— Essentials —

I’m Living in a Film Noir

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It’s been a four-police-car-day at my new apartment building. This morning it sounded like the people in the apartment above me were hurling furniture, and one another, across the room. At some point, two police cars pulled up in front of the building. The burly guy upstairs—with the word “SEMPER” in a six-inch tattoo down the back of his left calf and a “FIDELIS” tattoo down the back of his right calf—went outside and spoke to the police. Together they all went upstairs where the stomping and throwing continued, even after the police left.

I thought I was moving into a chi-chi, upscale building, but so far all I’ve seen is its dark and seamy underside.

My dog, Sam, barks at everyone, especially the woman in the burka and her male companion who hauls large, heavy, metal suitcases in and out of the building. This morning at 4:30am, a police car and a tow truck hauled their car away from the “No Parking-Tow Away” zone in front of my window. (Did I mention I live on the first floor? My desk faces the window, so I have a front row seat for everything.) Their car’s been parked there, more often than not, since I moved in last week. Later this morning, when the man discovered their car was gone, the look on his face made my blood run cold. The same kind of cold as when I collided, hard, with someone wearing a burka at a nearby mall. I’m 99 percent certain it was a male body and a male who grunted from inside that burka. Think about that for awhile… Your blood will run cold as well.

Next door there are the four screaming children. I understand where they get the idea that screaming, versus talking, is okay. After they leave for school, mom and dad start yelling at one another, saying things like “I know my legal rights,” and “I’m going to continue to live here.”

Then there’s the neighbor who told me she’s a retired Major who had her finger on the button of the underground nukes outside Las Vegas. Speaking in rapid sentences she said, “Have you seen the apartment upstairs with the red light in the window? That’s me! I’m command central for anything you want. I’m wearing a dead woman’s shirt. Senator John Cornyn likes me a lot and is going to help me learn to fly.” Oookaay… If she was a Major in the military, I was the King of Siam.

In the meantime, I’ve unpacked and am nesting… Uh-oh! The police are back! Mr. Semper Fidelis is outside, again, while upstairs it sounds like a document shredder is working overtime.

I feel like I’m trapped inside of a film noir, waiting for the “coppers” to arrest someone or the bad guys to make a run for it. Let’s hope I don’t turn into the wisecracking detective, although trench coats are in fashion this season.

Love, Brenda


  • Susan Macaulay February 6, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Wow. Not what you had hoped for!

    On the veiled woman, I lived in the Middle East for 18 years and saw plenty of veiled women. They are for the most part just like us <3

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you, Susan. While this is a very different life from the seclusion of the ranch, I love my apartment. It’s the neighbors that are a little off. Brenda

  • Tara Sayers Dillard February 6, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Seems no accident you’ve moved to this place, none. As Marjorie Kennan Rawlings was told, write what you know. Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      I’ve been guided at every point in my life. This is no different, so we’ll see what’s around the next corner for me.

  • bestill February 6, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Praying for you, Brenda. The Lord has you there for His purposes. Praying He gives you safety and clarity.

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you! I’m so grateful for your prayers and your concern. They’re my prayers as well. xoxox

  • Duchesse Passage des perles February 6, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Especially If living there alone, please be sure you feel safe and comfortable not only in your apt., but in the building. It’s not too late to revise a decision made when you didn’t have full information.

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Sweet Lady! I’ve lived through real and imminent danger. This isn’t the same. Besides, I’m a Texas girl. xoxo

  • Barbara Hammond February 6, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I might be trying to get out of the lease, if it were me. Sounds pretty scary. But, at least the police do come! Stay safe, Brenda!

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Hi Barbara,
      I’m not a Pollyanna, but I choose to think this is a slice of life that’s exempt from income and is usually hidden behind closed doors. I’m just now in close enough proximity to hear and see it. Quite a change from living where the deer and the antelope play.

  • Sasha Maples Johns February 6, 2016 at 10:07 am

    This reminds me so much of where I lived on the southside of Birmingham, Alabama in my early twenties.

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      I don’t know about the southside of Birmingham, but this is a posh neighborhood, which is why I’m so stunned. You just never know, do you?

