A typical day at the Polka Dot pad (PDp)consisted of getting up and watching whatever classic TV was on and cleaning up the beer cans from the night before. Often, there would be cans with beer left in them and we would complain about this for a good long while. In fact, at one point, we started having people put their names on their beers because there was so much waste.
The rule was this: brick a beer and you had to drink when you came over the next time or buy us a twelve-pack. Most people chose the twelve-pack although a few were brave enough to finish their brick. We were usually drinking Milwaukee’s Best in those days, so those were around $3 for a twelve-pack at the near by liquor stores.
After bitching about the half-drunk beers, we would make our way to work. It seemed like we were always scheduled in a wave where we didn’t all come in at the same time. The call center manager was a nice enough lady. Her name is escaping me now, but she liked us and, more importantly, put up with us. It was an okay job and I worked there for the majority of my time living at the PDp.
The name, Polka Dot pad, came from the Pizza Hut delivery call center, actually. At one point, there was a bunch of sound dampening black foam circles in the call center and we grabbed a ton of them and took them home and stuck them to the walls. I wish I had more pictures from those days. It made for an interesting look.
The décor was unlike any other place I have lived. We had a huge bar that was quite heavy and made of some really solid wood. This is where the stereo and turntable were and the crates of our records lived underneath it. It sat where a dining room table would have gone for a “normal” household in a two-bedroom place. There was the couch, of course, which doubled as my bed and I think we had some other chairs, too, and a coffee table.
On the wall, in addition to polka dots, was a painting of the moon called “Lunatic” that Matt’s art teacher had done. It was amazing. One of our favorite pastimes was to drop acid and stare at the paining. One day, in particular, when we were dosed and staring at the painting will always stand out in my memory.
There was a bunch of us there. Matt, Jeff, Andy, myself, Suzi, Markus, Brian, and Suzi’s friend, Sung Hui were all enjoying a nice ride. There was probably even a few other people, too, now that I think of it. Jeff’s mom had come over earlier and brought some groceries, which was very nice and very awkward because we were all on hallucinogens, but then something else kind of strange occurred.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, the apartment complex itself was pretty empty. There were some people closer to 48th Street in one of the buildings but we hardly ever saw them. They were down closer to the laundry room which was by the office that no one was ever at. I think the one month that we paid rent when I lived there, I might have seen someone in there, but that was that.
Because of this, by the way, we stopped paying rent. Andy was planning on moving back to Seattle where his mom lived and Matt was moving back to Chicago where he was from (he was out here in Phoenix going to art school) and Jeff and I were going to get our own place closer to the 24th and Indian School area. So, not paying rent seemed like the thing to do.
The other occupants of the apartments kind of close to us were a bunch of crackheads. We knew they were crackheads because they would occasionally come over and smoke crack with us. I am not proud of this by any stretch of the imagination, but in those days, if someone offered me drugs to smoke, I was not above being a good host and accepting of it. It was the 80s, after all.
Sung Hui was peeling apples and giving us the peeling to eat and it was about the best thing ever. Green apple peel, if cut the right way, is the bomb when you are frying on acid. It just seemed perfect. We were all kind of huddled on the couch and around it, looking at the painting, and having a fun and the door burst open.
An older black woman came into the room. Well, she sort of half popped in and half stumbled in and kind of backed up into a little corner area that was right be the door way.
“Y’all babies have any baking soda?” she said.
We were all wondering if she was real or not, I think, and Matt or someone piped up out and said we didn’t.
By the way, at some point, our door stopped locking. I don’t remember why. There was almost always someone there, so it didn’t seem like a huge deal. I suppose I could have been killed in my sleep, but I don’t remember it bothering me.
“Well,” she said, as she slapped her thighs, “there goes my cookies.” She was gone quickly after that and we all just looked at each other like, “Did that just really happen.”
This instance comes up pretty often when a few of us from those days are together. “There go my cookies” became part of our friendship lexicon. We were convinced that day that she had very recently been pregnant or had possibly still been pregnant with what was a very unhealthy child. Sad, really, but it certainly seemed that way. The eyes will do tricks on you under the influence, though.
In those days, we were often under the influence of something.
See you tomorrow.
If you were there, you know.