When I came out to Utah last holiday season to start looking around for apartments, my friend J. told me about the apartment he had had, before he bought his big old house. He lived in a loft above an antiques shop, right smack in the center of the lovely little historic district of town, with its restaurants and coffee shops and little boutiques and salons all the way up and down. The apartment was huge, with high ceilings and a honey wood floor and ceiling-to-floor windows and exposed brick. “I loved that apartment,” he sighed. He was really sorry to leave it.
As he told the story, a great lust was conceived, right there in my heart. When he mentioned how much he was paying per month, I gasped and choked and died and returned to life full of a fiery determination where my soul used to be, that I would have an apartment just exactly like that, because that was less than half of what I was paying in San Francisco! I, too, would have a cheap and beautiful loft and it would have the brick and the wood and it would be right smack in the historic district and that was what I would have because that is what I need, you guys, and I will die without it. Die. Without it! Do you hear me? They ignored me.
When I was searching for listings online, my first search of the day
always appended “historic district.” And then I tried the name of the
street, and then I tried surrounding blocks and then I put my head down
on the keyboard when nothing ever came up. I looked at a bunch of
apartments that were very nice. But every time we drove down that
street, I would swivel my head around until it corkscrewed off my body,
looking for For Rent signs. Nothing ever showed up, and time ran out,
and I ended up taking a beautiful little apartment for ridiculously cheap on a great street,
half a block from the library, right across from the park, with a
little space for an office and a view of the mountains until they built
a house next door.
I love my little apartment. It’s the right size, it’s got the hardwood
floors. It’s got some problems: for instance, I will probably die of
heatstroke without windows that can fit an air conditioner, my landlord continues
to be a looping loon, the pot-smoking neighbor next door spends his
days leaping around the street wearing jumping stilts and recently has
begun to try and climb the tree by my window with crampons and, I shit
you not, a grappling hook, and I still haven’t put up curtains. But I
love my neighborhood and the convenience store nearby and living so close to
E and the gym, and the super fancy ice cream shop. I planned to stay
here, for a while. I was totally going to put up curtains.
Yesterday, J. and his mom Ev and I dropped by at the “art” festival
they throw every year. They shut down that historic district street,
and put up tents, and we were wandering around, looking at booths,
popping into shops, sipping lattes and ice teas and things, and I saw a
sign. In front of an antique store. An apartment for rent. I turned to
J., and he said yes, this is the place I used to live. I bolted inside.
There was rigmarole, trying to find the owner as I vibrated
impatiently, but she came and handed me the key and I went and looked
at it, and oh. It really is such a beautiful apartment, this apartment
I’ve wanted ever since I heard about it. Oh wow, I said. We’re going to
make this place so beautiful! Ev said. We’ll go to garage sales! We’ll
paint! She was so enthusiastic, it was as if I owned it already.
I filled out an application and I was the very first and once we were
back on the street I spazzed out and flapped my hands around. The
owner, out smoking on the street, caught me. Hopefully she was
impressed by my enthusiasm, and not afraid of my psychotic condition.
Now I wait for a phone call. And now, if she calls me, I have a huge
decision to make. This place, it’s 200 bucks more than I’m paying now,
and that is a lot of money. My place now, I do love it, even without
curtains. This loft coming free, just as I walked by, maybe it’s fate.
I don’t know. It is big and beautiful and I want it, to be next door to
a coffee shop and a yoga studio and across the street from sushi and a
block from the train station and some really good sandwiches. I hope I
don’t get it, and don’t have to decide. I really want it, and I’m not sure what to decide.