(Posted with some pretty pictures taken on vacation last year in New Mexico to counteract the negative tone!)
I spent this past weekend apartment hunting in the city where I will soon be moving. I’m moving in August, so time is ticking and my intention was to leave with a lease signed. Well, after viewing seven different places, I didn’t find a single place for which I would feel comfortable signing on the dotted line.
Maybe I’m just getting picky? I dunno. Moving back to a college town at this point seems like a step backwards in many ways. My taste and comfort level seem to be outside what my stipend will allow me to rent. I want more than the bare essentials required in college towns–a porch for beer pong and space for a futon! But even then, I considered my list of “must haves” to be pretty basic. Must be in a safe neighborhood. Must be close to my lab. Must have laundry (free or coin). And there have been plenty of things I’ve been able to let go of, like central air, a dishwasher, a disposal, a gas range.
But even with this list, I just couldn’t find anything I liked. I saw fugly brown carpeting, dark paneled walls, chipping paint, a bathroom the size of a tiny closet, a street filled with cop cars in the middle of the afternoon. Ugh!!
I walked around the town for two days in 90 degree heat and in flip flops that have given me blisters down the entire length of my feet. (I eventually threw those damn things in the trash after buying a new $8 pair in painful desperation.) I learned that the “safe” neighborhood extends only about three blocks off campus. I heard about gangs of kids on bikes mugging professors on the way to class. I learned that there are no grocery stores in town. I got called “unAmerican” by a homeless man (ok, the last one was pretty funny).
And now I think I will have to cancel one of my beach trips to go back and look for apartments again. The last thing I want to do it relive this past weekend. The idea of a beach weekend with my friends has been keeping me sane in these dwindling weeks at a dead-end job. To replace that with more desperate house hunting makes me cringe.
We shall see. In all the moves I’ve done recently (10 in eight years) I’ve always found something. But the whole idea is that I won’t have to move again in another year. I want to put down roots, for at least a little while. Paint a wall even! Is that too much to ask?
Wish me luck.