Downtown Rocks!

The interactions on my "block" are like an episode of Seinfeld---but sometimes even stranger. My block is the second floor of my downtown apartment building where eccentric characters pop in and out of each others apartments without knocking, without saying hello and rarely muttering goodbye.

There's me, the disorganized, pre-occupied, obsessive compulsive TV reporter who works crazy hours. My neighbors believe the sole purpose of my TV appearances is for their amusement...and call me giggling whenever they see me on the air.

We have "Next-door-neighbor Chris". By day, he's a 23-year-old from Dayton who sells advertising for Cincinnati Bell. By night, he's a the lead singer in a band---a band that only performs in his apartment. He pops into my place sometimes to chat...but mostly to harmonize to whatever song is on radio.

Next we have Cooper, the very talented --and flamboyant---interior designer. He pops into my apartment sometimes to chat, but most of the time to throw around words like "wretched," "horrid," and "bizarre." And phrases like "that's about as classy as a warm-up suit." When I'm at his place we drink wine and listen to music---mostly one song whose chorus repeats the phrase "Diamonds are Forever."

We have Maria---the perpetual fashion student---whose been "taking a break" from class at UC for the past 7 years. She pops into my apartment about 7 times a day---sometimes to chat---but mostly to read fashion magazines, teach me to use fake eyelashes and ask "What are you doing?"

And finally we have Pete, a reclusive artist, who instead of a "Welcome" mat has one that reads "Step Off." He never pops into my apartment. Sometimes he'll call and ask to go out for a drink, other times he'll send emails with strange pictures of unidentified people attached. But most of the time, he runs in the opposite direction when he sees me coming down the hall.

That is "My block," and I swear I'm not lying.

--Carolyn Costello