Monday, October 29, 2007

Living on the edge of the world

I sit here at 6:47 am, sweating, because yet another in the long list of things I hate about this apartment is that it's HOT. When I complained the landlord said, open a window, because he's, you know, an environmentally conscious guy who sees the direct correlation between an ineffective thermostat and the huge heating bills he shoulders.

I can't open a window now because it's dark out and my windows face the street and the whole world could watch me sitting here in the light.

I went to two open houses yesterday. One was in a neighborhood where people often tell me I should look, but one which I've long resisted because even though it's just 6 subway stops further out, that feels like another borough. They say it's a great neighborhood for bargains, and this apartment really drew me because it was huge with a nice layout and many closets. And? Getting off the subway, I found myself literally at a crossroads between two highways, one which I had to cross via an overpass before finding the apartment building. And it was a nice, big apartment, and it's not too expensive, but I couldn't live there. It doesn't feel like a neighborhood, like the neighborhoods I enjoy. It felt like my old place in Queens - small ugly single family homes interspersed with large brick apartment buildings, nary a store or restaurant in sight. It's also entirely dependent on one subway line, which happened to be undergoing construction this weekend so I had to return home by riding one stop further and then circling back. That makes it feel even more remote, when getting anywhere depends on one single letter of the alphabet.

The other was closer, at the fringes of the neighborhood I live in now, although near another busy highway. The selling point is a private backyard that's been built out with a wooden deck with partial roof and storage benches and shed. Even in the sunny chill of a fall day, it was beautiful. The apartment itself is somewhat small, but more than that it felt depressing - subtle things like a big pile of creepy-looking insulation caked around the bottom of a heating pipe, ugly plywood closet and cupboard doors. I don't know if all of my stuff would fit in there, but I don't know if I could live in there even if it did. The bedroom windows face the street, like here, but there I'd be on the ground floor, alarmingly vulnerable, and on a street much more remote than this one.

I saw two movies: "Lars and the Real Girl" and "Gone, Baby, Gone." More later.


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