Monday, May 10, 2010

Keep the Change

There are times when a person has to indulge themselves despite the circumstances in their lives (i.e. criminal strange criminal downstairs tenants).

I’m not going to let them dictate my life. I’m not going to be afraid to leave my place.

Letting a person think they have an undeserved claim to someone’s existence gives that person authority over them. Influence. Power.

I’m not giving them that. I contacted the police, giving all the information I have. When someone tries to scare frighten annoy anger piss me off, I push back. I’m not sure the police will do anything, but at least there’s a record of it. Perhaps they will make more patrols, keeping an extra eye on the building.

I have a life. I’m going to live that life. My job training ended the last week of April. I’ve been officially “back to work” since the beginning of May. I make my own hours, whenever I want, and turn in my time sheets whenever I meet my boss down at the local café. When I’m not “clocking the hour,” I write. When I’m not writing, I sleep and shower. That’s my life. Every day. I fit in eating when I write. Every hour involves work. I don’t mind, since some of that work is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I get paid for both. Despite my asshat asshat asshat neighbors, life is good.

After my “meeting” with the boss, I got in some power-walking with a few friends. I’ve never done such before, always scrunching my face in a type of disgusted wonderment whenever I see someone jogging/walking along the street. I say "disgust" more towards myself, since I know I need the exercise and could be doing such too. It’s a touch of exercise guilt, the angel on my shoulder dressed in a tee shirt, baggy shorts, and grungy sneakers urging me to get my body fit. I usually flick the little bugger off, instead listening to the fat red fellow with the horns sitting on the opposite shoulder, Pringles chips dusting cheeks, feet propped up on the ottoman, chugging a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper and belching loudly.

I don’t know where that little fellow was when I was asked to go walking. I think maybe the little imp hopped off my shoulder when I entered the café and leaned against the muffin display case, drooling against the glass.

So I wore my sweats and headed out. We walked four miles, passing by a certain house as I sit here cussing myself out for not taking a picture of it. It’s a special place, especially to a very good friend of mine who has written numerous stories about it. Perhaps if I go walking again, I’ll snap a photo of the house for him.

I headed back to my place and relaxed, deciding to put in my “hours” later in the week. Tonight is Writing Night! I get paid for my other job on Wednesday. I need to submit my articles in by that day to get paid for them by Friday. Cashing two paychecks in one week (every week) gives me a giddy feeling.

Anyway, my funds were a little low, at least for cash I had saved up. But I wanted to just enjoy myself tonight. So I ordered Thai food from the Thai Cuisine Restaurant located next door. And I do mean next door - I can hear the cooks fixing food on the other side of the wall in the stairwell. Yup. I smell Thai food in my apartment every day, and it makes me hungry for it.

I felt daring. I ordered food I’ve never tried before. I trust the restaurant. It’s filled past capacity every night it is opened, the waiting customers sitting on chairs outside for an available table. Even the COPS meet there leaving the police dogs gazing hungrily at the pedestrians in the back of squad cars.

This is Chicken Satae - marinated grilled chicken served with cucumber sauce and peanut sauce. The cucumber sauce has small pieces of cucumber and onion in it. The flavor is tangy, sweet, and all around delicious. I almost felt like drinking it like a vodka shot. The peanut sauce reminded me of runny peanut butter, but in a good way. You could definitely taste the peanuts, but it wasn’t overpowering. I dipped the chicken (wow, so delicious) into both sauces: one and then the other and sometimes both on one piece (note to self: always dip into peanut sauce before AFTER cucumber sauce - works less well the other way). Too bad the cooks only gave me four chicken skewers. I could eat it as a meal.

I also had Chicken Pad See-ew - wide rice noodles with broccoli, carrots, egg and sweet black bean sauce. Honestly, I don’t know where the egg was. But there was enough chicken there to keep me satisfied. The look of it is a weird type of brown. Yet what are looks when there is taste.


I began scarfing it down, my eyes straying over to the two leftover sauces from the Chicken Satae. Isn’t it always like that? You run out of food before you run out of sauce. I-I-I had to do it. My big fat red imp on my shoulder was begging me to do it.

I dipped the Pad See-ew into the sauces. There wasn’t any “Ew” to be found. Both worked out well.

Yet with all this talk about food, I haven’t gotten to the gist of the title to the post. When I picked up my order, it came out to a whopping $19.15. Expensive, considering of what few items I ordered. But the food . . . it’s paradise for the price that I indulge in once a month.

Anyway, I handed the Asian woman a $20. As she got ready to go over to the cash register, holding the bill with reverence like it was a tiny frail baby, I told her to, “Keep the change.”

She hopped in place with excitement. I’m not lying. She literally made a small hop on feet, her entire body bouncing upward in place. For 85 cents, the biggest grin erupted on her oval face. She thanked me profusely, nodding her head as Eastern people do in the sign of friendship/happiness/greeting/whatever other feel-good way. I nodded my head back. She said, in her Asian accent, “Have A Goooood Daaaay!”

