I never realized how much fun it would be to look for an apartment. Not. Mike and I have been checking out places and falling in love with places, getting our hopes up, and then nothing. The apartment gets rented, people don’t call you back, people suck. We visit one such place Saturday afternoon. I go through the whole mental thing of picturing myself living here for the next year. Our requirements are as follows: one year lease, one-car parking, laundry on premise, close to my work and his internship, full kitchen with stove and refrigerator, and no more than $1,200 a month.
We’re early, so we stop for breakfast at a cafe around the block. This is the local cafe I will come to for a bite to eat and to write: Novel Cafe. I love it. Mike orders an iced tea; coffee for me. We split the breakfast tacos and they’re awesome. I can already see myself here. Wrong-o. Place gets rented. I mean, I guess it does. The jerk guy who was awesome to me on the phone never returns my texts or phone calls. This is only one instance of many, already.
You’d think I know what it’s like to go about renting a place, but I’ve never had to do it on my own. College was the beginning – if you count college – which I don’t. Then I moved home for about two years, then I moved to Manhattan. This is difficult to write about. Living in New York was…comparable…to living with bed bugs. They were completely different, but my nine months in the city were pretty bad. I didn’t have to search for a place; my acting coach offered to let me stay in her apartment with her. It was a one-bedroom. I’d get the room and she would sleep in the common area, or better yet, the rest of the apartment. It was the smallest quarters I’ve ever lived in. My room couldn’t even fit a twin-sized bed. I slept on a futon-type mattress on some kind of wooden thing on the floor. Obviously no TV or anything. A window that was about a foot wide and maybe three feet high with a view of a brick wall. I wasn’t allowed visitors. No joke. My coach gave private lessons almost five days a week, so she’d be in the living area from 9-6 coaching on most days. Which meant I couldn’t go out to the kitchen to make something to eat. One day I showered while she was coaching and she yelled at me for it. I started to shower at the gym after that. My God, it was the hottest summer of my life. I couldn’t afford an air conditioner. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, dripping with sweat, and take an ice cold shower, then try to go back to sleep. It took a month to find a job. I went through all of my savings. My bartending job was a joke. I made no money and worked all the time. I had no friends. I never went out. So I have a love-hate relationship with New York. Whenever I’m there I can look up at the skyscrapers and feel like I belong, and can’t help but smile, but I’m completely turned off from living there ever again.
After that I moved to Hoboken. It’s the first time Mike and I lived together. We couldn’t afford to live alone, so we moved in with Kevin and two other girls. Grandma didn’t approve. I guess Pop-pop didn’t either. They’re very old school. Like it makes so much sense to not live together and then get married without knowing what it’s like. No thanks.
Kevin had already lived with these girls – Jess and Courtney – for the past year, so it went from the three of them to the five of us. We met a few times and one drunken night we all talked about moving in together – an ideal situation when you’re all trying to save money. Jess found the place. Jess did most of everything – the Mom of the group. It’s always nice to have one. One night, Mike and I went to look at the place with Jess and Courtney. Jess seemed nervous to show it to us. “I know it’s small, but I think it’s good for us.” I looked around. NOTHING could be worse than my situation now. The bedroom Mike and I would be sharing? Small, maybe, but five times the size of the room I’m in now. I LOVE it. AND I can have visitors! AND I like the four people I’m living with. AND I’m finally not going to be in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. It was amazing and affordable and Hoboken was the cutest town and so close to Manhattan.
That was the last place I lived in on my own. Moved home for two weeks before the drive out to California. Mike and Sonny checked out the place we’re staying in now. They flew out for a week right before we moved out here, so again, I wasn’t really responsible for actually finding a place. Now I am, and it’s especially difficult on such a tight budget. But the saying is true: things really could be worse.
*LCD Sound System