The apartments directly above us have always contained an interesting collection of sounds. For example, there is the coincedental pisser. I swear he (or she) leaps up to take a leak every time he (or she) hears the click as I lower the ring. He (or she) is an irregular flusher. Next there is the man who snores like passing traffic. For a time I thought a particular truck kept circling the block after ten p.m. until six a.m. until I realized I heard the truck inhale just before it went by. There was the man with the boots. To someone who grew up around the sound of cowboy boots, the sound was unmistakeable. There was the little dog, who showed me great insight into the character of the Wicked Witch of the West. But the greatest of them all has been the Guitar Player.

He began practicing about six or seven months ago. His practice has been as faithful as his skill is poor. He plays no scales, no warm-up exercises, only fragments of rock songs. He appears to be copying the exact licks he hears from the radio. His special flaw, after lack of creativity, is lack of rhythm. The only time I saw him was about three months ago. I was coming home from work; he was standing on the balcony directly above my door. He was tall, slender, beardless, and blond, his long hair tied in a pony tail. He was handsome, as a rock star should be. He was flinging–at a distance of about twenty feet–small, bright-colored objects into the moutain creek that runs past the apartment complex. Luckily, I didn’t realize what those objects were until I had closed my door behind me.

They were guitar picks.

He has just finished his daily practice now, as I am writing this. He reminds me of myself.