Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Foul Mood!

Boy, I was in a foul mood last night, and for much of today (though today was more of a hangover from the mood -- mean reds seguing into the blues).

Moving out of my one-room apt. after over 4 years is supposed to be a GOOD thing, not a terrible one. But, boy, the rental market in Austin is terrible for renters right now. It really is disappointing not to be able to afford my humble dream of a place: a garage apartment or a duplex of at least 600 sq ft within a half-hour of travel to/from work. Those seem to be going for $1200-1500, and I had to face last night that even the low end of that is out of range. $1100, I actually can afford, but all I can get for that is a really nice one-bedroom (and, as I've said here before, I really don't want or need "really nice"---I prefer formica countertops to granite; I don't need a gym in the building or a dishwasher, etc.).

This morning I vowed that I was simply going to stop looking for a place this last week of work before a 2-week vacation---it was making me upset and unfocused at work, since I kept checking Craigslist every hour! But I do have one appointment tomorrow during my lunch hour: An older, funky complex---Old Austin. 2 small bedrooms. 720 sq ft. Top floor. No shared walls, just a neighbor downstairs. Best of all, it's a sublet, so no move-in fee OR deposit. And no dogs allowed---also Old Austin. (I like dogs just fine, but not since they've become an Austin fetish, with every bearded slacker in a plaid shirt walking his "rescue pit." Also not when they're barking or howling constantly next door.) I've seen pictures of the place via Google Maps---one half of the small complex faces its parking lot and the street, while the other half faces a bunch of trees in the neighbor's back yard... I'm praying that the apartment that I'm seeing will face the trees! PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE! One of the things that made my current apt. quite palatable was its huge window with beautiful trees outside---"Tree Friends Through Screen." A beautiful view every day. This place is also in a cool neighborhood: a cafĂ© 2 blocks away, a pizza place a block away, a drug-store on the corner, the supermarket a 5-minute walk away...

Oh yeah, the PRICE... $875!!! With that, I can get nice furniture, a big-screen TV, and... A CAR!

We'll see. I can't get too excited, because the let-down really has been big over the past several weeks, every time I got pumped up about a place then dismayed after seeing it in person.

Apartment woes aside, two nice things did happen to me today in the midst of my malaise: One, the man whose barbershop is at the bus-stop that I wait at in the morning came out and offered me a grapefruit! When I had to be honest and say I didn't really like grapefruits, but thanks anyway, he disappeared back into his shop and returned with...an apple and a "Merry Christmas"! :)  He and I have chatted several times over the years. He's actually the "stylist" for former football star Earl Campbell! I need to think of something cute that I can secretly leave on his porch...

The second thing: At my beer store this evening, the Pakistani owner asked me if I was coming from or going to a party! :)  (I was just in my work clothes, a sweater and cords.) When I thanked him profusely, he added that I looked very nice AND that he liked the way I walked! When I kind of laughed embarrassedly, he added, "No, really, I sometimes see you walk by the store...." He mimicked a stride, and said, "You don't walk anything like most of the people I see around here." !!! THANK YOU! :)

I hate being here.

Jesus Christ, I hate it.

I like my job. I'm grateful for it, for the financial stability after 4 years of temping after my 2010 return from NYC.

But I left Austin for a reason to begin with.

I hate the "slacker" attitude; I've always hated the slacker attitude. I now hate the new influx of even more idiotic, PC slackers from the West Coast.

I hate that I'm about to pay $1200 for a place that I don't particularly like, in a part of town that I don't particularly want to be in. And I hate the fact that paying this will break my bank. I'll have maybe $200 extra left over at the end of every month. At age 49. With a Master's degree. As an Editor.

There's no point to it.

At least when I was in Weehawken and paying $1550 for rent, I LOVED where I was. Weehawken and New York City were beautiful. I was both scared and mildly outraged by the price I was paying, but I nonetheless thought where I lived was beautiful, and I liked the people I was around.

I don't like the people I'm around now. Give you an example: In NYC, if there's an asshole on a bus or subway car, you can be sure that you probably won't see him again. In Austin, though, the public transportation choices are much fewer. For instance, my bus to work in the morning comes every half-hour. I can catch it at 7:43, or, if I get up way too early, I can catch it at 7:11. The 7:11 is much better people-wise, but to catch that one, I have to get up at 6am. That's hard. So I usually catch the 7:43. And 75% of the time on the 7:43, there are two assholes on it:

Asshole #1 is a young black gang-banger who always gets on at the supermarket and who is ALWAYS on his phone, even at that early hour, cursing at the top of his lungs about THIS SHIT and THAT SHIT, and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. My morning begins with his dumb-ass bullshit.

