The Old ApartmentThursday, January 19, 2012
Today's post is a writer's prompt from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
You stepped into your first apartment and thought...
"...why the hell is the toilet in a closet?"
My first apartment was kind of an emergency scenario. I was finishing up my journalism program in one province and got offered a six-month maternity leave position at a large daily paper in another province. It was a great opportunity and I jumped at the chance. The only problem was I had to move to a sketch-hole of a city where I knew zero people, and I had less than two weeks to finish school, find an apartment, and move myself down there. Alone.
I spent my 20th birthday with my parents driving to the city to look at a couple apartments I'd found in for rent ads in the paper. I didn't have any prior knowledge of this particular city - I just wanted a place where I could walk to my job at the paper. This meant I'd be living in the south end. The problem was the south end was dirrrrty. Christina Aguilera dirrrrrty. When we got there and drove through my parents went from looking unimpressed to panicked at the thought of leaving their kid in what essentially looked like a giant crack den. We saw people stumbling around at 11:00 a.m., broken glass everywhere, boarded-over windows, and just general riff-raff and grossness.
We drove to the first building I'd written down and I shit you not it looked like a legit haunted house. I took the liberty of Google Street View-ing the actual house. Here it is. Just swing that puppy round till you see the big brick house with ghosts popping out of every window and turret. "Keep driving," I said. I was freaked out at this point, looking at the list of addresses I'd written down for apartment viewings. I was going to spend the next six months living in a murder house surrounded by junkies with needles hanging out of their eyelids.
We went to the next address and it was a 100% improvement over the first. Still shitty, mind you, but it didn't look like a place where Dracula lived. It was a basement apartment, but bright and relatively modern. It was furnished, which made things easier for me since my furniture at that point consisted of one red inflatable chair. It was in a house with only three other apartments so there wouldn't be many epic battles for the washer and dryer. But the bathroom...the bathroom was an issue. As in, there was no bathroom.
Basically, as you were going down the hall from the living room to the kitchen, the shower was right there - just a glass door separating you in all your showering nudeness from the rest of the apartment. So having overnight guests was obviously not going to happen, because people don't typically like to shower in front of their friends and family, and there was no bathtub in this masterpiece. Next door was the toilet. You pushed open a folding closet door, went up two steps (??) and sat on this toilet on a pedestal. No sink. Just a toilet. So after you did your business you came back down the steps and continued to the kitchen to wash your hands in the sink.
The rest of the apartment was fine. New furniture in the living room; bright, open, cheery kitchen; decent-sized bedroom. But the bathroom situation. And then I thought about the haunted house. "I'll take it," I said. And I spent the next six months hiding out in a basement apartment with no bathroom and counting down the days until my job ended and I could move back home. I've never been so happy to be unemployed in my life.