Friday, October 18, 2013

Doing the best that you can


The bathroom for Klaus' apartment is actually separate from the unit, and is located in the building's main hallway. Often the door is left open. Tonight, this is view from the lobby.
I ran into my neighbor Klaus* this morning, 20-something urban hillbilly with thick glasses, mustache, and an amiable outlook on life.

Sitting on the back steps, splayed out as though posing for a Fruit of the Loom advertisement yet dressed fully in an oversized ensemble of camouflage fatigues, he puffed casually from a poorly rolled joint.

Nothing about him communicated “up tight” or “judgmental.” He cut the ribsy figure of a post-survivalist Lebowski, a near-sighted Dale Gribble on Xanax, digging the shit-strewn moral wasteland that is a University District alley. His camouflage didn't match – trousers were woodland camo, coat was MultiCam camo – but he didn't seem to care.


He heard me coming as I lugged my bike onto the back porch, on my way to work, and jumped to his feet, as though I had walked in on him while he enjoyed his own company.

Klaus was on his way to work as well, he said. More accurately, he was preparing himself to be on his way to work.

“Just smoking a joint before I go in,” he said, then mentioned he didn't need to clock in for another two hours or so.

Klaus recently took a position in the produce department of a local grocery store, after wasting his youth in the high-stakes family business of scavenging scrap metal for recycling. Klaus might be the only non-meth addled metal recycler I have ever heard of. Not to say he isn't addled. He's totally addled.

I felt bad, as I had to roust him up, and force him to descend to the ground so I could get my bike down the stairs.

He didn't seem to mind. He offered me a hit of his joint, but I politely declined. So he whipped out a big bag of weed and gave me two buds. My pannier smelled like dank all day at work. It was awesome.

*Klaus is not his real name, it's a fake name.

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