Another Night in Bushwick

Okay, for the past two weeks I’ve been working late almost every single night in order to issue some feasibility studies for our Very Important Client™. Yesterday morning, about 24 hours before we need to send out his stuff, he calls us up and asks us to drop everything and convert all our drawings to PDFs, burn them to a disk, and hand-deliver them to him at his office in New Jersey. So we do as instructed, pull an intern off somebody else’s project, and send him over to New Jersey with the goods. About an hour later, our Very Important Client™ calls back and tells us to forget about it; we can send the disk tomorrow via FedEx because he’s leaving the office for the day and won’t be there to receive it. We call the intern on his cell phone, and he’s only ten minutes away by that point, so we tell him to complete the delivery and forget we ever called him. He manages to do so.

Our Very Important Client™, meanwhile, raises bloody hell when we ask for a one-day extension on our deadline because we had the whole project team working on his stupid PDFs that he decided he didn’t even need to see. He reluctantly relents, but we still pull a heroic effort to get his shit sent out by the original deadline, despite a broken color printer and his other consultants dragging their feet in getting their materials to us.

While this is going on, the weather has consistently been in the upper 80’s and humid as hell. You can’t walk half a block without needing to take a shower afterwards… Gotta love New York in the summer. Being outside is like being in a steam bath, and thanks to my roommate being too much of a fucking cheapskate to run the air conditioner, being inside is like being in a steam bath as well.

So I’ve been getting home at around 11:00 PM or midnight almost every night for the past two weeks, lying in bed and sweating for a couple hours until I finally fall asleep, and then waking up at 6:30 AM in a pool of sweat and getting ready to go to work again.

Well, today was our original deadline, and I managed to get everything printed, bound, and sent out 30 minutes before the last FedEx pickup. Mission accomplished. As an added bonus, the temperature is a bit cooler today, with much less humidity. Maybe I’ll actually get a decent night’s sleep tonight.

Yeah, right.

The apartment I share with my roommate is pretty much an open loft configuration, located on the corner of the building, with lots of huge windows. Great for views and breezes, but terrible for peace and quiet. And because the bedroom walls don’t extend all the way to the ceiling, even the slightest noise is audible throughout the entire apartment. One side of the apartment faces the street, and the other side faces a service alley that belongs to the neighborhood grocery store, containing all their dumpsters and such.

First come the garbage trucks. This happens about twice a week, so it’s not entirely unexpected. Around 11:00 PM (but sometimes as late as 2:30 AM), a garage truck pulls into the grocery store’s alley, and spends the next 30 minutes with its engine in high gear while the workers bang the dumpsters around and load all the garbage into the compactor at the rear of the truck. They leave, and then another garbage truck pulls in about an hour later to pick up all the bales of compressed cardboard boxes. Again, lots of noise, and sometimes the diesel exhaust drifts into the apartment and stinks up the place. (Keep in mind that all the windows are open, thanks to my roommate being too much of a fucking cheapskate to run the air conditioner.)

Meanwhile, there’s the car alarm on the other side of the apartment. This particular car has been a nuisance in the neighborhood ever since I moved here last summer. Late model Chevy Impala sedan, silver with tinted windows, New York plates DYC 4579. It has one of those car alarms so sensitive that it start sounding if a pigeon shits on the sidewalk in Queens. You can hear it from blocks away. Tonight, the Impala is parked directly in front of my living room windows, and the alarm has been sounding non-stop for the past two hours. I’ve called the city about it twice so far, and so far nothing.

So much for my relaxing evening and decent night’s sleep. Christ, I can’t wait to move out of this fucking neighborhood.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, though. Today at work, completely out of the blue and while I was in the middle of trying to put our stuff together for our Very Important Client™, I got a phone call from somebody I had been in touch with a couple months ago about a bedroom for rent up in Hudson Heights. Large bedroom, nice view, three closets of my own, my own bathroom directly off the bedroom, and located in a nice co-op building in an upscale and quiet neighborhood by the George Washington Bridge… All for slightly less rent than I’m paying now in Bushwick. Best of all, the bedroom overlooked the bridge and the Hudson River. No garbage trucks, no car alarms. I could even put in my own window A/C unit if I wanted.

It all sounded too good to be true, and at the time, that turned out to be the case. The deal fell through because the current occupant of the bedroom decided that she wasn’t going to move out after all. Back to square one. Lately I’ve been getting a little panicked, because I need to be out of my current place no later than the end of August, and I hadn’t had a chance to start looking for a new place because I’ve been so busy at work lately.

To make matters worse, I’ve had to empty my savings account to pay for some emergency dental work thanks to a broken molar last month. I was hoping to go through a broker and get a half-decent apartment of my own in Hudson Heights, but that’s no longer a possibility at the moment. I had pretty much resigned myself to moving into another roommate situation for now, and was preparing myself to begin looking for a place and meeting people… With a sense of dread. Looking for housing in New York is about as much fun as a painful rectal itch, especially when you have no money and bad credit.

Well, the phone call this afternoon was from the person I had originally been in touch with about the bedroom overlooking the George Washington Bridge. Turns out the current occupant has decided to move out, and she really means it this time. I must have made a positive impression on the owner of the apartment, because she decided to give me a call and ask if I was still looking for a place.

Yes, it’s still a roommate situation, but it’s probably about the best roommate situation I could hope for given my current circumstances. At the very least, it should do until I know where I’ll be going for grad school and I have some more money in savings. The only catch is that the room may not be availably until mid-September, meaning I may need to find someplace temporary for a couple weeks.

Right now everything is verbal and nothing is official, but I’m cautiously optimistic this will work out. I’ll hopefully know more by this time next week…. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, anybody know how to silence a car alarm? I’m thinking smash the driver’s side window with a brick, pop the hood, and cut the cable to the positive battery terminal… And then torch the car. Got any better ideas?

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