I needed a place to live and I liked music. The ad made me curious so I decided to call. The voice on the other end of the line was male, and he delivered his words in a controlled monotone.
“The unit you’re asking about is a ground floor studio. I’m sure you want to know about the music part.”
He hesitated slightly and then began again, “There’s going to be some noise. We teach organ music in the room next to the apartment, usually from about eight in the morning until noon. The sound can be gawdawful! You might want to consider whether the music would be bothersome to you during those hours. We teach five days a week, Monday through Friday.”
I was separated from my wife and living at the ‘Y’. My work as a sales rep kept me busy afternoons and evenings until about nine. I liked spending time in one bar or another after the grind of the day was over. The hours ‘Mr. Monotone’ was saying would be filled with music students trying to find the right notes, would be the same final three or four hours of my sleep regimen. It couldn’t be any worse than the ‘Y” and as the ad promised, the price was reasonable, only two seventy- five a month.
I was interested. I could tolerate the music, get earplugs or something. If there was such a thing as the perfect apartment, I knew I wasn’t going to find it for two seventy-five a month. Money was tight. I was still paying most of my wife’s expenses and if I could judge by her attitude the last time we talked that wasn’t going to change for awhile.
“I’d like to see it. Where is it located?”
He gave me the address. The apartment was just three blocks off Westlake on Harrison. Easy access to the freeway and my favorite watering holes north of downtown.
“The studio is the only apartment in the building,” he added. “There are no other tenants, excepting myself of course. I live on the floor above the apartment and the teaching room.”
He hesitated once again. “There is one other thing.”
“What’s that”, I asked, afraid that this ‘one thing’ was going to sour the deal and I would end up spending more nights at the Y.
“If you take the apartment, you’ll have to share the bathroom.”
“And who would I be sharing it with?”
“Mostly the organ students that I teach. I have about forty of them throughout the week. My name is Philip Wakes. You may have heard my name before. I perform on television frequently and I also do some small concerts and benefits locally.” He departed from his monotone for the first time as he said this, his words kind of trailing off at the end.
I had heard of Philip Wakes. Not a lot but I knew that a couple of decades ago, he had been sort of a musical child prodigy. That was all I knew about him.
“Can I come by and take a look at it today?”
“Certainly. I’m going to be here all day. You can come now, if you like. Just come up the stairs at the side of the building and ring the bell.”
On the drive toward Harrison Street, I mulled over the limited information I had gleaned from the conversation. The noise would be a negative but I was sure I could overcome that problem. Sharing the bathroom might be a little tricky. I would have to wait and see how that was going to play out. The location was an unexpected pleasant surprise. The apartment was located no more than ten minutes from my office and I noticed as I approached 812 Harrison, there were no parking meters or hourly restrictions even though it was fairly close to the density of the city. The positives certainly outweighed the negatives.