Yesterday Kamel and I went to go look at apartments not in the city during his lunch break and in the afternoon. First of all, not in the city? I had been driven to this place by San Francisco’s shit hole, over priced apartments, or apartments that were alright and in areas that just made me sad. You may be one of those people with a lovely, decently priced apartment that you can see yourself in fro the next 5 years, but I am not one of you. And we have been searching and stalking craigslist and convincing ourselves that other neighborhoods are good, they’re good, they’re fine… we could make it work, no… no we can’t. We couldn’t possibly.
There are things my sanity needs in an apartment. The first is no bugs or vermin. I have lived with mice – lots of mice – and I have lived with ants – unrelenting ants. I need windows and light. Probably more than most people, and I don’t even think I have seasonal affective disorder, I just need natural light so I don’t feel like I’m living in a cave. And I need to be able to walk to things like grocery stores or convenience stores or public transportation or some restaurants or bars. I don’t want to live on an island. And those things are even above the basics for me – and you’re going to freak out when I tell you what some of the basics are that I’ve had a hard time finding.
- I need a kitchen that is more than a strip of linoleum in my living room.
- I need a bedroom with a door.
- I need the fridge to fit inside the kitchen and not be around the corner in the living room or hallway.
- I need a secure building and not a ground floor deck with giant glass sliding doors that anyone with some strength could open.
- I need a bedroom that actually fits my bed, and is not a studio with a large closet.
- I need an apartment that doesn’t have visible mold on the ceiling.
- And! I need us to not spend 1600+ for anything less than a 2 bedroom.
So where did that lead me? Out of San Francisco, to my trepidation. Yesterday we put a hold on an apartment in San Mateo, close to Kamel’s work. The apartment is about 200 sq feet larger than our current situation (I mean… there is a hallway. A REAL hallway! Instead of just rooms attached by portals that sometimes involve doors), has brand new carpeting, brand new windows with screens (!!), and FOUR closets – including a floor to ceiling pantry in the kitchen. You guys, I even have a full sized stove and a dining nook that’s off the main living room. And.. AND! Under the sink storage in the bathroom!! I wanted to make snow angels on the living room carpet right there in front of the leasing agent. Kamel was gritting his teeth at me and whispering, “poker face.” Yeah right.
After exploring downtown San Mateo (So many restaurants I had no idea!) and scoping out the neighborhood around our apartment again (We’re right up against a very quiet, normal neighborhood with homes and families), we headed home – back to the city. And we started to fa-reak out. Like meltdown city.
It was like a really, really sad (vs tender) version of Goodnight Moon.
Goodbye Park, Goodbye beach that we walk to all of the time, Goodbye amazing view, Goodbye favorite Italian restaurant, Goodbye knowing how to get everywhere without a google map, Goodbye Tommy’s Margaritas (SOB), Goodbye Land’s End and easily accessible views from the bridge, Goodbye 15 minute commute to my internship. Goodbye living in San Francisco.
Kamel asked me, “What do we tell people when they ask us where we live now? What do we say? We CAN’T say San Francisco. We hate those people who don’t live here and then say they do when they do not.”
“I would say …” I started.
“Don’t say ‘Bay Area’ Lauren, I hate that too. San Mateo. We live in San Mateo. I could do that. I could tell people that.”
“I was going to say ‘Outside of San Francisco.’ Ya know, for a landmark since no one knows where San Mateo is.”
Sigh. And then I really thought, what the hell are we doing?! AHHH! And by the time we got home we weren’t moving anymore, but we were simultaneously saying, “no no I can’t, we can’t, I can’t ever move, never!” and “Yes we can, think of all the crap stuff here, think of all the awesome stuff there. WE CAN DO THIS.”
And this morning I woke up and thought, “Goodbye smelly building, Goodbye creepy neighbors and stolen packages, Goodbye 330 days of fog, Goodbye terrible appliances, Goodbye broken windows with no screens, Goodbye ants (!!), Goodbye terrible parking and expensive lots, Goodbye 50 minute bus rides, Goodbye no storage, Goodbye never having people over.”
So, we still have a few questions for the leasing agent that Kamel is going to call on today, but I think we’re a go. We’re doing this. It’s going to be an adventure. And we have a pool and a BBQ area! So, pool party at my house. And we can walk to the train for a quick trip into the City. And it’s going to be fine. I’m going to mourn some things, and have some freak outs and so is Kamel. But we’re also going to have a better quality of life. And it’s exciting! It is. I’m excited. And terrified. And I feel silly about this. But damn, we’ve been struggling with where we live and I just don’t want to do that anymore. So it’s going to be good. And if it’s not, we’ll roll with it. We’ve learned we’re good at that.