A long time ago, me and my bestie Jen-Wa The Destroyer lived in this place.
We moved in over a long rainy day almost entirely by ourselves after spending about two months living in what we affectionately called the Shell Beach Homeless Person Squat House, or the House that was Managed by a Sexist Insane Person. Or the House With The Stomping Elephant Psycho Neighbor upstairs. Or you know, our first home together. Anyway we got very very sick of sleeping in the same room or sharing a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment for the rental price of a palatial resort so, we moved. Ideally we wanted to move up into San Luis Obispo but there wasn’t anywhere to live and being a college town it’s crazy difficult to get a house/apartment/shack there when you’re in your 20’s. Even when you’ve been living on your own since 18 (Jennifer) and 23 (me) respectively. So when we were at our wits end, a very kind elderly lady called us to come look at an apartment over at the Sunset Terrace.
And how excited were we! The building reminded us of Los Angeles area 50’s styled apartments. We’d get a PARKING SPACE! There was a pool! If you stood on one foot and leaned this one direction and craned your neck you’d see the Pacific Ocean. There were windows and counters and light and TWO COUNT THEM BITCH, TWO BEDROOMS. It was a whopping 150-200 dollars cheaper per month. There was more than one set of washers and driers on the property. The carpet wasn’t fugly shag green. We thought this was going to be the best thing ever. And best of all no one would live underneath us. Holy balls, it was like we were the Beverly Hillbillies.
Every bit of our happiness had a price and I ended up in this dump for 4 years.
Dump you say? Why would something so wonderful ever be a dump?
No offense to the landlords, who were very kind to us during our stint there at this hell hole but they were really too kind to a lot of our neighbors as well, to the point you’d THINK the damn building was built around these freakshows. For one there was the naked cat lady. I can’t remember her name now and she was pretty freakin’ nice but holy crap in a building where you’re not allowed pets, to have 3-5 cats at a time that you 1-don’t even try to hid and 2-have taken your screen out and allow them to wander in and out at all hours of the day, who bless their furry faces, just YOWL at all hours of the day… well that’s pretty extreme. And oh yes, the naked part….
Remember how we had a pool and I gotta tell you, pools are scarce on the Central Coast. I mean the ocean/beach is right freakin’ there. But having a pool saves you from all that driving and public restrooming and paying tourist prices for a simple day in the sun. Naked Cat Lady had a little spot next to our pool. It WAS fenced off and originally intended for people who like to line dry their clothes, but Naked Cat Lady built herself kind of a clubhouse back there with her little radio, a camper shell to store her special lawn chair in and god only knows what she was drinking but it was either Pink Wine or Scotch most times I saw her. She’d go in this little area and just get butt naked and lay out in the sun listening to the radio and drinking something god awful, with her cats any time the sun was out. Let me just remind you that Naked Cat Lady was about 70 years old. I’ll probably turn into Naked Cat Lady when I’m 70 but it was pretty disconcerting to always be talking to a naked lady surrounded by cats through a fence. When her kids came up to take her to her retirement home around the time Jennifer moved away, Naked Cat Lady “gave” me her fort back there because I’d always been nice to her and she knew I liked the pool area. I never used it because, that’s weird, but what a nice gesture.
If there had just been a Naked Cat Lady we would’ve been fine. But oh no the cast of characters at this place went much deeper. For instance there were the Truck Driving Lesbians down the hall from us. If you’ve read this blog for five minutes or more you know I LOVE me some lesbians. Except for these two who seemed to only have two activities in their life: beating the shit out of each other and getting the cops called on them and leering in an unflattering way at Jennifer and I when we’d go to the pool, do laundry, leave the house, not be wearing burkas, etc. There was one night I walked past their apartment to get to the laundry room and they were out there being all butch and smoking and drinking canned beer and I had sweats on and they were sort of slipping and I yanked them back up pretty quick. It’s rude to show people your butt crack or whatever. One of these gals says to the other one “Stuck up bitch doesn’t want us to see what she’s got.” Since I was about 10 feet away I heard the rest of the conversation. I just went about my business and put my laundry in only to find ALL of my wet clothes on the floor of the laundry room when I went to change over to the dryer. When I finally LOST my mind and told the landlord (we were so poor then, and the 1.50 it cost me to wash those clothes was lost and I only had enough change left to dry them and they were dirtier than when I put them in…) basically I just got handed a roll of quarters and told I was a nice renter. Also to stop walking by their house because they were trouble and “nice” girls like Jennifer and I didn’t want to get mixed up in “that.”
There were a large parade of nuts moving in and out of that place. It was one of the 3 places I lived on the Central Coast that didn’t seem to do ANY kind of checks (I know because they never did a credit check on us, something us broke asses were so grateful for) on anyone who moved in. So there was a lot of moving out under the cover of darkness in trashbags in the building. So anyone that lasted a year seemed to be loved by the management, no matter what sort of assery was going on in the place. They installed Jen and I between two of the oldest, crankiest, biddies. One was just MEAN. She scared off trick or treaters, telling them that there was no candy and that Halloween was the work of the devil and gave me the dirtiest look when I walked out in costume to give these kids a candy bar. One was old as the hills and deaf as a box of socks. She actually was pretty cool once I sat down and talked to her or the time I helped her with her groceries. She told me “that old bitch next door has it in for you girls, don’t be surprised if the cops keep showing up here.” Sylvia was right, we had the cops called on us for a myriad of offenses in the years Jennifer and I lived together. I can only think of two times we actually deserved it, one when we were getting ready to go out and probably had the radio up too loud in the living room and another time we DID have a band living with us for a couple of days (whoops, hey they cleaned the pool and the managers didn’t give a shit) but we had the cops called on us by this bag for reading in our rooms wearing headphones, watching the 10 o’clock news with the sound on, existing etc. We were nearing noise fine territory according to Grover PD, but one cop told me we lived next door to a crazy woman, she’d done the same thing to her last neighbor and oh hey my show on that radio thingy was pretty good. Bye bye Officer Joe, you were kind of cute by the way.
One day, after Jennifer moved to Boston, I snapped. Even though every other looney in the building was “allowed” to have pets because they moved in before the pet policy (WTF) they said I had to get rid of Lily if I wanted to stay. I’d been cat called by the mean ladies down the way one too many times during my 4 year stay. I didn’t need a 2 bedroom apartment to live in on my own. I’d had my electricity turned off by accident by our sweet old landlord transposing numbers of the latest asshat to move out in the middle of the night. One too many people ran into my car. One too many people had called the cops on me for breathing. I got really tired of the other sweet doddering old man who seemed to think I lived in his girlfriends apartment and kept trying to use his key on the door and almost destroyed my screen door when I started locking that too. I got sick of my own key not bloody working and having to get into my house through the window in my bedroom/finally computer room. Sylvia, my other crazy old lady neighbor finally just put an upside down flower pot outside my window so I could get in. She got used to it like I got used to her watching tv at maximum volume until 4 in the morning. At least she was pretty cool in the end.
I moved out. I found another little dream home in my favorite part of the coast. I could walk to the beach. I could have a cat or 12 if I wanted. It was close to my girlfriend Kris’s work. I had a parking space. My neighbors were cool, and everything was going to be awesome… so I thought.