Yes, I certainly will. I don’t plan on letting anyone stop me from that.


  1. Michelle...I wasn't aware of the tenant problem (I clicked on the link and read the blog that I had missed)...and I was frightened at what I read. I am so glad that you contacted the police. I would have been so frightened that night, Michelle if I had been you. It sounds like the tenants are ' a brick short of a load'...and you don't need to delay reporting anything you see/hear them saying. I'm glad that you did...but I am still worried.
    You have spunk, girl! I smile (through the worry lines that are furrowing my brow)...but I did smile when I read that you put a note on your door to him. But, Michelle, first of all, he sounds too stoooopid to be able to read, so I think that you are blessed that someone probably read the note to him. I smile again. YOU GO GIRL!...but...please, take care of yourself. There are too many mean people in this world... Take no chances with these idiots. Take care of yourself, my friend....puhleeeze!

  2. Michelle, we're glad to see that you reported it to the police and it's now on record. You've got the right attitude in not letting them try to influence and dictate your life. Stay safe my friend.

  3. First of all, YOU GO GIRL for not letting those assholes scare you. They will get what's coming to them eventually. And that's so cool that you made that woman really happy over 85 cents.

  4. Great post, Michelle! And please DO take care. You have many faithful readers out here who care deeply about you.

  5. A take away treat seems a good way to make up for nasty neighbours, especially when it ends up making somebody else jump for joy!

  6. These neighbors are a few bricks shy, and then some. I'm tape recording them now, and letting a friend hold on to the tapes. From what I'm hearing, these people will go so far as pretending to work on their car and shooting people that they don't like. Really nutso!

    Thanks for your concerns, my friends. I'm still stunned the waitress was so happy over 85 cents. I mean, sure, times are rough with the economy, but this restaurant is super busy. What I gave her was (literally) chunk change from what she must make every night.

  7. Thanks for the link love, My Darker Gray Friend! And good on you for informing the police about what's going on.

    Mmmmmmmmmm. Chicken Satay with peanut sauce! One of my favorites!

  8. It sounds like things are looking up! That was nice of you to give the woman a tip! People love stuff like that, even if it's only 85 cents.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I live - no I do not live, I LOVE Thai food (and I had to fix that, hence the deleted comment) .. never heard of Chicken Pad See-ew .. I have had Pad Thai .. AND I am very glad you reported those asshats to the police.

  11. Glad you decided to call the police, Michelle. Better safe than sorry, even if they do very little. And thanks for making me very hungry. With no Thai food anywhere nearby my work. Sigh.

  12. Holy sh*t. Not sure how I missed that post about your neighboors. I'm glad you went to the police! Good idea recording their conversations too.

    Might take it a step further, get a webcam and microphone, post their conversations on youtube.

    We had some rowdy neighboors some years back, I remember someone calling the police on them, but nothing happened. That person called the police the next night, said "I'm really afraid, they're awful loud, lots of threats and fighting" and then light a couple fire crackers next to the phone and let them do their thing. "Oh my god, what was that!?!" and then they hung up.

    Cops were there in about five minutes later.

    Talk to the landlord, see if he'd let you get a dog. Or an alligator.

  13. I'm glad you called the police!

    And the satay (my fave) looks yummmmmy!

  14. Oh,my, Michelle: once again you delight me with your writer-ly view of The World, and especially in this case, of Thai Food (remind me to tell you a funny Suldog story about this). As always I'm grateful for company here in BlogLand and humbled by your constantly-growing writer's voice.
    Love, love.

  15. I love Thai food. I was a regular customer at Bangkok City in New London, CT and I ate Thai regularly in Boston (Wonder Spice, Montien, mmmm...). Good, clean food for the soul and the belly. I haven't tried any in New Orleans yet. There are so many other local, quirky options I haven't got a hankering yet.

    You're lucky to live next to a Thai kitchen. It may make you hungry all the time but there are many worse things to smell.

  16. Glad you notified the police and started taping the assholes.
    At least you've made a friend on another side of your wall.

  17. Michelle,

    You are such an incredible make me smile continually with your witty words...your vivid description and images! I just LOVE your style! All of it! And yummmm!!! I want to join you for Thai food some night!!! So glad you contacted the police! Stay safe. Love you, Janine XO

  18. I'm also glad you went to the police. They really sounds nuts. Especially if there are police stopping in at the Thai place next door.

    I'm glad things are coming along with your job!

  19. i know my reading of the posts i am catching up on is all out of order but let me say i am glad for any happiness that comes your way, whether it is awesome thai food or a delighted proprietor whose smile makes your day.

    apparently happiness costs 85 cents :)


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