Punch Drunk: Jack's Good Neighbors 

Any street in the Fan has its quirks, but vomit is where he draws the line.


A big, chunky pile of vomit awaited us at the base of our porch stairs when we returned from our long weekend out of town. This was the sixth such vomit puddle I’ve found near or on our concrete steps since we moved into our house in the Fan almost two years ago.

You see, we live two doors down — or about 20 feet — from a beloved Fan watering hole. A place where people have been eating and drinking for much longer than I’ve even been alive. Indeed, my girlfriend and I are frequent belovers of said bar. Let’s just say it rhymes with Lamb-foo. Said bar is open and packed until 2 a.m. nightly, with many of its adherents gathering out front to smoke cigarettes from 11 a.m. to about 2:30 a.m. every single day. I’ve been one of those adherents, so I’m not complaining. The frequent shouting and laughing out front, almost directly underneath our bedroom window, is nothing a loud window air conditioner can’t drown out. And again, at times, my friends and I have been louder, even later at night. Enthusiastic nightlife is not frowned upon by me. Living next to a raucous, but friendly neighborhood bar has been for the most part, an absolute pleasure.

But the vomit.

Now I’m not blaming Lamb-foo for it. There are nine bars within three blocks of our house. Drunks abound. And I think we’ve all, at some point in our lives, vomited outside of a bar. I get that.

OK, maybe not all of us have done that.

Here’s my problem: Who stumbles over to someone’s porch and loses it on the steps? I understand that your head is spinning and that the location of your regurgitation is the last thing on your mind, but don’t you at least have a sense of where you are?

Our dog certainly doesn’t mind this triannual treat. And although we frown upon its eating someone else’s stomach contents, we do let it eat dirt at Barker Field. Dirt with any number of other dogs’ bacteria is fine for our puppy. A half-digested pile of lasagna, though? Nope!

Aside from the bars, our street is rather eclectic. Yeah, we’ll say it’s eclectic. There never seems to be a shortage of random older men just sort of sitting on the curb. I’m not sure if these men are homeless, but they certainly don’t have a home on our street. There’s also a bodega a block away. It’s one of the Fan’s only authentic bodegas — it sells everything: milk, beer, fidget spinners, laundry detergent and prepaid phone cards. It also occasionally sells chicken wings. I know when that happens because our sidewalks become littered with chicken bones, which our dog will try to eat if we’re not vigilant. Style’s cartoonist Doug Orleski has launched a crusade to end the plague of sidewalk poultry remains.

In addition to the bars and the bodega, there’s a long, low-slung brick building covered in graffiti. There are people in this odd building at all hours, but it’s not a home. I think it’s a garage. It also could be something less savory. A lot less savory. The curb guys tend to congregate around this building.

Somehow this all adds up to a wonderful street to live on. We don’t really have any problems with crime. As in much of the Fan, parking can be a pain in the ass during peak bar hours, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s a minor complaint.

Again though, the vomit.

I’ll tolerate the random street guys. I’ll tolerate the occasional drunken reveler shouting at the top of his or her lungs at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday. I’ll tolerate sidewalk chicken bones that could conceivably kill my dog — but seriously, why do people just drop their chicken bones on the ground instead of finding a trash can? — I’ll even tolerate whatever nefarious or non-nefarious deeds are happening in that weird building 100 yards from our house.

But vomit near my domicile? Somewhere you have to draw the line. I say this knowing full well that I will vomit outside of a bar again at least once before I die. But like any civilized adult, I will find a bush, or a curb or an alley.

We live in a society here, people! S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.



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