San Antonio De Bexar: May 21, 2009
It’s one o’clock on a Thursday and I’m sitting inside of an air-conditioned home, feet propped up on the computer tower, coke zero in one hand, a frozen dinner in the other. My 4 month old puppy eagerly awaits the dropping of any morsel that may escape the grasps of my fork. The only sound I hear is that of the fan to my immediate left, gently reshaping my hairstyle into another form of chaos. I’ll probably put on my Yankees cap later, backwards, so as to tame the tresses that are otherwise untamable. Short hair is interesting.
Right now though… right now I’m partially dressed in my interview clothes. Despite my girlfriend’s fashion advise I rocked the vest today. Black pin-striped vest and pants with a pin-striped blue shirt. It brings out my eyes you see. I couldn’t find a belt so I went beltless. It is a dog boarding facility I was interviewing at, after all. How formal does one need to look for a job entailing picking up shit?
Apparently, I knew what I was doing because I got the job. It’s unofficial, of course–because she has a couple more applicants. But, she made it as official as possible, including sending me to get my drug test.
I have a knack for nailing interviews. I’m personable. I’m spunky. I’m energetic. I’m smart. And I give off this air of positive energy and happiness. It’s amazing how I do that. I think when I drink my pre-interview soda it literally acts as bottled win. Typically I just fail at life. But, in those 30 minutes where I’m doing my thang in the manager’s office–answering question after question with zest and flair–I’m someone different. I’m Work Sunny, who is completely different than Every other Time But Work Sunny. I oftentimes wish that every one important in my life–family, friends, Emily’s could see me at work. I excel. I am typically among the top of the employees in every category. My competitive drive that I channelled into sports and academics for so many years is brought to my job each and every time I clock in. Those hours are not my own to waste. I am counted on by a higher authority to do my best work. I am paid to do so. I am not satisfied with mediocrity in my mediocre job. It’s one of the ways I knew that I was destined for greater things in life. But, unfortunately, due to choices I have made and paths I have opted to take–I will have to put more effort in to find the place where I belong in this world. It hasn’t be shown to me on paper yet, but I will stumble upon it at some point and will feel a sense of bewilderment and relief upon its discovery. For I know it will seem incredibly obvious in hindsight, but at that point I will just be happy to have put all of this waiting to rest.
So, I’ve been in San Antonio for a 1.5 months now. I’ve moved three times in that same amount of time. I’ve stopped caring what my address is, for I know that this is not my home. My stuff is here, but this is not my house. I, for now, do not have a place to call my own. No place seems to fit my lifestyle, and I rarely feel welcome anymore. I feel rushed to leave when I visit my parents. My sister never wants me at her house. Emily can’t have me at hers. And as a roommate to anyone I always feel that the ot her tenants would rather me NOT be there if not for the financial reasons. Thus, this constant feeling of unworthiness is evident in the way I carry myself these days. I’m a literal minded individual. The words you say, the sentences that you choose to throw my direction with impact me just as they are stated. I can pick up sarcasm like a hawk picks up its prey, but all too often I get mortally wounded by words that were only meant to sting. I’ve noticed this has happened a lot lately. And I can only attribute it to the immense wealth of guilt, loneliness, desolation and despair that I am weighed down with right now.
But, it’s not all bad.
I am still here aren’t I?
Despite enduring what might be the most miserable month of my life (April), I’m still here. Upon my arrival here, I had no place to stay. I utilized my squatter’s rights and camped out in Em’s house much to the chagrin of her family (and herself, really) for two weeks until I jumped on the opportunity to live in a nice neighborhood less than a mile from my girlfriend. When we went to look at the house, I completely ignored the boxes and boxes of junk piled in the extra rooms. I blatantly disregarded the walls full of recorded VHS tapes and the six televisions in the living room–all turned on to various soaps, operas, documentaries and… Regis and Kelly. No, I did not pay a drop of attention to these things. I even failed to notice the landlords copious amount of facial hair, the deep purple bags underneath her eyes, or the white socks paired with flip flops. Completely.Unaware. All I knew was that the rent was right, the backyard was fenced, and the house was near Emily’s. Bingo. Bango.
So, I moved in. And my month of hell began. I believe it was karma catching up to me for all of the stupid things I’ve done in the past. This was my penance. First night we moved in, I realized that I had not one, not two, not threre, but four roommates. That makes five individuals in one house. Four to One bathroom. I figured I could make that work. I’ve always been fortunate to not have to share a bathroom in roommate situations, so I just assumed it was my time to pay my dues. So, I took over a vacant drawer, piled all of my tolietries in there and said my peace. I pretended to not notice the putrid smell curling underneath the bathroom door.
Emily and I finally unloaded all of my belongings from the car into my tiny bedroom on the second floor. Ididn’t have much, but there were items to unpack. We began to do so, and naturally made a little bit of noise in the process. We were quickly notified by Michelle, the landlord, that that degree of noise would be completely unacceptable. Thus, began the quietest and slowest unpacking session in the history of moving. It didn’t really phase me, however, because, well, it was 8 or 9 in the evening–and she is an older lady. So, I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
Yet the bitching and unhappiness never ended.
Here are just a couple of bits of proof that Michelle’s was Hell.
-Little post-it’s with smiley faces were plastered on every wall saying things like “Draught in SA, Conserve Water.” Drought was of course spelled incorrectly. But, the message was acceptable. I figured that, ok, I will try to turn the faucet off when I brush my teeth or something. But, no that was just not enough. I was told on more than one occasion to stop using water. The instances, you ask?
