Cold Weather Blues (from April)

by Bryan

I hate my new apartment with every fiber of my being. I detest this place to a degree that is hard to fathom. If I could live in a small room with one nice window in a nice place, I would prefer it to his horrible wreck of a living space. I hate this place.

My new apartment gets almost no ambient light except for in the early mornings, when I am allergic to ambient light. In the late afternoon, two windowpanes worth of waning sun filter through my roommate’s room, but that’s about it. The kitchen is almost entirely dark even during the highest of high noons, and the living room is depressingly quarter-lit by windows that look upon our narrow driveway, which is bordered by the neighboring house. There is also a motion-sensor light near the side doorway that goes on and off throughout the evening without any cause. I hate this place.

The kitchen always smells vaguely of the Indian food oft cooked by the previously tenants and the natural gas that the owners assure me is not leaking from the stove. The overhead lighting, which we largely ignore, is horrible fluorescent light in every room. There is an ancient air conditioner in our living room, and our shower is the worst shower in the history of man. In fact, the shower needs its own paragraph.

Words cannot accurately describe the inadequacy of this shower, but you can rest assured that if I were to bring this laptop into the shower with me to attempt such a feat, the laptop would likely survive the showerhead’s light-fog attempt at soaking the showerer. We have nothing in terms of water pressure, and what does come out is lukewarm, at best. Our water heater is so old that it cannot keep hot water hot; your best bet is to take a shower 30 minutes after the previous shower has ended. Of course, I get up earlier than my roommate, so I do not have this luxury in the mornings and have taken to enjoying my showers in the evening. Nevermind that I hate this; humans are adaptable by nature, and I WILL have the best shower possible. Doesn’t mean that I’ll like it, though.

The kitchen is rather large and presents a nice cooking area, but the kitchen itself looks old and shabby. It probably has not been overhauled in 40 years. The entire apartment reminds me of my grandmother’s house, which is just depressing. At least at my grandmother’s house I don’t have to cook for myself, pay for the outrageous gas heating bills and have the company of my grandparents. Here I do cook for myself, do pay astronomical heating bills, and am usually alone but occasionally with the company of my completely oblivious roommate, who could live at the South Pole as long as he could watch porn DVDs. He’s really a wonderful fellow, but I don’t think he hates this place as much as I do. Then again, it would be difficult.

Maybe I hate this place because I spent a good deal of time and effort making it livable, and there is a large amount of time and effort left to exert on that front and I have no intention of exerting it. I am, it appears, done. I would be much happier with a slightly increased standard of living around here, but I find it very hard to muster the energy it takes to fix this place up. Perhaps a good cleaning is in order; that usually gets me feeling better about things. But I love to do a good cleaning when the sun is out, flying through the windows and energizing me on a weekend morning. That won’t happen here. Every second I spent in here is like being in a movie theater – lifeless, stale, dark – only there’s no movie playing to get my spirits up.

So as it is, I’ve devised ways to keep my spirits up. I’ve gotten drunk, which isn’t unique to this apartment but it’s helped. I’ve cooked quite a bit, which is good for my bottom line, but I spend the saved money in my budget on things that I say I’ve “earned” by putting up with my own apartment, like new clothes or fancy meals (for me, a fancy meal costs more than $10). I’ve started writing a lot more, which is unquestionably good, but the nature of the writing (diary-style) isn’t conducive to publication, because who cares about me but me? I’ve started reading a lot more, but that’s more of a function of living near the end of the subway line and getting a seat on the train every morning – which, as an externality, is unquestionably the best thing about my new living space. That and the back “yard,” which is really mostly cement and is good for having large numbers of people over, but I get skittish when I’m hosting company, especially in such close quarters to my neighbors as I am now. We are bordered by an elderly Italian/Yugoslavian couple to the left – as in, they are from the region in Italy that has been taken by, and re-taken from Yugoslavia – a younger set of grandparents to the left, and two flower-children type women above us, who seem to be slightly older. They have twice politely cited us for loud noise-making, and my roommate horrified one of their buttoned-down guests on Saturday by inviting her into smoke-and-beer filled house. The living room table, on which I am now typing, was apparently so filled with party detritus that it would have been impossible for her to even set her keys upon it, led my roommate to begin a self-preserving rant about how were actually upstanding young professionals and that her friends had nothing to worry about, we weren’t always like this. She was likely not convinced, I am told.

My room is spacious but colder than the rest of the apartment, and I learned yesterday that there’s a crack in my windowsill that allows water run the length of the bamboo window shades I stupidly bought for $40 each and drip onto the windowsill where my phone usually rests. My room also features a back door that goes straight into the backyard, and due to the possibility that some enterprising individuals use this portal for ungranted access to my room, the landlords have conveniently installed a removable 2×4 across the door frame to prevent the door from opening in such a case.

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