Wednesday, September 5, 2012
D-Place...How It All Began
I have to admit, my wife and I were pretty naive when we moved from Brooklyn, NY to Miami, FL. More specifically, Little Haiti. The apartment complex we moved into was advertised as a hip, modern living environment with a younger crowd of tenants. It even had a workout center, a pool, a jacuzzi and gated security. I guess it actually takes living in South Florida to learn that nothing is as it seems and no one is to be trusted.
I remember our first morning living at D-Place. Strangely, I heard roosters cockle-doodle-doo-ing in the distance. We woke up to the news that Bush had declared war on Iraq. I should have seen this as an omen. I was in good spirits though, and in my NY mentality told my wife I was going to venture out into our new surroundings to find myself a nice cup of coffee. As I began to walk out of the complex and head towards some semblance of commerce, I began to see the reality of my surroundings. There was a run-down neighborhood across the street. Streetlights were smashed, the yards were peppered with garbage, and people were wandering here and there like zombies. As I continued to walk I saw what appeared to be a bloody chicken nailed to a front door. Later I would find out this was a religious practice for Santeria...a form of voodoo that is popular down here in the South Gates Of Hell. I kept walking, circling our gated community. Everything was locked up tight and my dreams of finding a cafe were quickly fading away. As I turned the final corner to head back to our new apartment, I saw a Burger King in the distance. I loathe mainstream fast food restaurants, but I was desperate, irritated and hot under the tropical sun. I ordered my coffee and they handed me my cup, pointing me towards the serve yourself area. I pulled down the tapper and filled up my coffee, grabbed a couple packets of sugar, and walked out the door for home. I noticed what I thought were coffee grounds floating at the top. In further investigation I realized they were really ants. Disgusted, I poured out my cup and went home pissed.
My wife was putting things away and saw what she thought was a battery on the ground. When she went to reach for it, it moved and she screamed. It was our first palmetto bug. I have never seen roaches as big as these, and their secret weapon?.. They fly!! Oh!..and they're indestructible! I grabbed a broom and hit the fucker as hard as I could. He ran for the doorway and I followed, beating the shit out of him with the broom. He continued down the outdoor stairs and onto the sidewalk. I actually broke the broom in half during the beat-down, and he walked off into the grass with but a limp.
During the next three months, we were disturbed by loud techno parties going on out our bedroom window in the middle of the courtyard. The cops were called, but after they left the parties continued to rage on. We had a crackhead downstairs neighbor who would knock on our door at all hours of the night asking for money. One time there was a loud rap on our door. It was around 11:00 pm, I tip-toed to the front door, got on my hands and knees, and peeked through the crack near the floor. I could see his feet and 4 other menacing strangers looming around the edges of my vision. I crept back to bed and my wife and I pretended nobody was home, hoping not to be murdered in our sleep.
One morning I headed over to the workout center. I crossed the courtyard, walking past the swimming area and there in the jacuzzi was a topless female, scrubbing her vagina. There actually were quite a few sightings of prostitutes walking around the neighboring streets topless. This one obviously had no problem getting past the gated security to douche in the hot tub. I really never had a taste for hot tubs ever again.
We started hearing noises in the night. Pigeons had begun to roost in the gutters outside our bedroom window. One evening, in the dead of the night, we heard a thud followed by scurrying across the carpet in our bedroom. It came from my wife's closet. We both sat there frozen on top of our bed. I had to yell at myself to muster up the courage to get to the light switch and investigate what the hell just happened. We never found the culprit. I believe it to be the Chupacabra.
We also started seeing mass quantities of these little leaves on our window sills. Upon further investigation, they were actually termite wings. We were infested, but yet to find out the severity. One evening, we saw a few flying bugs fluttering around the living room. I had never seen a termite before, so I thought they were moths or flying ants. All of a sudden there were dozens and dozens coming out of the baseboards in various parts of the apartment. They were everywhere. I've never experienced anything like it. It was like a snowstorm, but with bugs... A swarmstorm.
Management denied the problem and attempted to solve it by sending one of their pest control cronies. He spoke no English and carried around a tank of poison, walking around the apartment squirting it randomly. It may as well have been a squirt of piss on a raging inferno. It was now normal for us to wake up to the flying, wiggling bastards in our hair, on our pillows, on our toothbrushes... They were inescapable. Even in sleep, I dreamed of the flying little fuckers. I found myself consumed with hatred for them. I was losing my mind and turning sadistic, catching them and ripping off their wings, verbally damning them to Hell as I crushed them slowly between my fingers. One evening we were eating pizza for dinner and had to have plastic wrap covering it because otherwise the dumb insects would just kamikaze into it. I walked around the apartment with an aerosol can and a lighter. With my makeshift blowtorch, I scorched them in dozens with a demented smile across my face...but they kept coming. Feeling defeated, an emotional numbness was over us like a wet blanket. We decided we couldn't take it anymore, that we were leaving. They tried to say we were breaking our lease, we threatened to call the local news help-me-howard character, and in the end we escaped in the night never to return to D place again. But I'd soon learn that termites weren't the ONLY vermin in South Florida...