I’m always wary of the person who comes out with adamant hatred towards Coldplay. Or John Mayer. Hating mainstream rock is like screaming about the negative qualities of vanilla custard. Music that is so intentionally inoffensive seems to be incredibly polarizing to a small, but loud, group of people.
So, maybe the last four or five months I have been in a bit of a rut. I live in Venice, an area that I really love. But I have been taking it for granted, recoiling further and further into the depths of my bedroom. I have two roommates; nice, handsome young fellows, who I can only assume are completely baffled by my hermit behavior. They recently joined a beach volleyball league.
And thus I began to play with the idea of moving. It started out small, like how nice it would be if I didn’t have to hear about my neighbor’s Swiffer audition while he smoked seemingly an entire pack of cigarettes right next to my bedroom window. Or, how great it would be if I didn’t have to say hello to someone’s one night stand, eating an extravagant breakfast at our dinning room table on like, a Tuesday morning.
The idea grew and slowly crawled out of the pond scum and onto land on its new stump-like legs. I don’t understand my loyalty to uncomfortable situations, but I’ve always felt a need to stick around a bit longer than necessary: jobs, relationships and now this apartment. My roommates and I were friends in college, but not close. I certainly don’t share a bond with them, nor feel like I owe them something. Honestly, they were probably a bit relieved when I apologetically announced that I was leaving.
I started in Venice, I thought I’d just move to a new apartment in the same area. I’m not a believer in signs from a higher power, but I felt like Venice made it clear very early into the search that it was done with me. I started looking slightly east, and then very east until I found a place mid-city that my new roommate and I loved instantly. The first time we looked at it, I ran around pointing things out like a little kid. I remember shouting, “There’s a bathroom in between the bedrooms!” Because I am a firm believer that apartment happiness can only be achieved if bedroom walls aren’t shared.
The new apartment was built in the early 1920s and it has all these great little nooks and crannies and creaky hardwood floors if you walk on them just so. The kitchen and second bathroom are especially charming and perplexing.
The kitchen is a large room that pretty clearly used to be divided into two, with enough cabinet space to hold everything I own I in the world (partially because I pride myself on being fairly stuff-less, or stuff-lite). It’s painted a sickly powder blue that I can’t wait to change.
Then there is that second bathroom, and boy is it great. There’s nothing to it at first; just a sink, toilet and old medicine cabinet with a cracked mirror. But wait! There’s a doorway in there that leads to a tiny, cave-like shower that you have to hunker down in to get wet. There’s no light in that part, which adds to the cave-like quality. I can’t wait to have sex in there.
I met our new landlord, Jackie, at the apartment today to sign the lease. She is a round, severe woman with hair pulled back so tight, I question whether it has ever been free of its toothy overlord; a cruel tortoiseshell butterfly clip, long since weary of young, chipper tenants and their questions about parking spaces and electrical fixtures.
She walked me around the apartment, a challenging glare on her face as she told me that if I spotted anything wrong, now was my chance to point it out. I have never been so aware of silence, or so desperate for small talk. If she had asked me about the weather I would have broken down with appreciative sobs. But there was nothing, just slow footsteps as we circled each room, unwillingly dancing with each other. One burnt-out light bulb and a broken window lock later, we found ourselves in my new bathroom. She pointed to the cracked medicine cabinet.
“Do you want that replaced?”
“No,” I replied, “It’ll be great each morning when I ask myself what I’m doing with my life.”
No response. Admittedly, it was a bad joke.
“It’s fine.” I said quickly. I looked into the dark abyss of the cave shower and smiled to myself as Jackie started to walk out of the bathroom.
"How about this shower, huh?" I asked to her back. She turned around and looked into the shower doorway. "Pretty good sex shower." I said before I had really thought about it.
There was a pause before she replied, it felt like an hour. “Yes. It seems like a good sex shower.” Her frown unchanged.