Wednesday, August 3, 2005

These Are The People In My Neighborhood, In My Neighborhood....

The countdown is officially on, and I'm still procrastinating. I've got at least half the apartment left to pack, plus cleaning and the removal of various furniture pieces heavier than endtables or Girl Pugs throne.

I've been scouting out some of the less threatening addicts in the 'hood for furniture removal..however I seem to keep running into them while they are thorughly stoned and therefore not making much progress. I live in a very poor neighborhood, and am a minority here, so when I moved in 5 years ago I quickly learned that becoming friends with certain addicts and characters actually improved my safety. Suprisingly, I met all of them because they liked my pugs. Just goes to ahow a Rottweiler is not always the best choice for safety!

The first was Big Scary Drug Dealer, with his Big Scary Drug Dealer Dog, a huge black chow mix. Girl pug attempted to rip out BSDDD jugular, which caused BSDD to laugh and BSDDD to just look mildly amused. Then she fell in love with both of them, which was reciprocated. BSDD will squeal "Here, Pug Pug Pug!" in a high falsetto when he sees her approach, which sends Girl pug into fits of wiggling. Being Pavlovian, she now also associates the lookouts " Cops are coming" series of whistles with BSDD, which can cause problems while he's working and she wants some lovin. Other than her sluttish response to the lookouts whistling, this kept me safe when coming home from work after 3 am. I'm not about to ask him for any help, though.

Then there was J, who seemed to live down the block, and was often found passed out in the shade of my building on hot summer days. J generally roamed about all day looking for a hit, and whacked his comrades upside the head if they decided to hit on me. J dissapeared about two years ago, and I assumed he had died. Two weeks ago he reappeared, clean and sober and almost completely unrecognizable. He's not in the area much these days, trying to avoid old habits, but everyone he whacked upside the head before still knows to keep their distance.

Girl and Boy pugs favorite is W and his cohorts, who keep vigil at the corner bodega. W has been here forever, and first introduced himself to the pugs and myself by exclaiming " Yo, dat's the dog from Men In Black! Yo Frank!!". He took to calling them Frank and Mrs. Frank, and when Girl pug hears his gravelly voice she lunges at the end of her leash looking to get a belly rub. W is kind of like the neighborhood ambassador..he knows everybody and everything. He's supposed to be scouting for manual labor for me.

One of my favorites is the neighborhood transvestite, who after 5 years I still am not sure of his name. He's a frequent recipient of my cast off clothes, and if I ever lost Boy Pug I would be sure to find him sitting on T's lap. We first really met T on Sept 11th, 2001. I was bolting home with the pugs in tow while the Twin Towers were burning, and T was on my block crying " Oy mami, the sky is falling! The sky is falling!" T is still struggling with sobriety, and many of my evening walks find us on his stoop, the pugs being stroked while he rehashes his weekly dramas. T has an old back injury, and his friends are HIGHLY suspect, so I havent mentioned the moving furintiture saga to him. i will tell him once it's out, in case he wants to claim anything.

And finally, theres B. B seems to be my age, maybe younger. When you look at him you can still see who he once was, and how deep into a personal hell he has fallen. He and his "wife" are the epitome of a crackhead couple. Often she's angling for tricks while he's wobbling down the block, trying to drink a beer. I always really liked B..even while high he was always very kind and liked to pet the pugs and ask me how my day was going. He was also the one most firmly entrenched in addiction, and the one I worried about most. B would do things like perform surgery on himself after his jaw was wired shut after an accident, using pliers to snip the wires himself. Today while dragging the pugs down the block we ran into him again. We stopped to chat and B revealed he's been sober for 35 days..and was grinning from ear to ear. Having a family history of addiction, we yapped for a while about meetings and family roles and recovery. I was so tickled about seeing him sober and happy I had to call M at work and tell her. I don't think I'll ask B for help, simply because his "wife" is likely to think I'm hitting on him and try to cut me, or she'll figure out some way to rob me blind while I'm not looking.