Apartment life is more than location

By Grant McGee

I moved out of my groovy disc jockey pad last week.
The pad was a one-bedroom apartment smack dab in downtown Clovis.

Some of my compadres wondered at my choice of living quarters because of its location.

“Look,” I said, “there’s new carpet, a new hot water heater, new refrigerator, it’s been freshly painted and the rent’s great.” I liked the apartment, it reminded me of the old hotels I lived in as a child.

I moved there in March 2003. There were good neighbors, there were wild neighbors, there were incidents with wanderers.

About a month after I moved in there was a banging on my door about 1:30 a.m.

“Open up. This is the police.”

I looked out the peephole. There was a guy with disheveled hair and no shirt standing in the hallway. I’ve seen drunks; this guy had had a few.

“You don’t look like the police to me,” I said through the door.

“I’m the police. Open up.”

I called the police.

Once the real cops got there, I opened my door. There was the guy sprawled out in the hallway, clothes scattered about. He was passed out in his underwear.

About a month after that incident, there was a knocking on the door … again about 1:30 a.m. I crept up to the peephole and looked out. No one. I went to the window and looked down on the front of the building. Another drunk. He looked like a starving Willie Nelson. He kept falling down while trying to get on his bicycle. He finally succeeded and zigzagged off into the night.

The neighbors were interesting at times, too.

There was this one guy who made it his business to know everyone’s business. Frequently I’d walk by his apartment, the door would pop open and he’d say, “What are you doing?”

There was the young man who lived on the first floor by the alley. I don’t know what this guy had, but young women beat a path to his place daily, nightly, all hours. They would pull up in front of his apartment and beep their car horns. They would bang on his door. One afternoon in a nearby parking lot two women got in a fight over whom he liked more. I wondered if those two knew about all the other women who visited him.

There were the kids who moved in. Maybe it was their first apartment. They often seemed to be testing the upper limits of their boombox stereos, oblivious to neighbors. They hung around out front.

There were times I found graffiti written in the dust on my car. I was glad it was done in dust and not spray paint.

I’ve thought about folks I’ve known who would dismiss such a place without a second thought because of its location. I’ve thought of how strange things have happened wherever I lived, no matter the neighborhood:

• One guy walked on top of his house in his underwear in the middle of the night in Roswell.

• One woman screamed for help weekly in the parking lot of the “nice” apartment complex in Corrales.
I could go on.

Maybe there were some annoyances or weird incidents, but nothing really bad happened while I lived in downtown Clovis.

I’m gonna miss my groovy DJ pad.

It had soul.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: blisscreeksw@yahoo.com