On Stuff

The word stuff is often loathed.

After all the word has come to be a throw away. Stuff can be on the floor, in the fridge or in the drain of your shower.

You might need to pick stuff up at the post office or at the store.

Stuff can even be something you are doing.

Stuff is loathed because it usually is a way of being vague.

I once new a man who went by the moniker “Stuff.” I never knew his real name or if in fact Stuff was a given name by parents with a sick sense of humor.

Stuff lived in my building while I was going to school and didn’t have funds to live in a safe place. The neighborhood I lived in wasn’t necessarily rough but not smooth. My husband then boyfriend got mugged outside our building once. And one night police with a taser took down all a crazy person with wielding a machete. All the residents of my building watched from the safety of our lobby in mouth open amazement But aside from these isolated incidents there wasn’t much excitement. It was just a low income neighborhood made up of poor 20 somethings and large Hispanic families. Stuff fell into neither of these categories. He was a tall man, seemingly a little older than me. He was intelligent though appeared to have no day job as he was often home in the middle of the day. He would sit on the stoop of our building with a portable DVD player watching movies. We often saw him squire in people of every ethnicity and age to his first floor apartment. We suspected he was either a gigolo of a drug dealer. But he was our favorite neighbor as he was quiet, kind and clean unlike some of the others in the building.

Stuff would always say hello to us. He would clap my husband on the back or speak to us in hushed tones about the other people in the building who were ruining the place. Mostly referring to the glut of music school students that suddenly appeared in our building. They turned it into a bad version of Fame, playing poor renditions of songs we knew at 3 a.m. and singing too early in the morning.

Toward the end of our tenure in the neighborhood, Stuff disappeared. He likely moved out while we were both gone one day. And no forwarding address was left. We were a little sad that we didn’t get to say good bye or find out where he would go next. Not that we were likely to keep in touch. But that is the way with all “stuff” including the human Stuff, it just fades away.

We could never look him up on the Internet like you would other long lost friends. Too broad, too vague. But definitely not loathed.

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