Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In my neighborhood there is:

The Gay Alcoholic Singing Neighbor

His house is up the hill from mine. Shortly after I moved in one of my neighbors asked me if I’d heard him singing at night. I hadn’t – so I assumed I just lived too far down the road from him.

I was wrong.

I hadn’t heard him singing, because I’d been on the road so much. Just days after learning about T-GASN (The Gay Alcoholic Singing Neighbor), I heard him for the first time. Mind you, it was in the middle of the afternoon, I was in my room, taking a nap. All of my doors and window were closed, and I had the jazz station lightly playing in the living room. Just beyond the sound of John Coltrane I could hear another song faintly intruding. Intruding enough to wake me up. “Hmmm – is the station fading out”, I wondered?

I rolled out of bed and sauntered to the living room. I reached for the remote, which always lays on the bookshelf, just past the hall door, and changed the channel. Still in the background … I heard the same vocalist. Muting the stereo – it was clear the sound was penetrating my house from outdoors. I opened the front door and was assaulted by “Babs”, aka Barbara. Yep that’s right, Barbara Streisand was coming to the end of “People”. Just as the last notes died away, Judy Garland began, “Over the Rainbow”. I sat on my steps for a few minutes as he ran through his repertoire. His lung capacity was impressive – as he hung onto the long notes. Not to mention his ability to project down the hill, across the neighborhood and through doors and windows. It was … ummm, “charming”. For that one afternoon. It became less charming as it continued on through the afternoon and into the evening. His ability to project never diminished, unfortunately the same can’t be said for his tonal quality.

At the next feed-your-neighbor gathering, the topic of T-GASN came up. I learned his real name, that he came from a prominent family, his brother owned a local restaurant, and that he had pretty much abused away his life. A neighbor who lived directly across from him warned me to never, ever, encourage him. Once, another neighbor was holding a dinner party and T-GASN showed up unannounced, invited himself in, began to mingle with the guests, drink, and behave inappropriately.

Shortly after this revelation I had my first encounter with T-GASN. I’d been out to dinner with friends and had invited them back to sit on the front porch and drink wine. There we were, in the warm summer night, enjoying the stars and conversation, when suddenly, out of the dark, an aria from La Boheme came drifting down the street. Immediately I implored my guests to not cat-call, or make any noise which might attract attention. I should have known any statement like that would be like waving a jack-rabbit in front of a pack of hunting dogs. Instantly the wolf howls and cat calls began. Just as quickly my neighbor appeared, winding his way down the street while crooning, “Singing in the Rain” and drinking beer. Without being asked he tired to join the party on the porch. His first question was, “So, which one of you lives here? I haven’t met my new neighbor yet!” Being a quick thinker, I pushed forward the Outer Banks Engineer and said, “He does!”. It became clear the crooner was going to try and settle in, when he asked for a glass so he could join us enjoying the wine. I demurred and drug the OBE’s (Outer Banks Engineer) brother, Dr. Gas, into the house and implored him to send my neighbor on his way. One little “man-to-man” talk later and T-GASN was on his way. Fortunately for me, he’s never returned – and never questioned why OBE’s car is at the house even less than mine.

Holidays always seem to bring out more performances from T-GASN. Tonight I came home to an off-key version of “What Child is This?”. As I sit here writting this, I can hear, “We Three Kings of Orient Are” over Alton Brown. Joy to the World, T-GASN is serenading us tonight. Let’s hope it isn’t a long performance!


Anonymous said...

Of all the gin joints in all the world...he walks into yours! : )

Mit_Moi said...

Hey, get it right, of the all Scotch joints here in NC, he walks into mine!

Hiya Alacrityfitz! Nice to see you back ;) Hope frankencomputer is behaving for you!

Joe said...

I was in Chicago about 6 months ago visiting a friend in Hyde Park. The weather and his apartment were hot as hell. We were watching a movie in his living room, which fronted the street, and had all the windows open. Suddenly we notice an odd noise being mostly washed out by the movie. We pause the movie, and realize it's someone singing out on the street. We walk to the window; a woman is walking down the sidewalk, belting out opera at a high volume. She was really good. We could hear her all the way down the block. Then she stopped, and my friend and I both spontaneously broke into applause from the window. She turned around, bowed, and said "THANK YOU!" I yelled "NO, THANK YOU!!" It was almost surreal, and very beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mit...Maybe all T-GASN needs is me as his quirky and tone deaf singing partner! I'll swing by your neighborhood, track down T-GASN, and befriend him. Once we get to know each other, perhaps the two of us can become a really weird singing duo, and do a god awful version of Donna Summer's "No More Tears". Hey, at least the neighborhood would get a laugh, right?