Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: Just about every construction crane we see in the Twin Cities is building apartments. Are we overbuilding? Having lived in lots of apartments, I am not sure I ever wish to do so again. You?


RN: If we’re talking the rat traps I inhabited in the early 1980s, no. But these new complexes are a pretty luxurious-looking lot.


CP: For me, the notion of a luxury apartment is an oxymoron.


RN: Then we need to take you on a tour of one or two of the 10 zillion buildings under construction in the North Loop.


CP: An apartment in my mind is for the young, who can move in all their earthly possessions in two hours, nail a Klimt poster to the wall, drape some Indian cotton over a battered sofa and plug in a microwave. Eight months of alternating bliss and heartbreak, followed by eviction.


RN: Yes, Methuselah. Times have changed. “Three’s Company” went off the air in 1984.


CP: I hope the apartment of today still comes with drafty windows, an avuncular super, terrible neighbors and no parking. Otherwise, where’s the fun?


RN: You just described the moldering Stevens Square studio of my mid-20s, where an emotionally challenged neighbor used to fixate on the names of kitchen products, shouting them into the paper-thin wall separating our abodes. I still can’t look at a package of Lorna Doones without thinking of him. You know, an hour or two of “Lorna Doone! Lorna Doone! Lorna Doone!”


CP: At least he wasn’t also banging his noggin against the wall at the same time. In the Loring Park walk-up where I lived, the guy upstairs threw Madonna on the stereo each night after “bar close” time, and let ’er blast. I’ve hated Madge ever since.


RN: Today’s rental palaces are outfitted with Pilates studios, rooftop sundecks and heated parking. In the 1980s, a rental property was considered high-end if there was a semi-functioning laundry room in the basement.


CP: Another place I rented was hit by a smell so penetrating and pestiferous that we thought we would have to move to a motel for a while.


RN: Shades of the community Frigidaire here at the plant.


CP: The downstairs neighbors had let a chunk of raw chicken fall between wall and fridge for, I dunno, a couple of weeks. In July. They seemed mildly annoyed when we demanded entry to their place to track this down. Still, we were happy then.


RN: Perhaps we didn’t know any better. It reminds me of the general lack of air conditioning back then. I’d sleep in the bathtub, sans water, and barely complain.


CP: Ah, sweet porcelain dreams of youth.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib