I pay $350 a month for rent, water paid. I get what I pay for, and maybe a little more, since I have more than one room. I am moving soon into another apartment whose rent is also $350. It's the only way I could legitimize moving, if I kept the price the same but raised the standard and quality of living. My current apartment is a cave; in my bedroom and pretty much the only room I use, you have to guess whether or not the sun is up, which to me is a perk. I don't hang out in my apartment to have a view of the world but to ignore it. It's basically a refueling station, where I bathe and sleep and eat (though nothing I really cook, because my kitchen is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, having no insulation), node, and watch movies, though rarely, since I don't have cable. When I want to read or write with a pen, I have to go out to a coffee shop or something. I never have company here. It's too small and hot and doesn't have much to offer by way of social activity. When the main room is your bedroom, it's not easy to entertain, and my walls are slanted so few people can stand up without grazing their heads on a light fixture.

The new place has two rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen like this one, but the ceilings are high and the rooms are actual rooms, not wings of an attic that's been walled up to create the illusion of rooms; they're more like chambers, with curtains made of sheets to seal them off. The new place has just been painted blue and I love blue. There are windows that let the sun in and a balcony that stretches the whole front of the building. I envision myself sitting out on that balcony where there is actually a view. Sheri, the next door neighbor and friend who got me the place, says that you can see the fireworks set off on the River from that balcony.

My current apartment has no shower, only a deep claw foot tub that people who see it envy but do not realize that shower options are quite important. My kitchen sink is so low that I sit on a stool to do the dishes. The new place is, just, normal, more normal than where I live now, and I'm getting the impression that I'm ready for normal now.

No matter where I lived, I was content to exist in one room. With roommates, or at least, the roommates I've had, you stay in your room, the room you pay for, to stay out of traffic. It was rare that I hung out in the communal rooms with everyone else, everyone and their boyfriends and weird social circles. Even in the rare times we cooked together or ordered food to be delivered, we would often either sit in one of their rooms or the living room and watch movies. When you move in with current tenants, they can't help but be possessive, since it's their names that are on the lease. You are the new person. Aside from being late with the rent now and then, I've always been a good roommate, in that I kept to myself.

I am not expecting that once I get a better apartment that my social life or frequency of company will improve. I have friends, but we almost always hang out at their place, or out in public. I guess I am and always will be possessive about my space. Unless I get married (screw the live-in boyfriend crap) or choose to have roommates again, my apartment will be my fortress.

So, knowing that I am doing this move strictly for me and no one else, I am looking forward to it. At least there, I will know and want to actually talk to my neighbor. It won't be as easy to shut out the world because it will come streaming into windows every day. In this hole, I managed to shut it out for a full year, August being the year anniversary of my being here.

I will still likely decorate with double sided tape and tapestries. Since the new place, like all new places I've moved to, is only a few blocks from where I live now, the move will not even warrant boxes. I will tote clothes on their hangers from one closet to another, positioning furniture as it is moved. I have maybe two pieces of furniture that I actually own and all of my old roommate Rhonda's furniture that she intends to reclaim someday. But for now I use it to make it look like I have furniture, normal furniture that you buy in a store instead of finding on a curb, as I have. When she finally comes to get it, I will have nothing but a papasan chair, a bookshelf, and a computer. Oh yeah, and one halogen lamp.

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