Livin’ in the PJ’s…

For a couple of years during college, I lived in a federally funded housing complex, or, as you may know them better as, “The Projects.”

At the time, these particular projects weren’t so bad, as far as projects go. The complex was within walking distance of school and my rent was, well, the government sent me a check for $32 every month. Hello beer money!

There was an approval process to go through to qualify for an apartment at this place, but since I only worked during the summer my freshman year in college, my income was plenty low to qualify.

I applied during my freshman year but didn’t hear anything until before my junior year of college. By that time, I’d completely forgotten that I’d even applied.

The woman who called me on the phone to tell me I was approved and that my application would need to be updated and processed, I’m pretty sure her name was Crystal, had the goddamndest sexiest voice I’d ever heard over a telephone!

I mean this woman could have told me that she had to put me on hold to change tampons while taking a dump and picking her nose and I’d still have been aroused out of my mind.

I used to call her willy nilly just to hear her talk.

Ring ring:

Crystal answers phone and says sexily, “Hello, Suchandsuch Property Management, this is Crystal.”

“Hi, it’s Don, am I still approved?”

“Yes, Don, I’ll call you when your paperwork has been processed.”

“Ok, um, Hey Crystal?”


“Uh, nevermind.”


Four minutes later:

Ring ring:

Crystal answers phone and says sexily, “Hello, Suchandsuch Property Management, this is Crystal.”

“Hi, it’s Don, am I still approved?”

“Yes, Don, I’ll call you when your paperwork has been processed, I promise.”

“Ok, um, Hey Crystal?”


“Uh, nevermind.”


Four minutes later:

Ring ring:

Crystal answers phone and says sexily, “Hello, Suchandsuch Property Management, this is Crystal”

“Hi, it’s Don again, I’m still approved, right?”

“Yes, Don, I’ll call you when your paperwork has been processed; please stop calling!”

“Ok, um, Hey Crystal?”


“Uh, nevermind.”


Four minutes later….well, you get the idea.

When my paperwork was finally processed, I had to go Suchandsuch Property Management to fill out some paperwork with Crystal! Yay, I was aroused in my pantaloons at the thought of meeting this woman.

I fought off the urge to purchase a bouquet of roses for my sexy voiced property management lady friend (I was poor, after all) and arrived at her office eager to put a face to the sexy voice.

I was greeted at the door by a behemoth of a woman whose name tag read Crystal.

How interesting, I thought to myself, two Crystals working at the same small office. This Crystal was a large, older woman (at that time, 30 was old to me, so she might have only been in her 30s) whose hygiene was less than exemplary. I distinctly recall her having to wipe crumbs from her lap and chest after she hoisted her big ass from her chair to come shake my hand.

When she said “Hi, Don, I’m Crystal” in her sexy phone voice, my arousal soon dissipated and I’m pretty sure my wiener tried crawling up into my body in fear and shame.

The sexy phone voice and the Honey Boo Boo mom looking woman in front of me just didn’t synch. My brain couldn’t process what was going on. It was like a bait and switch trick used by retailers.

Shame on you for not looking like you sound, Crystal!

Anyway, she got me hooked up with my new apartment and I was off to be a project dweller!

Luckily for me, the cable was hooked up when I moved in for some reason, because there’d have been no way I could have afforded it otherwise. As a bonus, after 11pm, the preview channel turned into some soft core porn station! Hello!! I was afraid to turn it off or change the channel the first time I noticed it for fear that it’d be lost forever (remember, this is before internet porn was ubiquitous).

In spite of the fact that the government sent me a check to live in this apartment, there were many, many weeks when I didn’t have any electricity or heat. Between soccer and school, I didn’t have much time to work, and what little money I did have had to be spent mainly on beer and food. Quite frankly, it didn’t bother me to sit in the dark from time to time, even if it made doing my homework a bitch (God bless you Abe Lincoln, you’re a better man than I to study by candle light). Besides, the dorms, where I still had lots of friends, were only a short walk away.

I was only burglarized once.

I came home late after work one night and noticed the front door unlocked and some things not where I thought I’d left them. I would say that it was ransacked, but I was a straight, single man living by myself so it was pre-ransacked.

When I noticed a window to my bedroom was broken and the screen cut, I called the local small town police department to report my victimization.

The crackerjack cop looked around, picked up a cigarette from my bedroom window sill and asked me if I had any friends who smoked Newports.

When I told him I didn’t, he informed me that a black person committed this crime.

Apparently, black people are the only folks smoking Newports.

Satisfied that he had narrowed the suspects down as far as could be expected, he told me there was no way to know who did it for sure (other than a black dude I guess) and so he didn’t take any of my information or even write a police report.

I didn’t realize what a putz this cop was until I later became one myself. He was just shit canning having to do a small amount of work.

While I didn’t have much, whoever came into my place that night did steal my class ring and my state soccer championship pendant that was one of my pride and joys. I still hold out hope that there will be a reunion for my jewelry and I decades later that you can read about on or something.