Asshole #2 is a 30-something flabby white academic who will strike up a conversation with ANYONE about both his academic goals and his medical problems. And if a person he recognizes is at the other end of the bus, then he will get up and move in order to have SOME type of idiotic conversation with that person, in his big booming voice. (He's got a hole in his diaphragm; he's applying to Michigan; his parents didn't usually decorate their tree; he's from Tulsa, yet he judges Austin's downtown architecture, et-fucking-cetera.)

I have to listen to both of these fucking idiots nearly every day.

Get a car and avoid them, why don't I? Because I can't afford to both get a car AND a decent place to live in Austin. At a $46K salary. I'm fucking trapped.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I've just figured out...

... I was a lot brighter than Ginny, Sandra, Mollie, despite their charms.

The one man I've slept with, the head of a state entity, was smarter than me. (And just as creative, albeit in a different way. You don't get to the top of anything without being smart and creative.)

I wanted Ginny to be new in Austin with me.
I wanted Sandra to talk poetry with me and then seduce me.
I wanted Mollie to fuck my brains out and talk art afterwards.

Most of all of this was from '83 to '89.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Going through my head all day today



This song still gives me goosebumps, as does their performance here (Washington, D.C., 1964) and the reactions from the audience.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I'm longing to linger 'til dawn, dear



"Dream a Little Dream of Me," 1957, from "Day by Night" (my favorite Doris Day album).

Sunday, December 07, 2014

1984: When All Was Still Possible (and Bono, Sting, George Michael, and Boy George were still beautiful)

The first and last gasp of my generation; I still get goosebumps listening to/watching this (esp. during Bono's and Boy George's bits)--while still wondering, "Who the hell is Paul Young?"

"Tonight thank god it's them instead of you..."


An Austin Place to Live w' a $1200 Rent Budget

After leaving NYC with my tail between my legs in 2010, unable to find work that paid my $1550-per-month rent and unable to find a cheaper place that wasn't in Queens, I came back to Austin to regroup. After staying with my mother for 3 months (3 months that she made as unpleasant as possible), I was finally, thanks to freelance checks from a publishing company, able to get my own place, back in the 'hood that I lived in before moving to NYC. Only this time in a 400-sq-ft apartment rather than the 800-sq-ft house I lived in from 2000 to 2007 (that I paid $825 monthly for the whole time).

The $545 per month that I paid in 2010 for the Austin apartment has, by 2014, increased to $750. Ads on Craigslist today show it offered at $815.

I now have a perfectly respectable middle-class job as an Editor, making in the 40Ks per year. Monthly gross salary, around $3700. After taxes, retirement system, and the near-$500 taken out of my paycheck to repay student loans (thanks, Dad, for not providing for your child's college despite your constant claims to "superiority"), I have $2400 per month net for everything: rent + all bills.

While living in this now-$750-per-month apartment for 4 years, my overall expenses have been about $1500 per month. Beyond the rent, the expenses have been electric/gas/phone/Internet, groceries, work lunches, beer, cigs, haircuts, etc.

If my ongoing take-home salary is currently $2400 per month, and my expenses (sans rent) are @ $750, then that leaves about $1650 for rent +  emergencies/savings/possible car.

I gave my move-out notice at my apartment a week ago. I have to move out by Feb. 2. In the past week, I've done some rudimentary apartment-searching: One-bedroom apartments up north near my work, for @ $850 per month, were small (600-sq-ft or less), grim, and depressing. A garage apartment near campus, in better shape but only 500-sq-ft, was $1200 --- and with a neighbor living below.

I'd thought that once I got a "real" job, that I would then be able to afford a decent place... "Decent" to me meaning mainly that I wouldn't have to share walls, that I'd have more than one room with more than 400-sq feet, that I might have a little outdoor space--say, a balcony or a small yard.

I still have the rest of December, plus all of January, to find a new place. But I'd hoped for something significantly better than what I'd been living in for the past 4 years while I was relying on temp and freelance work. Once I had a real job, I'd hoped for a real place... The market seems to be keeping me in the "student apartment" range. At age 49!

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After re-reading the above, the one question in my mind is: How in the world could someone making over $40K a year have to resort to living in shit-hole student apartments? Where am I supposed to go live--San Angelo, Beaumont? But my editing job's not IN San Angelo or Beaumont...

Friday, November 28, 2014

A box at the back of the closet holds bones and other mementos
of luck gone bad like third-day mutton.

She was sick that day. And a little after.
Laughter later giving her away
like her daddy would never do.

She never changed his shoes.
The dress she did change
had his paint on it.

"I wouldn't let them see that, if I were you."