I mentioned previously about having written the first sentences of three good posts.
This is not one of those posts.
After coming down from the house on that hill just north of my hometown, I haven’t stopped in any one home for more than 12 months. Every time I open a window to let in a breeze on the first day of summer, it’s the first time for that window. Every time I snuggle back into bed on the first cold morning of autumn, it’s a different bed. They say you can’t step twice into the same river, but I haven’t even tried.
Changed rooms every year of college, so that’s six domiciles: dorm with friend, dorm with another friend, dorm with guy who never became a friend, house with three girls, house with one fewer of them, then an efficiency on 42nd, if I recall. Haven’t had a roommate since.
Then I had my fuckit moment and moved into a fifth-story two-bedroom with no elevator, arranged for me by my new boss in Guangzhou. My second fuckit moment put me in the luxurious three-bedroom mansion of an apartment in the banana-farming suburbs, owned by a close friend’s relative. A desire for a shorter commute put me in a two bedroom fourth-floor walkup with the window that will always be the place that I was sitting when I suddenly realized, for the first time in my adult life, that I was happy.
When the disillusionment with everything that made Guangzhou what it had become to me weakened my affection enough to succumb to the move-it-along itch (personally, not specifically geographically), I ended up on the thirteenth story of the tallest building on Longhua Road, a backstreet off the main avenue of a mid-size (3 mil) tropical island capital in which nobody I knew of could speak any English. Summer, season and person both, showed up just in time to help me pack when the time came to go to Beijing.
Took me a long time to decide that flight was worth taking. After a year on Chaoyang Road, I traded up for a dingier apartment next to a higher-paying job (notice how I avoided saying “better,” even though I must grudgingly admit that all I’ve been through in the last couple years has not only not killed me, but made me stronger [not to imply a correlation]) that paid off when I doubled my rent the following year for the fanciest address I’ve ever had, the kind that often invokes a little “Wow” and serves to let other people know you mean business.
Not that I mean business, though, or at least that kind of business, which is why I’ve just halved my rent again (plus change) for a thirteenth-story apartment outside the fourth ring, the kind of address that often invokes a little “Wow, that’s far” even though it really isn’t. It’s a house where the cost that should be incurred by its first highlight (its size – biggest I’ve ever lived in) is offset by its second highlight: the green living room, red TV wall, yellow kitchen, and pink bedroom.
I haven’t named this place yet, but “The Crayon Box” and “The Kindergarten” are two candidates.
A note for posterity: luck works opposite for me. 13 is my lucky number. This apartment is not only on the 13th floor of Building #13, it’s also at entrance #4, which is an unlucky number in Chinese (my office building has no 4th, 13th, or 14th floor). That would have been – nay, was – enough for me to sign the lease sight unseen, but when I finally did get in to do the routine inspection with the landlord, I accidentally broke a mirror and knew that I was home.
Right! So, let’s get down to business. Objectives for this year include: output. Started recording a radio show, which I co-host and co-edit with different co-s, and whose episodes haven’t yet reached a quality or quantity that would make us feel good about putting it up yet. Writing now. Getting ready to do another show. Thinking of doing a solo podcast. Looks like I might translate a book.
With all that happening, you might wonder when I have time for a full-time job. Excellent question.
All this and more, on the next episode of: Me Continuing to Be Alive.