-I was washing the one cup and the one fork I have to my name in the sink, when I was told to stop because I was wasting water. This was the first and the last time I washed a dish in that house. The remainder of my meals were consumed at Emily’s.
-I was attempting to disinfect the tub/toilet area using copious amounts of 409 and HEB brand shower scrub. I had the water running as I was rinsing off areas of the tub, and was asked in a raspy irritated Middle Eastern accent “What are you doing up there?”. When I answered “cleaning,” she quickly retorted to “hurry it up.” Guys, there were shit stains and unidentifiable growing fungus in the toilet and shower. I had no way of hurrying any of that process up. . No way. No how.
-It was a posted rule that no water be used including/especially flushing the commode or taking a shower between the hours of 11pm and 7am. Um, really. Emily has a special tale of one night around 3AM trying to go use the lavatory, only to be welcomed with the overwhelming smell and sight of human feces piled in the toilet. She held it in the rest of the night, refusing to rest her rump atop such horribleness. I can’t blame her. I would have flushed the damn thing and done so more than once out of sheer and utter frustration and amazement at such a ridiculous way to save a buck or two. I mean Jesus CHRIST!
-To better identify with Dante’s Inferno, no AC was ever used in this house. She was a penny pincher to the extreme and wanted to get by on as few utilities per month as possible. So, no AC. Did I mention that I lived in San Antonio? It’s like the fucking desert here. My room, on more than one occasion, was over 90 degrees. That, my dearest of dear friends is unlivable. I had the window opened at all hours. Fans blowing on me non-stop. And I still could not even begin to get comfortable. I would stick to my air mattress, sweating my balls off (nonexistent as they may be), cursing to myself, and popping sleeping pills just to get through the night. Needless to say the heat won even when faced against the formidable opponent of NyQuil. To make matters even worse… my air mattress had a hole in it, so every night I would feel my fat ass getting closer and closer to the ground before I would just end up swallowed up by comforters and plastic. It was truly amazing. This coupled with the fact that my then 2 month old puppy would cry and whine all night long right in my ear. IT WAS FRICKEN SWEET!
-Michelle was a control freak, who did not want any roommates–but to foster her crazy lifestyle of not working, watching TV literally all day, and living in a nice house–she was required to. So, she never hesitated to bitch about things like the sound of my fans resembling an airplane hanger and how it was keeping her up at night. The simple solution was TURN ON THE GD AC NOW WOMAN! But, instead I was all, “Ok, I’ll turn the fans down.” And I would, of course, for a couple of minutes until my skin started to boil and I began to melt into a puddle of sunshiney goo. She gave literally nothing back to the roommates, but wanted to take take take all that she could from us. She tried on more than one occasion to convince me to A) take her to and from the airport at an ungodly time in the morning. B) watch her two dogs–one of whom was not potty trained yet, for TWO MONTHS while she was on vacation. C) When she decided she did not want the puppy any more she wanted me to take it to the pound for her. I did none of those things. She was not my friend. She was my mortal enemy. And I literally think I hated her. I’m not sure, though.
-And finally… the trash situation. I was naive when I moved into this house, because I sincerely believed that sewage/trash was a common utility provided by the neighborhood/city. But, I was wrong. Seriously wrong. Because we, at the Michelle de Hell, did not have trash service. The trash accumulated inside the front door and when it became ridiculous one of the roommates who worked at Walmart would take it with him and dispose of it in the big garbage bin there. This was our system. I was appalled by this. Because, you know, I have lady business that must be attended to–and I don’t want that nasty shit sitting by the front door for days. UNLIVABLE! And the best part was when I came downstairs only to find Michelle miraculously off of the sofa and digging through the trash I had just placed down there. She didn’t act embarassed when I saw her, and instead proceeded to ask if she could have several items–including a filthy, disgusting towel I disposed of from the bathroom floor. It had been acting as a bathmat for who the fuck knows how long. I replaced it with an actual bathmat. It was my sacrifice to the house. I was pleased to discover that some of the boxes she had taken from my trash pile ended up as decorations in her household. Did I forget to mention she was a hoarder? Oh, yes. Cardboard boxes played a huge role in her decor. They were filled to the brim with junk, but it was special junk of course. One man’s trash is in fact another man’s treasure. And that man is Michelle.
So, yes my first month was rocky. But, then I escaped the depths of purgatory to a new location a few more miles from Emily’s place. This is a nice two story home in a safe little neighborhood. My landlords are a sweet, Hispanic couple straight from the OC in California. They are Disney fanatics, but I overlook that, because they are a great set of folks–and I love them dearly.
Things are looking up. I’ve got a job, dogs, cats, girlfriends (ok, just one), and a roof over my head. It’s a good situation. Emily and I are fixing to move into a place together (FRICKEN FINALLY), and will stay there until she buys her house in about three months. So, this could be the beginning of a really good thing for me. San Antonio ain’t so bad. I mean Shamu is here.
I know many of you are perhaps incredulous at my optimism and beliefs that happiness may lay just around the corner. But, rest assured that my success here is dependent on my maintaining this level of idealism. As far-fetched as it truly might be, I need to believe that I can attain a life worth living. I can have it all. I can work hard, love hard, play hard, and live long and prosper. This can be done. I’m not destined to failure because of my past. And maybe this is where the future begins for me. Maybe the time is now.
On another note–I’ve fostered two dogs, found a new home for my Husky, bought a puppy who is my baby and the most important thing in my life (other than Em and my family), and am fixing to get another permanent one all in the span of two months. What does that say about me? That I do not get attached to things and I find objects disposable? Or that I’m just searching for the perfect balance of animals in my household pack? Discuss.
Thanks for reading.