My doorbell doesn’t work and nor does the buzzer. Hasn’t worked for ages, and I like it that way. People ask me how do you….? For a short while my downstairs neighbor was very obliging. But then she went, like so many have gone before, and now I have a downstairs neighbor who won’t open the street door. I don’t know his first name, but I noticed from the mail in his box that he is the owner of a bike delivery service. Maybe he’ll stick around more than five months. But back to the story, some time ago my downstairs neighbor, then a young exuberant Italian woman with a nose ring, buzzed open the street door.
A man stomped up two flights of stairs and started knocking on my door. I heard the knocking, and I asked myself, “Is that someone knocking on my front door?” I happen to live in an area that isn’t really a typical residential area and the residents, the handful of us who are long term, are not out to impress each other. In any way. My area is the kind of area that’s a flow through place. Of course the day I moved in signaled to everyone that artists were and are still a commodity. And most likely this neighborhood will be going upscale, but hopefully not before I hit sixty-five when I will stop singing classical music and merely concentrate on playing my grand piano.
What I learned the day I finally opened my door, after a young man determinedly continued knocking, was that it can take some time before artists get the gentrified groove going someplace. It turns out that Herman Brood once lived in my little studio. A photographer had just written a book about his time following Brood around Amsterdam and wanted to film a little promo piece. The photographer and the reporter were amazed at my little studio, a real artist’s studio! It was like Herman was still in situ! They were glad that the place was still in the hands of a Bohemian. It was karma. Herman had celebrated his honeymoon in my flat back in the 80’s and for years now, I’ve celebrated my divorce in my minuscule apartment. All mine, I don’t have to share space, and the neighbors never last.