You guys don’t understand: I can’t just get a cat. I don’t do cats, Tori doesn’t do cats, and my building only allows one pet per unit. I thought about getting a parrot and a week later they put up a sign saying that no “exotic” pets are allowed. Would a parrot be considered “exotic?” When I was little, we had a pet parrot in Brasil. He just flew to our mango tree one day and we fed him… He decided to stick around. The little bastard would curl his head down as we petted his neck, then all of a sudden raise it back up, pecking our fingers really hard. Fucking bipolar parrot just flew away forever one day.
Parrots live absurdly long lives and I think that’s awesome. I’d love to be 50 years old, living with the parrot I got when I was 20-something. I’d teach it useful words such as “porra,” “foda-se,” “alô?” and “tchau!” I might even have it record my voicemail message.
But I can’t have a parrot. That’s OK, though, because I really love where I live. I lived in the area five years ago but had to move out because I became temporarily unemployed and nearly hopeless. And five years later, I’m back. I fucking love Ringer Park. It’s so very close to me that I walk my dog there every morning and evening. I let her off leash and she rolls around in dirt, squeaking like a broken toy, big smile on her face. We walk around the dirty panties, the queen-sized mattress, the half-eaten $5 Market Basket lobster, torn T-shirts, used tampons, empty fireworks cartons, and broken glass, and head to the open grassy area atop a hill, where I can stare at little children in the playground. The boys are fun to watch; they are restless; throwing shit at each other, running, climbing on shit, jumping from shit. The girls, on the hill ahead of Tori and me, stand around, playing with their hair, raising their hands to ask the game coordinator questions. While Tori eats grass, or rolls around on it, or poops.
As I walk back home through the park, I get whistled at by guys playing basketball, say ‘hi’ to an elderly lady keeping company to an even older lady who doesn’t seem able to move, or speak, or maybe even see. They sit there in silence, enjoying the early Fall breeze. Back on the wide sidewalk, Russian grandmas stand around, gossiping about other Russian grandmas’ children, some locals congregate in front of the package store, and the T attempts to deafen me once again with its screechiness. I really like my neighborhood. I really like hopping on the T and coming to this bookstore/coffee shop, sitting at the bar, having cup after cup of coffee, and abundant amounts of melted Havarti and avocado on a deliciously baked, perfectly toasted, thick slice of rye bread. And some chips. And more coffee. And I sit here and look at people around me. I am, of course, quite content in my current state; a result of learning how to roll my own cigarettes. Well, I didn’t so much learn how to do it, as I bought an easy roller and it does the work for me. But, you know, the end result is the same.
So that’s it. I love where I live, I don’t want to move, and I’d sooner chop off my left middle finger than get rid of Tori, so no cats for me. But I am determined to conquer the motherfucking mice. Every day I’ve forced myself to google images for “dead rat” and have written a letter to distribute to building residents, urging them to have their individual units exterminated, or face the consequences of a mice infestation this winter, as the creatures use our cabinets and walls as conjugal rooms. I will win. The mice will die.