Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Life In A Luxury Apartment

My apartment is a trade-off. The building used to be a factory, so it's got huge wood pillars and exposed brick walls, but when it was converted into an apartment building it was scrubbed up and varnished and loaded with the best amenities -- like a roof deck, a bike room, and a fitness center.

The trade-off? My actual apartment is eighteen square feet. While in the rest of the world this is called a "closet," in New York it's what keeps your rent below $3,000 a month.

I rented the place for exactly one reason: the fitness center. In the gay world, muscles get you a nice apartment, not the other way around. At Boots & Saddles, for instance, nobody's going to pick you up because you have a sundeck. On Grindr nobody wants a picture of your master bath. Running to a bar while still pumped up is literally the gay retirement plan.

This fitness center isn't particularly large, which is why I'm doing crunches on a yoga mat directly in front of the bathroom. Before I'm halfway through, a blue figure appears from out of nowhere, steps over me, and closes the door behind him.

It takes a second to register. The Canadian Mounty hat, the shorts with black stripes down the legs. The mailman. Has pulled his little shorts down and is now pooping two feet away from me.

My mind freezes while my body continues to exercise out of habit. Usually I'm indecisive, but here I couldn't be clearer: I don't want to be two feet away from a pooping mailman.

I've started the bicycle-pedaling option when the noises start. You'd recognize them, I think, if you've ever seen that video where two men arm-wrestle until somebody's arm snaps. Suddenly I know how the Egyptians feel right before the Red Sea hits them. Must. Do. Something. FAST.

Despite the waves of internalized horror, my rational mind is still working, and suddenly it hits me: if I let the mailman know how thin the door is, he'll try to quiet down. "OOF!" I go, crunching again. "UNH!" With the unspoken message: you can hear me, which means I can hear you too. But somehow he doesn't get the message. If anything, he increases his efforts. It turns into a painful duet, like walruses mating or a scatological aria. It what Madame Butterfly would have sounded like if it had been set in Mexico.

I've moved on to bench pressing when the door finally opens. I shoot him a friendly look, to give him the chance to apologize. You know, maybe give me a "Sorry -- I guess I shouldn't have eaten that chili!" face. But he doesn't. He doesn't show the shame that a loud pooper should. I guess it makes sense: if he cared what people thought, he wouldn't be taking loud poops two feet away from them.

The next day I've barely laid down when that little blue figure materializes again. I can't believe my eyes, and my luck. I'm baffled. I think, What the fuck is wrong with him? I mean, really -- I don't want to sound blasphemous, but I'm pretty sure Jesus would have cried uncle if a pooping mailman had been his cross to bear. And what's up with his timing, turning up in the afternoon? Isn't pooping pretty much a morning thing?

He closes the door and I hear the shorts drop. I don't need any further prompting: my survival instincts take over and once again I turn into Steffi Graf. Every little movement prompts an anguished outburst. I move a leg: "UNG!" I squeeze my abs: "OOF!" The repeated gusts of air actually make my shorts rustle and my ears ring, but I don't give a damn. I don't care that I'm repeating something that didn't work in the past, which is pretty much the definition of psychotic. I do it anyway.

I grunt. I groan. I howl until Steffi Graf herself would tell me to shut the fuck up when another figure walks in. It's a guy who lives down the hall, dressed in workout clothes. I stop OOF!ing and he shoots me a look of relief. "Oh, thank God," he says in a voice loud enough to travel. "I thought you were the mailman."

No comments: