Having lived moved out of downtown a week ago and successfully settled into my new apartment 2.4 miles away just north of University of Cincinnati’s campus, I’ve noticed that both areas have some very notable pros and cons.
Walkability: work, Findlay Market, bars and restaurants were just a few minutes away from my apartment. The view from my fourth floor studio was of a stone church built in the 1820’s and of a small city park. My apartment had a pool, elevators, a gym, and electronic access. Several friends lived just a few blocks away.
Consist panhandling directly outside of work, home, and everywhere inbetween. Downtown smells terrible, like bus exhaust and vomit got married and had three babies. My apartment was only 525 square feet and it cost more than $700 per month. Every weekend party people would scream loudly and drunkenly below my window until 4am. Lots and lots and LOTS of sirens at all hours of the day. Rarely used the pool, never used the gym. Whoops.
Convenient bus routes and bike friendly main roads. A gigantic apartment for $200 less per month with hardwood floors, large kitchen and bathroom, and massive windows in every room. Quiet neighborhood. My apartment view is a goddamn forest. Friendly neighbors. Five minute bike ride from campus. Walkable to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. A major portion of my social circle lives not just in the area, but within a couple of blocks of my apartment.
Fucking hipsters in every goddamned direction. No central A/C, but I have a window unit (old apartment building, what are you gonna do). I’ve realized I have absolutely zero muscle mass once I attempted to ride my bike up these hills. I mean holy shit, it wasn’t even like I was sore or it took me a while, I’m saying I was not physically able to maintain the necessary momentum to continue riding my bike and had to dismount and walk it up the (many) hills.
That said, I overwhelmingly prefer my new apartment and location. At first, I was a little sad about moving out of downtown. It felt like a “step down” to move to a more affordable area, almost like I had blown it and was not able to hack it by being able to swing some over-priced rent by myself. In reality, when I first moved to Cincinnati three years ago, people were scared to live downtown. There weren’t as many businesses or goings on occuring and the crime rate was pretty high. Now, it’s the hip place to be so the cost of living has gone up considerably since then.
The biggest pro for my move is that I won’t have to work full time and can focus on grad school. That’s the biggest weight from my shoulders yet. Just knowing that I’m no longer financially obligated to work 40 hours a week in addition to the 20 hours I spend in class and studying is like a fucking birthday present wrapped in bacon wrapped in puppy kisses.
It makes me able to tolerate the hipsters. Sort of. I hate them but I’ll try to tolerate them. Or I’ll just wear my sunglasses all the time so they don’t notice my eye-rolling. Being a grown up means making an effort.
You were a wonderful man, actually. Smart and witty, destined for success. I could always depend on you for a silly story or a random photo or video games or serious talks about how much harder growing up is than we thought it would be. You weren’t perfect. Sometimes you bugged me to death via text, your feelings were easily hurt, you could be wildly and irrationally arrogant, but you were such a good friend and you deserved so much more than being struck down by a drunk driver as you crossed the street to get a snack. You really deserved all of the wonderful things in life that you were working so hard towards.
I’m sitting on my couch looking at all of the video games you mailed me last month and wondering how I can possibly enjoy playing them now. I’m looking through all of the old texts you sent me, asking advice on talking to girls that are taller than you. Codename Operation Tall Hotness. I’m thinking about all the high fives we’d text each other, all of the “chin up!” messages when school was rough, about you visiting me last November, and more over, about how I just didn’t have the time to see you before you died when I was in Chicago. About how we had a spat over it. About how we made up. About how the last thing you texted me was “high three, erin rags! you need to work your way back up to a high five :/”
So now here I am, sitting on my couch, on my laptop, trying to draw up some measure of closure through writing and trying to wrap my head around the idea of you not living in Chicago in your tiny apartment reading through your gigantic law books. Teasing me about all the men I date. Begging me to mail you cookies. Texting me the work “scotch!” over and over again at 3am because you were truly the silliest type of drunk I’ve ever known. All I can say is that even though you were a staunch atheist and even though I know you’ll never read this little letter (nor would you admit it if you could, you stickler), I am going to miss you so, so much. There is a scruffy, five foot five Jesse-shaped hole in my life.
I had forgotten that we were born in the same hospital until tonight. Balboa Hospital, on the navy base back in San Diego.
The last two months of my life look like this. If I don’t find an apartment by this weekend, I might actually freak the fuck out. I live my life by planning and lists. Not knowing where I’ll be living in four weeks time has encouraged my blood pressure soar like a majestic eagle over an Alaskan river during a salmon run. True story.
I’m turning 29 this month. I know. 29 is really young. I’ve got the tiger by its tail, the bull by the horns, the world on a string. I’m young and pretty and in grad school and I have a job and a loving family and great friends and I’m dating a guy with a mustache that laughs at my shitty jokes. Everything is coming up roses.
Well fuck you, Mary Sunshine. While you’re raining down a maelstrom of positivity on me, maybe you can explain at what point birthdays changed from a fun event shared with one’s social circle to this obsessive, down in the dumps What The Fuck Am I Doing In My Life? inspection. Let’s face it, for the majority of your young life, you look forward to your birthday for weeks in advance. Cake, parties, presents, and friends. You turn 15, it becomes cake, parties, presents, friends, plus awkward and exhilarating sexual experiences. You turn 21, you add booze to it and ride a double rainbow of awesomeness into the next year of your life. Suddenly, you’re on the wrong side of 25 and your birthday just goes to shit. The three weeks before your birthday are filled with dread. All you can think about is where you are in life compared to people you know/hate and what the 9 year old version of yourself would say should your paths cross.
Usually I’m the one with the positive attitude trying to see the simple beauty in life, attempting to appreciate what limited time I have on this planet. I try to take a minute, breathe deeply, and think about the upside or how I need to give myself and others the benefit of the doubt and just fucking relax already. But now it’s April and 29 is looming just around the riverbend, Pocahontas. And then- sweet Jesus save me from this hell- is the unmentionable 30. It’s a whole other story with a whole new shitty attitude this light and bright April.
Adulthood is for assholes. You know that? It is. Grad school is incredibly difficult and time consuming, especially when you work full time. Working for an hourly wage, even if it’s because you need flexible hours to work with grad school obligations, makes you feel like a damn failure when you’re staring down 29. I feel like I’m trapped in a fucking Star Trek The Next Generation time loop episode from 1992 because every birthday since I hit 26 I have been able to say the same thing: I’m in grad school, I work at a coffee shop, and I just started dating this really great guy. I’m sick of it. I feel trapped. I feel like I’m in a rut. I feel like I need to make a big change in my life before I go absolutely insane and resign myself to a life of midwestern mediocrity.
Nothing says birthday celebration quite like far-flung obscenities, dissatisfaction with one’s socio-economic status, and a bitchy attitude. 28, you may have been fun, but you are wrapping this shit up real bitter-like. Let’s try coasting in for the last few weeks. Let’s not ruin a perfectly good year by going bat-shit insane and hammering one’s self-esteem into the ground like a railroad spike.
This was supposed to be cathartic but instead I feel like a decade of ignored emotions just farted in my face.
Trying to find a moderately priced, urban apartment that is well-maintained and doesn’t rely on flashy amenities is proving to be about as simple as herding seven alley cats into my bathroom and toilet training them while they howl a Capella Guns and Roses’ greatest hits.