Rents for one room with kitchen/bath (at least 400 sq ft) in Weehawken/West New York/Union City, as of tonight on Craig's List: around $950.
I'm currently paying $600 for the same-size space in Austin.
If I had my exact same job situation and could pick where I lived, I'd pick Weehawken in a second. But I don't. I do like Austin, and I'm grateful for the temp work and for my relatively quiet, decent Eastside apartment... But for only $350 more a month, I could be where I wanted to be...
It's so frustrating being trapped by finances instead of being guided by your soul! My "soul" craves WINTER, for one thing. For another, I liked being around a huge hodge-podge of people in NJ/NY. In Austin, people are kind of generically white yuppie/hipster (plus scattered homeless)... San Fran light. I can't stand that PC shit. NY has plenty of that, of course, but since there are billions of people living in the area, the PC-faction is a minor one, and thus not so irritating. In Austin, the self-satisfied are much more prominent. (But I can't understand WHY they're so self-satisfied...because they recycle? because they don't have embedded lawn sprinklers? because they voted for Obama? because they don't watch TV?)
It would also be nice to be able to feel INVIGORATED again. Austin's definitely NOT the town for "feeling invigorated"! :) Jesus, but it's passive. Well, "passive" as long as you yourself look and act like you're also "passive." Exhibiting any "non-laid-back" tendencies -- like expecting good service from a store or from your landlord and complaining when service is sloppy -- reveals the nasty, irritable underbelly of the so-called "laid back" set.
There's a "code" in place in Austin: Act like everything's cool, man. I refuse to be blind and stupid like that. Complaining has a bad rap, but sometimes complaining is what's needed to fix a problem and get things on a right track. Since when did "everything's cool" -- despite whatever obvious crappiness -- become the standard? However Zen-like "everything's cool" might sound, the concept is, in practice and actuality, a horror!