R.I.P. Depresso Man
Back in November, when I updated this blog at a more reliable and regular pace, I talked about some of my neighbors. It turns out that Depresso Man and Gargoyle Guy were, in fact, the same person, and that my instinct that there was something a little off about Depresso Man, mentally, was pretty accurate.
I first noticed something was wrong when the gargoyle wasn't poking out of the open door at night anymore. I hoped that Depresso Man had perhaps realized that having his front door closed and locked was better protection against intruders than a plastic gargoyle head, and thought nothing of it. But then stuff started accumulating in front of the door, like notices from the management about the fifteenth rent increase in the last six months despite the fact that our building is supposed to be rent controlled, and the collection of festive fall gourds that had long since outlived their seasonal decorating purposes. It was becoming increasingly obvious that Depresso Man was no longer leaving his apartment. Optimistically, I hoped that perhaps Depresso Man had adopted a new fitness regimen and was now leaving his apartment via a rope ladder off his balcony. Maybe he was on vacation, and was getting a nice tan on a Carribbean beach. I hoped he would take his motorcycle boots off for that, or else he'd get some weird tanlines. Maybe he was working on a masterpiece of fiction, and needed to hole himself up for a few weeks to get the creative juices flowing.
Evil Roommate and I started becoming really concerned when a foul-smelling cloud began hovering in front of Depresso Man's door, and then expanded to encompass our entire hallway. Admittedly, most of our concern was that passers-by would think we were the culprits of the smell as opposed to concern for Depresso Man's health and well-being, because we're shallow assholes who care more about outward appearances than we do the well-being of others, like everyone else in our peer group. I don't want strangers thinking I live in a trash hole, okay?
And then I came home one day to find Depresso Man's door open and two strange people packing up his possessions. Depresso Man was nowhere to be seen. The people were wearing latex gloves. "Moving out?" I asked the nearest packer. I stood around waiting for a response, but it was not forthcoming.
So I asked the apartment manager about it, because if someone went and died in the apartment across and to the right of mine, I'd like to know about it. The manager said that Depresso Man suffered from "dementia" (I don't think he got the wording right, but you get the picture), and a few of his long-time neighbors would check on him every once in a while to make sure he was all right. They came to the manager saying they were concerned about Depresso Man as he hadn't been around lately, so he had the uneviable task of going up there and opening up the guy's apartment to make sure he was still alive.
Which he was, I'm happy to report. Alive, but not well. His family were called, and they came out and put him in a mental facility, then decided to bring him back to their home state so they could keep a closer eye on him. Those packers were his brother and sister. The unpleasant smell was coming from his fish/turtle tank, which was near the door and had not been taken care of properly in a long time. So something had died, but it wasn't a human.
Over the next few days, boxes upon boxes upon boxes filled with books and DVDs filled the hall. I took a peak into Depresso Man's apartment and it was just filled with stuff. The walls were lined with tall stone statues, crowded together so densely that you couldn't even see the walls behind them. He had so much stuff in his apartment that, despite having already packed four stacks of boxes about six feet high and five deep, the movers hadn't even made a dent. According to the titles in Depresso Man's library, now boxed up and on its way to the nearest Salvation Army, he was a big fan of the medieval science fiction genre, and he had kind of built his own magic castle in that apartment, a safe place to escape to when the real world got too stressful for him to deal with. It must have taken years to accumulate all the stuff that was in there. It took two weeks to move it all out.