  • janice wald February 6, 2016 at 11:18 am

    HI Brenda,
    That is the coolest graphic. It reminds me of a Humphrey Bogart movie.

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Janice!
      That’s why I chose this graphic… That plus it’s part me, part my dogs. They’re always on the watch.
      Hope all is well with you,

  • Mamavalveeta03 February 6, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Oh Brenda! To leave the peace and solitude of your ranch, thinking that you’re going to find “community,” only to end up stuck in an episode of “Law and Order.” I hope you’re making plans to find a new place as soon as possible. Be safe, and “Keep a stiff upper chin!” as a dear friend of mine used to say.

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      LOL! We’ll see what next week brings. It takes more than some wacky neighbors to make me run. Besides, it’s not like I’m suffering. It’s a beautiful place.

  • Patricia Douville February 6, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I was in a similiar situation when I sold my beautiful house and rented in Charleston with my 2 dogs in a “Historic” house. Surrounded by partying college students, inadequate heating and air conditioning and a quarter of the house I was used to. It threw me into a deep depression. Take care of yourself and make sure you take trips away from the new apartment. Visit family and friends often, it can be a hard slog even though you know it is not forever.

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Thoughtful advice from someone who’s been there. Thank you:) Actually, I’m not bummed about the neighbors… More entertained than anything, and yes, it’s not forever.

  • ccassara February 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    “Hello, Movers? I have a job for you…”

    • 1010 Park Place February 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      LOL, Carol. No, short of being attacked while I walk the dogs, I’m staying put. Really, it’s a beautiful place. You’d never guess this was going on in this particular building!

  • Cathy Chester February 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Oh, boy. Best of luck.

    • 1010 Park Place February 7, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Still smiling… 🙂

  • roses2me February 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I’m not quite sure if I should Laugh at the craziness of this story or cry at the seriousness of your situation? I guess I’ll just stop and pray for safety, wisdom, and the ability to enjoy some comic relief! Love to you girlfriend!! Cindy xoxo

    • 1010 Park Place February 7, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      You’re right on target: It’s funny, and it’s not. Would appreciate the prayers as that’s all I can do for the moment. Moving–again–is too expensive and more than I want to go through. How are you and your kiddos doing?

  • Esther Zimmer February 7, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Your choice of image goes so brilliantly with this piece – I just love it! And I was initially going to say that I’m sorry things haven’t worked out as expected…only…I’m not getting any sense of regret from your writing, you sound more entertained (at least up to a point) than anything and as long as you feel safe, maybe being somewhere so different from your old place is making the adjustment a much easier one? I lived in a stunning apartment in Perth, Australia, for a while and there were some right weirdos living there, I never once felt in danger though and I actually look back on that period with rather a lot of fond memories. Sending you much love, Essie xx

    • 1010 Park Place February 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Don’t you love the dog, peering through the blinds? He’s a combination of me and Sam. Unless I keep my shades pulled, we have no choice but to see what goes on outside.

      You’re very perceptive: I have no regrets, some amusement, although I’m not sure how long I’ll be good with the throwing things around upstairs and the screaming kids next door. Not sure who’s the bad guy upstairs, although if I were the female, I’d leave immediately and never come back.

  • Jennifer Connolly February 7, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Wow. It sounds a bit thrilling! And you have a front row seat. Are you enjoying it? Yes, it’s not your normal, but it might be exciting in a bizarre way. And do you own a gun?:)
    XOXO Jennifer

    • 1010 Park Place February 8, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      The “OMG I have neighbors, and they’re strange” has worn off. Today I’ve lost my sense of humor and that rarely happens. Am I armed? To the teeth and not afraid of using them. Remember, I’m a Texas girl.

  • 1010 Park Place February 10, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    FYI, the craziness continues, and I don’t feel safe. The guy upstairs gets really ramped up about 11:30pm. Last night, the last time I looked at the clock was 12:45 am, and he’s still on the rampage. I’m moving out of here in four days!

  • Alana Mautone April 12, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Just think – you have one heck of a memoir in the making. Keep taking those notes….

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