It’s been awhile, but in the last few weeks, I gave up on the housing search and settled for what I affectionately (?) call my “fakepartment.” If I were to describe it on Craigslist, my new crib would sound something like, “This brand new, luxurious, junior studio with penthouse views is located on a historic street in a community-oriented, secure building.” Translating that into reality speak, it would be:
1. Brand New = Not actually brand new, though still retaining that sterile, unwelcome feeling of a new building.
2. Luxurious = Way overpriced, but also not a complete shithole.
3. Junior studio = Bedroom, small bathroom, no kitchen, claustrophobia abound.
4. Penthouse views = You are on the 18th floor. Your view is of the Triborough Bridge and Robert Moses’ spartan public housing monstrosities, with both being a constant reminder of how he displaced poor minorities on a massive scale due to his control-freak, power-hungry mentality. You are completely f*cked if the elevator breaks.
5. Historic street = Surrounded by beautiful historic buildings! Yours isn’t one of them.
6. Community-oriented = You share a kitchen. On a different floor. Feel free to make friends with the yuppie grad student you are currently butter-knife fighting with over access to the back left corner of the stove.
7. Secure building = There’s a uniformed man who occasionally checks for vagrants that wander into the lobby during his breaks from what he’s actually paid to do, which is reading dirty magazines under the front desk.
It’s easy for me to be critical of the place, especially when I’m so set on making myself a home in this big city. It’s hard to make a home out of one and a half kitchenless rooms that force you to hard boil eggs in your hot water heater. It’s hard to feel at home when No Diggity by Blackstreet comes rumbling through the walls from another fakepartment, waking you at eight in the morning. Oh, and don’t forget the whole initial loneliness of it all, in addition to your denial of being lonely. That’s not an easy feeling to deal with. It is so, so easy to pick this place, this transition, this entire experience apart. But, it’s not impossible to love it, either.
Even I, Bitter McSourpuss (it’s a family name) recognize some great things about living in my fakepartment, even beyond my respectable cable plan. Side note: Jon and Kate Plus 8 is the Crystal Meth of reality television. Really, my favorite part of my fakepartment is that it’s located in the city. Low standards, I know. But I can’t describe how immensely relieving it is to have a busy, tiring, but fulfilling day in New York and know that you’re only a subway ride away from your bed instead of subway, a train, and a significant drive away from home. The diversity of the people and streets and neighborhoods in my immediate area is astounding. There’s a lot to see. A lot to bitch about, I’m sure, but a lot to see and love, too.
It’s important to remain positive about living arrangements, even if it is in a van down by the river, a hovel in Alphabet City, or a fakepartment in Morningside Heights. Maybe there are bright sides to the crap sides. Maybe my Blackstreet-loving neighbor Ricco is just trying to tell me that he “likes the way I work it” hey yo hey yo hey yo hey yo. Okay fine, it’s important to remain positive, but not idiotic. I’m giving Ricco a piece of my mind first thing tomorrow. No diggity. No doubt.