Winter Is An Asshole

If anyone is in the King William neighborhood tomorrow late afternoon, stop by Tito's Tacos.  Local filmmaker AJ Garces (apparently chagrined to have missed my birthday lunch last week) is wanting an opportunity to hang out with groovy people over a plate of enchiladas.  I know, I know.  Many of you work “real” jobs.  But try to make it out.  Or if you want to come, but are afraid you'll be late, call me, and I'll let you know if we're still encamped.  And when I say “tomorrow,” I mean Friday, Feb. 16th.

210-482-0273.  That is me.  If you read this silly blog, I'd love you to show.  Don't be shy.  We're just eatin' and talkin'.

I am able to enjoy a leisurely late lunch / early dinner (we need a PM version of brunch, I'm thinking), because my project with the Company ended tonight.  Those bastards hinted at a two week assignment.  And because I contacted them too late to get the plum daytime shift, I got stuck with the night shift.  The best I can hope for at night is 4.5 hours.  But because of technical problems, we had not enough work to keep us busy on ANY night.  The first two nights were training sessions, so I can expect a full shift payment.  But that's it.  And with just a measly hour last Friday, and no work at all Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday nights of this week, I'm not going to get much more out of a fortnight's worth of work than the amount of my admittedly delinquent CPS (gas/electric) bill.  Oh, don't worry, there's undoubtedly enough left over to cover the enchiladas tejanos plate at Tito's Tacos.  But, mercy!

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Winter won't leave.  Why won't winter leave?  I've been dropping hints all over the place.  I've made enough snide comments, I thought were loud enough: “The biggest asshole of all the seasons;” “At the party last night I was trying to chat up Spring, but you-know-who staggered up and puked on my fucking shoes — what a disgrace.”

I was huddled in my tiny office off the kitchen, where I had the oven broiling its little heart out with the oven door open.  Two range top burners on high.  I was doing a bit of work for PrimaDonna Productions, digitizing some analog video tape.  My computer was doing most of the work.  And as I contemplated loading my espresso machine up for the second latte of the day, I heard a car roll up to the curb in front of my house.

I did a Gladys Kravitz out the window over my kitchen sink.  I watched Alejandro getting out of a small nondescript car.  There was someone I didn't recognize in the passenger seat.

As I was putting on some pants, I could hear Alex clumping up my wooden steps.  He hammered on my door as inelegantly as he did back when he was my neighbor.

“Erik!  It's Alex.”

When I opened up, I was glad to see he was looking well.

After the preliminaries of men who haven't seen each other in nine months (a protracted ritual of maybe a minute and a half), I asked if he was still living in his apartment on the westside.

“No, I'm living in Mexico.”  Before I could convey my surprise, he added:  “But I'm still renting that apartment.”

“So,” I asked, a bit confused.  “Where in Mexico?”

“Guanajuato.”

Sweet, I thought.  This is one beautiful town.  Now I have someone I can leech off of on my next trip into the colonial interior.

“Wow,” I said.  “That's an incredible town.”

“What?”

“Guanajuato.  I was there over the sumer.”

“No, I'm in Leon.”

This is something I need to learn.  Many Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans with family down south, tend to speak first of their homes not by the city name, but by the state.  Like I would tell people I'm from Texas, perhaps, before specifying San Antonio.  So, Alex was living in the state of Guanajuato (GTO being the dynamic abbreviation), and the city of Leon.

“Oh….”  I muttered, trying to hide my disappointment — Leon is a major city, the industrial hub of the state of Guanajuato, and not the hipster artsy college town of Guanajuato.

“It's great.  I'm taking some art classes and having a great time in Leon.”

He had come by not just to reconnect, but to offer me a proposition.  He wanted to keep his apartment here in San Antonio; but because he was here so infrequently, he wanted to sub-lease it out.  We were talking about a rent for me that would be half of what I'm currently paying.  That alone interested me. My finances are stretched so fucking thin, that even Alex's place seemed enticing.  I'll hook up with him in the next few days to go and see how he's fixed up the place.

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A year and a half back, I looked at the place with Alex.  He had already moved from my three-plex into a place over in the Lavaca neighborhood.  His wife was back in Mexico, looking after an ill parent.  He wanted something cheap and interesting.

We met at this two story building on the boundary between a residential neighborhood and a light-industrial region.  The railroad tracks ran alongside the building.  The ground floor was a defunct beer joint.

“You gotta see this,” Alex cried, dragging me from my truck.  He led me to the front of the building.  We peered into the bar.  It still had all the fixtures.  I was already thinking of how to use it was a location for a film.

“The owner is out of town, or else I'd get him to give us a tour of the bar.”  He grabbed my shoulder.  “Let's go upstairs.”

We walked around to the back of the building.  There was a steep metal staircase, as we walked up, I felt like I was walking up to the pilot's deck in a boat.

Upstairs there was a corridor running the length of the building.

“I'm going to put a lock on that door,” Alex said, motioning to the door we'd just pushed through.

“There are two apartments here,” he added.  “All the doors on this side,” he said, motioning to the right, “belong to these illegals from Guatemala.  I think there's five of them.”  Alex began hammering on the Guatemalans doors as we walked down the corridor.  “See?  They've always working.  It's peaceful as hell here.”

At the end of the corridor, we pushed our way through a door onto a rickety balcony.

“This is great.  I can sit out here, drink my morning coffee, and make sketches of downtown San Antonio.”

He was right.  It was a great view.  I was starting to get intrigued.

We reentered the corridor.  Alex pushed his way into the apartment he wanted to rent.  It was basically one long shot of rooms.  Room, bathroom, kitchen, room.

I must admit I was a bit envious.  It was cheap, gritty, and groovy in a very low-rent kind of way.

As I recall, I described it to people at the time as “this really cool shit-hole over on the westside.”

So, what I'm trying to say is, I might be moving.  Maybe a mile and a half distant, but a world away.  Maybe this would be a good idea.  I'm getting massively bored and complacent in this shit-hole.

I'll just have to see how this all works out.

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