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Spring Song

A guitarist lives in my building. He either has recently moved in or built the guts to perform live. Whichever way it is he now sings and strums his guitar in the foyer. Weeks ago I walked by with my headphones and pretended not to notice. Found his music to be plenty good to my ears - though I am no music critic. Must be my regular-fit jeans as well as my regular haircuts.

Again, that was some time ago. It was cold and unpleasant, like every winter in Chicago, and an upbeat tune was a welcome distraction from the dark winter. Now the sun is staying out past four and the guitarist is not as big a deal. With the sun out spirits are generally higher than without. Basically, this person competes with the sun for my gratitude. The sun has been around a lot longer and provides heat, this guy gives me two minutes of Classical Gas as I wait for the elevator. Oddly enough, he is unfazed by my mind's created competition. He is perfectly content playing his guitar and welcoming tenants home from work.

I am fortunate enough to live in an apartment building shaped like a giant horseshoe. I live in apartment 5B (same as Cosmo Kramer) and my view is of 5J or 5K. Never known which because I don't roam that side of the mid-rise. Horseshoe-shaped buildings are terrific conductors for echoes. With my windows open I hear most of everything the neighborhood has to offer: street chatter, general day-drinking debauchery, and sometimes Sunday night karaoke. It is always pleasant to listen to the chirping birds before the Monday morning garbage trucks arrive to thrash trash containers for a half hour.

With the cool breeze flowing through my windows come all the city sounds. A year or so back came an opera singer, or some type of singer, singing octaves. Practice began early mornings. Getting ready for an exhilarating day of work was greeted with these mellifluous octaves. It made mornings a bit more bearable, especially on a Monday, after the trucks left. Looking back, she was my favorite of random neighbors I have heard but never met; oddly enough there are a few of them. I suppose she sang that Siren song.

Some of the other audible-but-not-visible neighbors bring the annual arrival of spring sex sounds. The windows have opened and the exhibitionists can finally display their talents after long months of enclosure. On the couch I will hear the faint sounds of moaning over whatever it is I'm watching. I mute and listen closely. Yes, it's sex. I laugh a little and, with the television muted, go back to watching and waiting for them to finish up. When the tryst is finished the neighbors with windows open offer encouragements, sometimes light mocking, or applause. I'll clap if I think they deserve it. I assume the exhibitionists appreciate the critique, given that they leave their windows open. The echoing sounds of sex don't bother me in the slightest, but I imagine there is someone in this apartment building pretty broken up about it. Sitting there, in loose-fitting sweats, crying into a pint of Ben and Jerry's and watching Lifetime movies wondering if they'll ever find that special person to share exhibitionist sex with.

Seems this year has brought me more music being gifted with a guitarist. He's in the foyer more often and now performs early evening shows with his windows open from his apartment. At first I thought this is really nice. A nice quiet and clear night with some faint guitar playing backup to the sound of the city outside. Makes me feel urban, a real city dweller. I lose myself in thought, about writers writing and painters painting in the city. A passer-by on an evening walk must find the gentle tones of the guitar so soothing. Seemingly coming from nowhere the notes fall down from the sky above. Hearing this while strolling by would be great, but I get this every night. More Classical Gas and Bob Dylan covers coming through the windows with nightly regularity is already beginning to get old. Open up the catalog, fella.

This is the problem with artists. They are perfectionists. Classical Gas until it's mastered and then onto something else; in this case it must be Bob Dylan. Artists for the most part are great. Could live without the attitude from some of them, though.

I have a musical artist in the building and he plays every day for all to hear. If Renoir painted for me every day I would tire of his pictures. Just as Eric Clapton playing for me every day would get old after a while. My neighbor is neither a Renoir or a Clapton, he's just some guy trying to play some music. I like that.

I count myself lucky. At least my neighbor is into guitars and not turntables and dance music or even worse: keyboards and bullhorns. I can mute the city with the windows closed if need be. For the time being, I'll leave the music down, the windows open and the sounds of the city all over.


Comments welcome.


Posted on March 24, 2010

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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