Talk of the Town - Study break March 12 2003

Two-bedroom attic apartment in Poncey-Highlands

The Freedom Park path
changed the border neighborhood between Little Five Points and Virginia-Highland known as the Poncey-Highlands Corridor.

Ron Bowers has rented a ramshackle attic apartment in the area for the past nine years. Sounds boring — until you realize he's nearly 40, recently began his college life (he'll graduate in less than two years from Oglethorpe University) and owns a small fleet of classic Jaguars. When he pledged the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Bowers' "big brother" was 20 years his junior, and he helped turn the frat house into a respectable establishment. He currently has a college-age roommate and doesn't plan on moving anytime soon.

Creative Loafing: This house is pretty redneck in some ways, with junk on the porch and badly painted drains. Then again, you have some interesting landlords.

Bowers: Yeah, they're the former owners of the Star Bar and self-admittedly not into maintenance and repair. I take care of the yard and my portion of the house and get a great deal on the rent, for this area. I pretty much get free rein to do what I want to.

So with landlords like that, you must have some stories.

They're very quiet people. Marty is an Elvis fan, to say the least. Their dining/pool room must have every velvet Elvis [painting] that's been produced.

Dining and pool?

One night, I heard what sounded like pool balls. The next morning, I saw the dining room table on the porch. They made room for a pool table in their dining room.

I see you've quarantined your dog off in the kitchen, but I can still hear his heavy breathing. I have to say he kinda puts me on edge.

Buddha is a 10-year-old champion shar-pei and the puppy of his mother, who I used to own. He belonged to my former girlfriend. But after having a baby, she couldn't provide for the needs of both. The males can be a bit testy. Unfortunately he returned just as traumatized as when I left. Women have that effect on males. She had him neutered. I escaped before it happened to me. I think he's gay now.

And did he do that to the door?

There's no reason why it happened, but Buddha absolutely refused to stay in the back yard. He chewed his way through the door, glass and all — twice — to get inside the house. Most dogs usually try to get out. But now he's fine.

So how did you end up in this situation? Living here, I mean.

It was a snowball of events that brought me to where I am now. I intended to purchase a home four to five years back. Then I went into business for myself and compromised my personal lifestyle. Then I sold my business and was entering a new relationship. The guy I was dating at the time had parents that were academics. They talked about college, and I had the opportunity to go to school and realized it may not come around again. So I changed my lifestyle again and became a full-time student.

It still seems strange seeing someone with your cars and money living in a place like this. How many Jaguars did you say you have?

[Thinking and counting on his fingers] One ... two ... three — in various states of repair.

Seems a strange lifestyle for a guy with Jags.

I like cheap rent, expensive cars and nice clothes. I'm just ghetto rich.

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