite anyway.

There’s a few others that might be weird to invite like Hector the newspaper guy and Ramon the dry cleaner but if I see them I’ll mention it.

Of course, Scott is inviting people, too, otherwise this party might be pretty pathetic. Maybe his director friend will bring a new girl for me to date after I break up with Marny and before I marry Michelle.

Speaking of Marny and Michelle, assuming Michelle comes, I wonder if Marny will sense that something is up. On the other hand, Michelle will probably bring her boyfriend Kal-El, so maybe I won’t even have a chance to talk to her.

Anyone else out there in L.A. who feels like dropping by a little shindig in Brentwood, drop me an email.

Newspaper Guy

I woke up really early this morning because I have a conference call with a Managing Director in the New York office. So when I stepped outside of my apartment, I bumped right into the guy delivering my newspaper. He was startled, and even more so when I said, “Hey, what’s your name?”

He said, “Is there a problem with the paper?”

“No, nothing like that.”

“You missing a paper some day?”

“No–”

“You call the paper?”

“No! Look. It’s just, well, you deliver my newspaper every morning and I don’t know your name. I don’t want us to be strangers.”

He looked at me leery. “Hector.”

I shook his hand. “Fletcher.”

“Okay. Have a good day.”

And then he took off, probably to tell all the other newspaper delivery people to avoid my apartment because I work for the I.N.S.

It’s too early to talk to strangers.

Bao Guy Takes an Unforeseen Twist

I just checked my voicemail. Scott is in fact being evicted at the end of the month and he asked if he could stay with me until he finds a new apartment!

WTF?!

I know we’ve become friendly and I’m dating his friend’s friend Marny. But we don’t know each other that well, do we? And how does he know I have a two-bedroom apartment? Maybe Marny told him.

I haven’t had a roommate since college. Why would I? I hate people!

Now if I say no, he probably never talks to me again and neither does Director Guy. And maybe even Marny. But I can’t live with some dude I hardly even know. I can just see myself putting fucking post-its on my leftover pork fried rice saying “Fletcher’s.”

I get back from Seattle later today. How the hell am I going to get out of this?