Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Pawn Shop District

Moving, I am afraid, requires choosing a place to move to. I like my apartment. It’s got four walls and a good sturdy roof and I just got all the blood spatters cleaned up. I see no reason to leave it outside of the fact that my current job requires a three-hour round trip commute, which, while highly enriching and lots of fun for my bladder, leaves less time for the important things in life, such as cultivating an active hatred for Old Navy.

Also the leasing office recently sent me a very nice letter that told me if I really wanted to stay another year, I had better prepare to pay them more money than I currently am. Like, a lot more. A whole lotta lot more. It was almost as pleasant as the one I got last month that was all, “YOUR RENT IS LATE AND YOU HAVE FOUR SECONDS TO GIVE US SIX HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE DOLLARS AND TWELVE CENTS OR WE WILL EVICT YOU SO FAST THAT YOU AND YOUR EXCELLENT RACK WILL ACHIEVE WARP SPEED BY THE TIME YOU PASS THE COMMUNITY GYM,” but not quite.

This meant apartment hunting, and in a new city, which is always fun. It’s a good way to become acquainted with the very best parts of town. Because when you flip through the apartment guides and you see “Reasonably Priced” and you see “Convenient To State Welfare Office,” there is totally going to be a Chanel outlet right around the corner.

These complexes tended to be the only ones within my price range, seeing as the gap between what I wanted and what I could actually afford was the equivalent, roughly, of what the Cincinnati Bengals would like to do (win, like, once) and what the Cincinnati Bengals actually accomplish (humiliating everybody remotely involved with the franchise.)

This is what I wanted in an apartment:

-high-speed Internet access
-some utilities included
-community gym with weights and variety of cardio equipment
-structures built up to recent hurricane safety codes
-good natural light
-proximity to liquor store

This is what was in my price range:

-the place that boasted, as a major feature, “cross-ventilation in all apartments.”

There was one complex that was notably cheap, and close to work, and brightly painted, but when it advertised “unique Florida landscaping,” I was not immediately aware that this meant “bullet casings on the sidewalk.”

It went on for weeks, until I sat fuming in Josh the Pilot’s place, wondering where in all of creation I was going to find a place that was affordable, and close to work, and brightly painted, and not on the FBI Terror Watch List, when I looked down at the apartment guide in my lap and realized that such a place did exist, and that I was sitting in it.

“I don’t want to move into your complex,” I told him.

“Why not?” he said.

“Because you’ll be all up in my grill. I’ll be all up in your grill. We’ll just all be up in each other’s grills, all the time, and you know how I feel about being all up in one’s grill.”

Also, if we break up, I do not wish to look across the parking lot and see my replacement—-doubtless smarter, kinder, and prettier than I—-tramping herself in and out of his apartment. It would mean that I would have to ensure that I looked smart and sweet and pretty every single time I walked in or out of the building, and I don’t care who you are, you can’t fake clutching a copy of Scientific American against perfect abs while heading to Meals on Wheels meetings twenty-four hours a day.

Also also, this means such explanations as, “I’m so sorry I’m late, there was a terrible wreck on I-4” must be amended to, “I’m so sorry I’m late, there was a terrible wreck in the eighteen inches between my apartment and yours.”

When given the choice between actually being on time for things and picking my way around various hostage situations en route to the mailbox, however, I did the vastly uncharacteristic thing, by which I mean the practical thing. Deposit’s down. Moving van’s scheduled. My new neighbor says he’ll help me pack.

First thing in the box was the grill.

I totally need sheets of those little bubble things everybody loves to pop, so send them to:

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