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 café 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! :)