Los Angeles Part 4

Towards the end of August, 2006, Nicole and I moved into an apartment on Martel Ave. in Los Angeles.  It was still a one bedroom apartment, but it had a balcony, air conditioning, a dishwasher, underground parking -- the little things that make your life so much easier.

I had a friend recently tell me that she considered my neighborhood to be in the heart of Los Angeles which, now when I think about it, is probably a good description.  Our address is Los Angeles.  We don't live in Hollywood, even though we're five minutes from Hollywood and Highland.  We don't live in West Hollywood, even though we're just a few blocks from a very nice strip mall that is called "The West Hollywood Gateway."  We're half a block from Sunset, and maybe a mile from the Sunset Strip.

From this building, I can walk to Meltdown Comics, Guitar Center, and the 7th Veil strip club.

I say "this building" because Nicole and I still live on Martel, albeit in a different apartment, but I'll get to that later on.

I mentioned how this move would usher in a new era of maturity for the two of us, although Nicole was probably farther along than I was.  Apparently, my new found adulthood made me cranky, and as I had no lawn for which children could play on and I could then yell at them to get off, our downstairs neighbor would have to do.

In my defense, the guy was an ass hat.

We were actually kind of sandwiched by problems.  Our apartment was below the pool on the floor above, and anyone who jumped in and hit the bottom of it invariably made a thumping noise on our ceiling.  Even worse, the pump for the jacuzzi was, apparently, situated right above our bedroom.  In theory, this shouldn't have been a problem, since the jacuzzi had hours of operation.  But try telling drunk twentysomethings that they can't use the jacuzzi at three in the morning on a Tuesday.

Actually, I don't need to try; I did it.  A lot.

I won't go into the story about the two naked Russian girls who asked me to join them (actually, that's pretty much the whole story), but I will say that I actually met a lot of people by going up to the roof and asking them to shut the hell up.  When Nicole and I switched apartments, we ran into a number of them, and Nicole was surprised at how many people I knew in this building.  It's entirely because I'm that guy who gets up at some ungodly hour to yell at the kids on his lawn.

Needless to say, the jacuzzi pump and the pool were reasons why we eventually moved.

I also had an ongoing feud with the ass hat who lived below us, a guy we referred to as Abercrombie.  We called him this because, late, late one night, he was talking on his phone while standing on his balcony.  Now, all the balconies on that side of the building face inward, so anything you say while on said balcony carries to all the apartments around it, particularly when you're saying it in the wee hours of the morning and there's no other noise to drown it out.

Abercrombie was informing some young lady that he was on a billboard somewhere in an ad for, you guessed it, Abercrombie and Fitch.  And, let's face facts, if I needed a reason to dislike the guy, that would have been enough.  But he was constantly loud, with complete disregard for his neighbors.  Be it music or loud phone conversations on his balcony at ungodly hours, he had no idea that anyone existed other than him.

Eventually, our property manager arranged to move him into another apartment, that's how bad it got.

I should also point out that the girl he was on the phone with that first night was someone he'd met online.  I guess Abercrombie didn't have a lot of information about this girl, as after a half hour of hitting on her over the phone, he asked her how old she was.  I didn't hear her answer, but I heard his: "Thirteen??"

Aside from my descent into grumpy old man territory, I made an actual big step towards adulthood when I (someone would say finally) asked Nicole to marry me.  The story of our engagement is, of course, rife with eccentricities, but I'll leave that for another blog entry, if anyone's interested.  Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal.

Here's the thing: Nicole and I have always talked about the future.  Part of the reason we moved into a one bedroom when, really, we could afford something larger, is that we wanted to save money for a house.

But this is Los Angeles and houses are really expensive and take a long, long time to save up for.  And when you add in the aforementioned (very very aforementioned at this point) disturbances, staying in that apartment for the amount of time necessary to save for a house would have been counter productive to my quest for sanity.

It was also becoming clear that I really couldn't write in our bedroom and, honestly, I don't think Nicole wanted me writing in our bedroom.  I tend to make a point of submerging myself in the moment when I write, and doing so in a room that had duel purposes was difficult.  Not impossible, mind you, but less than ideal.  Also, I think Nicole wanted to be able to go to bed whenever she wanted and not wait for the muse to pass me over.

Interestingly enough, Nicole had 2 surgeries while we lived in this apartment, both for her sinuses, although the second was a bit more involved.  That second one also happened to fall just a few days before we planned on moving.  Fortunately, we just moved up a floor, to a penthouse in the sky.  Okay, not a penthouse, but a glorious two bedroom apartment, which gave me an office and Nicole a bedroom.

Honestly, moving out of the one bedroom on Martel and into the two bedroom stuck with the theme of stumbling into adulthood.  A one bedroom apartment seemed like the kind of thing that a couple struggling to get by would live in.  It wasn't an apartment that we could really stay in for any length of time.  It was only half of a grown-up apartment.

It was an oddly transitional apartment, and I think the fact that I liked where we ended up makes me like it more than it might deserve.

And now, as always, a few choice songs that were on heavy rotation in that apartment: