You know, lo these many years ago when I first arrived at the Belvedere Estates I could barely lug a trunk of books and a soiled futon mattress up the steps into this place so how in the hell did the people who live above me manage to get a fucking piano up there last year?? Somehow they did. Do you know how I know this? Because daily I am tormented by the sounds of the contraption being banged upon. Perhaps if I had a Glenn Gould type up there blitzing through the Goldberg Variations I could live with it. Instead I'm stuck with deviant homosexuals who periodically can be heard sobbing and moaning followed ten minutes later by morose dirges played out on the ivories. Some afternoons it sounds as if there are several people up there laughing, tipping champagne flutes together, gathered around the piano belting out show tunes as if in a Noel Coward play.
I wouldn't say the music tortures me. But sometimes I like to take a nap in the midday. Just as I am about to drift off there will be a ferocious trouncing of the keys from above and I am jarred from beneath my snuggie. I suppose that I could go upstairs and complain, but I really haven't a leg to stand on when it comes to issues of bothersome neighborly distractions.
There have been times when I might have thought that the rest of the building was plotting against me. I suppose once upon a time there were regular bouts of long noisy nights but I think that the married life has cured me of that malady for the most part. Not to say that there is not a backslide now and again every few weeks. Living in the city is all about making compromises.
Let them tickle their ivories by day and I will have my nights of Bruce Springsteen's Jungleland at maximum volume.
There was a story in the building that circulated for a while about a summer afternoon when the relative calm of the foyer and halls were interrupted by a flailing screaming naked lady who ran out of the front door and up Belvedere Street. This being The Haight Ashbury one flipped out screaming naked hippie was no big cause for alarm but everyone in the building wondered from where did this woman come? It was a mystery to me until I finally realized that the time this streaking was supposed to have happened would have been when I was overseas visiting Steve and Derek in Korea. I had let my less than savory friend Glenn sublet my apartment while I was gone. I knew it had to have something to do with him. And he admitted to it without hesitation once I had a chance to ask him about it several years later.
He said that he had gotten off of work early and sat in my apartment and drank a bottle of wine. He wanted to have a drink so he went out and walked down Haight Street to Murio's Trophy Room. This is the kind of bar where you can wear a shirt with mustard stains down the front and not feel out of place. This bar smells like a million gallons of stale beer and the lost souls who sucked em down and pissed em out. Once ensconced in this bar Glen attached himself to some schizophrenic broad whom he was able to ply with cheap whisky. Somehow he managed to get her to come back to my apartment with him. I don't know maybe he told her he had a pony or something. Then the story gets vague and I'd rather not know anyway but I guess the woman was half crazy and homeless and Glenn tried to get romantic with her...although this doesn't explain the nudity...whatever. He ended up stiffing me on three months rent anyway.
Fun times. City Livin....