Divorce Apartment

This story is about contrast. The contrast between what we believe and expect as opposed to what is real. There is much to do about profiling. If we are honest with ourselves we'd admit it is a natural tendency and not all that easy to overcome. I think it is a sign of laziness. We just don't think things through. Keeping an open mind is not static — we must work at it. I have my reasons for saying so. This short tale is my way of expressing my conclusions about one aspect of the human condition.

The Story Begins —

I recently moved into an inexpensive "post-divorce" apartment. Sitting on my Lilliputian balcony, I could hear four or five languages spoken throughout the afternoon. I occasionally imagined I am the Clint Eastwood character in "Gran Torino" — then I wake up from my daydream.

I am very excited about living in this hodgepodge environment. It is a sharp contrast to the suburban neighborhood I'd vacated. Right after I signed my rental contract, before I had really moved in, I went there after work to spend an hour or so sitting on a lawn chair just watching. A couple of days went by before I saw my first suspicious transaction go down. A car pulled into a space across the way — a young adult walked up to the driver's window — a sum of money was handed out the window — a small plastic packet was handed back through the window — the window rolled up as the car backed out and sped away. I can only assume it was a drug deal ...

What one might expect in this neighborhood —

One afternoon, as I sipped green tea and puffed on a cigar, I watched a preteen girl wander among the parked cars. I saw her go to the back of a car and try to open the gas flap. It was a car that had a locking cap — she could not open it. A tenant drove by — she magically disappeared. When the car passed, just as mysteriously, she popped up. The over curious imp approached the next car in line. As she reached for the gas flap, speaking in a stern voice I asked, "What are you going to do with that gas cap?" — I figured I'd let this scene go on long enough. She looked up, wide eyed, and darted into the complex. Never to be seen by me again.

So as you read this you're probably thinking, yeah those urban kids are always looking to get into trouble — you know how they are ...

There is more to this story —

Last night I had gone through my ritual of green tea and crackers — the English call them biscuits. After straightening a few things out around the apartment, I packed up my travel bag and carried it out to the bike. There was a woman across the way trying to back her car into a parking space. I watched her with amused interest. She seemed to be having a really tough time doing what I felt was a rather simple maneuver. When she finally completed her task, I inserted my earplugs, donned my helmet, threw a leg over the seat, put on my gloves, and hit the starter button. I took off through the parking lot and out onto the street. I got about a mile away when a sickening feeling washed over me – I never lashed down my bag! I pulled over, looked at the passenger seat — OH SHIT! I made a hasty u-turn and went back as fast as I dared, swiveling my head to and fro with each revolution of the tires while doing the "eagle-eye" over every inch of the road. You have probably been in a crisis mode before – know how all those"horrors" run through your mind? I had the title to my truck and my bike in that bag. I had my check book and other documents I couldn't afford to lose. I also had the book I was currently reading and didn't want to lose my place.

I arrived back at the complex and parked the bike in my assigned space – frantically looking about. There was no sign of the bag. I still had my helmet on and ear plugs in place. I could faintly hear a voice. I looked all around and saw nobody. I heard the voice again, a little louder. I looked up to the third floor, just above my first floor apartment. There stood a late-teenage girl waving at me and speaking. I motioned that I had earplugs and couldn't hear. She yelled, "I have your bag". I yanked my helmet off as she unlock her apartment door, enter, then return with my bag. She hustled down three flights of stairs and handed it to me.

I thanked her while quickly surveying the contents. Finding all my treasures, I asked for her name. She said Chris. I asked if that was C H R I S? She said no it was Chris with a K and a Y. She spelled it K H R Y S, or, maybe Krys, I will straighten that out later. I gave her a thumbs-up and said we would see each other again, which I did, but that's another story, or three. With much relief I used two bungees to tie the bag securely on the back rest and proceeded out of the complex and towards my next adventure.

Postscript —

I realize not all stories have such a happy ending. It is still important to be careful in the wacky world we live in. The story exemplifies the "don't jump to conclusions" tale that we've been told before. It was not a particularly significant revelation on my part. What it may serve to do is be a reminder. A reminder to not take the lazy path and just assume on appearance that the outcome will always be the same. It is also good to read a happy ending story once in a while. It is a sharp contrast to events we are subjected to in our every day lives.