After about a year of living there, the projects got to be more and more as you’d expect the projects to be. There were a couple of violent crimes in the lot, more burglaries of other units and a general deterioration in the quality of neighbors overall.

I bought a Jeep Wrangler a few months before I graduated from college, expecting that I could make payments with my part time income long enough to get to a real post school job.

I parked my Jeep one night, fairly late, and as I was getting out, a little black girl who should have been in bed by now, walked over to me and asked me if the plastic windows on my Jeep were bullet proof!

What a strange question for a girl no more than 8 to ask. Meanwhile, her dad, or whoever he was, was sitting nearby on some steps sucking down a quart of beer and giving me the ole’ fish eye.

Obviously, I had overstayed my welcome as a project dweller and moved out upon graduating college.

As one last fuck you from the apartment though, my last water bill was $1200.

$1200!!!! It was normally $12 a month.

The water company thinks my toilet was running and that’s what caused the exorbitant bill. That’s certainly possible as I didn’t actually inhabit the shithole for the last four months I was on the lease. Still, there’s no way that a toilet could run $1200 worth of water, so I told them that they could shove their bill in their ass because I wasn’t going to pay it.

I was wrong!

I got a job right out of school in Dallas and when I tried to get an apartment, I was surprised to learn that apartment people interact with each other all over the country.

I had to settle the bill with the water company in Illinois before I could get an apartment in Texas.


In what I consider a semi-admittance that they were completely fucking wrong, the water company allowed me to just pay half of the $1200 and call it even.

So I did and became a temporary Texan (not natural born as they like to remind you, the uninclusive pricks) and my The Projects life became a thing of my past.

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41 Responses to Livin’ in the PJ’s…

  1. Laura Lynn says:

    I lived in The Projects, too. My sister got bit by a seeing eye dog. Awesome.

  2. sassypanties says:

    I never lived in the projects, but the hubs and I bought a trailer in a trailer park while he was attending the University of Oregon. Good times. Also? My brother – who is your typical standard issue Caucasian – smokes Newports. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t him that robbed your project apartment.

    • Is your brother bi racial maybe? This cop seemed pretty confident that it was only blacks smoking them! I was going to live in a trailer park my freshman year but the coach said NO WAY! He said whenever there’s an incident, it always involves and idiot in a traler park. I guess he thought since I was already an idiot that adding trailer park was a recipe for disaster.

      • sassypanties says:

        Nope-not bi-racial. You’ll have to look for your ring and trophy elsewhere, my friend.

        And also? I’d say your coach was a very wise man. Very.

  3. procm2 says:

    This a funny story loved it

  4. My days in the PJs were some of the funniest days of my life:)

  5. Katie says:

    Were you at Cabrini Green? That’s the only one I know. I feel like that happens a lot with Crystals… That story sounds familiar. We need to do a sociological experiment.

  6. I love that you immediately concluded there were two Crystals. It’s just what I would have done. Lust is the eternal optimist.

  7. hee hee. . .you said weiner!! lol Do you still miss the ramen noodles??

  8. Hill says:

    I remember that sweet ass green Jeep! Still jealous (though I want a red one)

  9. Wow. Your posts never cease to suck me in and make me recoil in disgust and suck me in again. 🙂 That water bill thing is CRAP! I wouldn’t have paid it either. Actually, I probably would have.

  10. sassypanties says:

    So, I’ve gone ahead and bestowed upon you the MIGHTIEST of honors by nominating you for the Sunshine Award – and while it may see girly and all of that shit – your blog was one of the 10 that I wanted to share with the world. So, if you are so inclined, read up about it on my most recent blog post and participate.

  11. Amber Perea says:

    Quit talking trash about Texas, yo. I will fight you! 😉

  12. keladelaide says:

    I’m so glad us Aussies are about 50 years behind you guys. Our population just hit 23 million so The Projects won’t be far off now.

  13. Learning the hard way says:

    Ok, I confess to thinking this post was about spending your days in pyjamas…shades of Heffner; which would have ensured Crystal was a pneumatic blonde.
    Your history is a rich mine of blog material indeed.

  14. A.J. Goode says:

    I just nominated you for the Liebster Award! Check it out for details:

  15. Go Jules Go says:

    Well you can hardly blame the burglar… Newports are so expensive.

    • Go Jules Go says:

      (I realize I’m overlooking several key elements of this story, but once I get locked in on something, well, it’s like a toilet that won’t stop running.)

      • I understand completely, Jules and I’m honored that you even stop by this piece of shit blog. Lol. Perhaps one day they’ll make pie or Sonic Milkshake flavored medication for your little toilet related condition.

  16. Maggie O'C says:

    Pantaloons! haha Just stopping in to say hi. Hi. Couple questions…why did you choose to live in the projects? and did anything bad happen to your jeep?

    • It was nearly 100% honkified and 95% college kids living there when I applied. Fast forward a couple of years when they called and that was no longer the case, but the price was right. And as for the Jeep, yes. It got keyed on a trip to South Padre, Texas and then sold because I couldn’t afford the payments while in school after all. Lol!

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