Monday, December 5, 2011

Landlord Blues

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

Me: I’ll get you that rent check today. I have a new roommate moving in.

Landlord: I need to talk to you. I have some bad news. I need you to move out. I’ll give you 90 days.

Me: Really? Why?

Landlord: I keep getting complaints from the cigar shop owner.

Me: Really? What did he say?

Landlord: That you put holes in his roof.

Me: I didn’t put holes in his roof. I'm a 32-year old college teacher. Why would I put holes in somebody's roof? I’d like to see those alleged holes. I know for a fact that the cigar shop owner doesn’t like us. He has called us “hippies” in a derogatory way. I hope you’re not basing your decision on the cigar shop owner. He is prejudiced.

Landlord: No, I’m not.

Me: So why, then?

Landlord: Some of the hair salon’s roof tiles caved in.

Me: That could be because the building was built in the 1920s. There’s a 20-foot gap between my floor and her roof.

Landlord: I just don’t like all the rooftop activity. I can’t keep sending Kevin up there to clean it.

Me: You mean Kevin, the guy whose solution to roof leaks was a tarp? Look, I’ll admit we’re messy up there, no denying that, but I think you may be getting some bad information.

Landlord: To be honest, I just want someone up there who goes to his job and comes home and watches TV.

Me: So you don’t want someone like me who is involved in the community? How were your sales Friday night, during the Art Walk?

Landlord: Really good, actually.

Me: Well, there you go. I did that.

Landlord: I know you do a lot for the community, and I realize you guys are still growing up…

Me: Growing up? I’m 32. I’m an English teacher. Is your definition of a “grown up” someone who goes to work and watches television?

Landlord: I just need you to move out.

Me: Alright man. It’s your place. You’re a good guy. It’s okay.


Afterward, I went upstairs and talked to my “hippie” roommate for an hour about experimental music. Then I had an advisory conference with a new teacher. Then I taught three college courses. I’m just a kid, I guess. Someday, I’ll “grow up” and realize that the point of life is making lots of money and watching television. Someday, I’ll “grow up” and stop all this childish community involvement, academic work, and fostering an art community where there was none before. I’m just a naïve kid, I guess.

These hippies are movin' away. Probably a couple blocks away. Anyone need a roommate?