Saturday, November 17, 2001

From about January of 1987 to June of 1989 I lived in a studio apartment in North Hollywood. One "furnished" room with a bathroom and a small kitchen, it was not the smallest apartment I've ever had (that would be in Santa Cruz), but it was the most depressing place I've ever lived.

Tucked into the corner of Sherman Way and the 170 freeway, it was also directly under the flight path into the Burbank/Glendale Airport, not too far to the east. Looking out my window, first time visitors would duck wide-eyed as they saw the approaching planes, afraid they were so low they'd hit the building.

The complex itself was a sea of concrete without so much as a single tree, shrub, or garden, or even two square feet of bare earth in which to plant any of the above. Rising from the concrete were eight identical buildings, each with twenty (or more?) identical apartments, with the same tacky, pressboard furniture with the green naugahide accents.

My upstairs neighbor ran a drug lab. Poorly. Several nights a month there'd be the noises of several people working in the apartment from about 2 to 5 AM which sounded not unlike a bowling alley. Several other nights each month there'd be the sounds of him getting the crap kicked out him and muffled shouts about the location of the money.

About the best thing that could be said about that apartment was that it was within walking distance of the K-Mart and a strip club. But that's a story for another day.

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