Home sweet hell, collector’s edition

There are about a half-dozen times in a day when I think, “There’s a blog idea!” But, alas, something always crops up and the idea is lost forever. Probably just as well.

I have to go yell at my apartment-complex office monkeys on Saturday. I also realized that by tomorrow, I have to tell them whether or not I’m renewing the lease. Actually, if I have to give 60 days’ notice, then I should have done it three days ago. Le sigh.

I mean, it’s not like I’ve inherited a pot of gold. Nor has her royal roommateness gotten off her tuffet and given me my life back. I know exactly where I would live, if I could move.

Dreaming out loud here, I have two places in mind — a swank little 1BR plus loft in a chi-chi area, or a sensible 2BR (with two baths this time. I can’t share anymore. Bad enough I have to fucking share everything else) in an OK area. (Or, Option No. 3, stay here. *hork*)

And in case anyone missed the memo, I fucking loathe the suburbs. Am city girl. And, by golly, if these are the best years of my life before I buy the minivan and shuffle it to soccer games, then God damn it, give me my city living.

I had a long talk with a good friend the other day, in which it became immediately apparent just why I become violently ill at the thought of never getting my mommy out of the house.

1. Birth to age 3, lived in a two-bedroom rowhouse. Yes, the projects. I shared a room with my mom and my grandfather. My great-grandmother had the next room. My grandmother had the couch. My cousin and her daughter stayed with us for a while during this period. I believe this was my onset of claustrophobia.

2. Age 3 to 10. Lived in an apartment with mom and abusive, drunken stepfather. I was often locked in my room while he had violent, drunken tantrums. Lots of property damage. And what’s funny is I remember the landlord looking at me and saying, “She’d better not upset the apple cart.” It was a weird phrase that stuck with me. Who, ME be loud? I wasn’t the one who bounced the thanksgiving turkey off the wall while still in the pan. Oh NO, I sat in my room quiet all day so as not to bother anyone (read: him).

Age 7 to 10, grandparents rented very nice house on very nice street. I had my own bedroom! With a canopy! And a Mickey Mouse phone that worked! And a Barbie Dream House! I LOVED going there on the weekends. Neighborhood girls were whores, though. Hated ’em all. Preferred to play alone in the backyard — my first and only one.

3. Age 10 to 13. Shared a bedroom with mom. By this time my grandparents had gotten a duplex near my school. Grandfather had a room. Great-grandmother in hospital bed in dining room. Grandmother on couch. Dysfunction much?

4. Age 13 to 18. Moved again. Every house they rented, we got kicked out of as they were sold and the new owners wanted to live in them. Nice little house. I kicked and screamed to have my own room. Needed a quiet place for homework and to write my books. And my family? Nebshits. Always in my business.

Got my own room. Grandfather had one of his own, as did great-grandmother. Mom and grandmother shared the living room. When my great-grandmother died, they moved into her room and shared the bed.

5. Age 18-22. Moved the fuck out. Mom took my room. Grandmother got sick. Hospital bed in living room. On my own, went through various roommates till I was 26, and again from age 28-29. Great people (most of ’em), but nothing makes me want to smother someone more than having them in my personal space. Even if they’ve done nothing but breathe the same air. Clearly, I have issues. But can you blame me?

6. Age 22-31. They got kicked out of that house. Moved to “The Ghetto,” as I called it. Dilapidated townhouse. Next-door neighbor was bona fide crack whore. Mom and grandfather had the bedrooms; grandmother in hospital bed in the living room. When I stayed over, slept on my friend’s couch that I’d bought from her for $80 so I could have a place to rest.

Amid all this, my grandmother died. So I kept bringing boxes from my various moves so that they’d be inspired to leave for greener pastures. But the boxes were piled to the ceiling. I bought them a new TV, which made them line up the boxes on the other wall. That TV was put on top of the non-working TV. (In Pennsylvania, this should go without saying.)

7. Age 31-32, mom and grandfather moved to cute 3BR rental house. Clean, pretty, no boxes. Lived there nearly one year till my grandfather was murdered by the incompetents at Veterans Hospital.

8. Age 32. Mom held on to the house for a couple of months. Met derelict boyfriend; he moved in. He moved out and took her stuff (and eventually her) with him to ugly little carriage house in neighboring town. I had JUST moved into brand new shiny 1BR near work that I loved. Canceled THAT lease real fast due to impending inheritance of said maternal unit.

9. Age 32. Derelict boyfriend dropped her on my doorstep. And kept her stuff. And moved back in with his ex-wife. Whom he hadn’t actually divorced. Who is now enjoying all her stuff.

10. Age 32-34. Living in OK but certainly not spectacular 2BR. Everything breaks. Repeatedly. 1,068 square feet too small. Boxes stacked up to the ceiling in all rooms. Just like The Ghetto. I still have nightmares of that place, then I wake up to realize that EVERYTHING I RAN AWAY FROM, HAS FOLLOWED ME.

11. Age 34-?. How does the song lyric go, “We’ve gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do. …” I don’t want to move because I have to take her with me. And I can’t afford anything better. And yep, it’s all on my shoulders. And it’s hard to run away from your problems when you’re under obligation to cart 175 pounds of baggage wherever you go.

Wow, this was surprisingly therapeutic. Didn’t solve anything, but after I told my friend about all the uncomfortable living conditions — that I’ve tried SO HARD to overcome — it gave her a real insight into me and how I keep everyone at arm’s length because IT’S THE ONLY FUCKING SPACE I CAN POSSIBLY GET.

I am more successful than anyone in my family, but when am I going to be old enough to fly the nest without them coming to crap on my twigs of my very own?

I think it explains a lot about me that I hate noise. Chatter makes me nuts. Unless I’m the ringleader, of course. 🙂 I work in silence, I come home and don’t speak. I don’t talk on the phone anymore. I don’t really talk online if I don’t have to. I like small, intimate in-person groups of friends, both at work and outside of it.

And it’s funny because I found myself walking in on chaos recently. Creativity was bubbling over in a brainstorming session. I got pulled in … sucked in. And I was outright exhausted when I left. I was out of ideas. Out of energy. Out of my mind with having spoken more words in one hour than I had in the entire previous day.

And, in retrospect, I rather liked it. I was challenged. I was out of my comfort zone. I was pushed to perform on command. And I did.

I never envied people with big families. A guy friend of mine always said he’d love to find a “nice orphan girl” so he wouldn’t have to deal with any crazy in-laws. (O HAI, didja notice me over here? One family member to my name, at least, till I smother her with a pillow.)

I liked my peace and quiet. I still do and always will. But damn, to have someone else sibling-like in nature who could share the burden? I would give ANYTHING to not have the weight of the world on my thighs AND on my shoulders, even if just for half of the year.

Oh well. Keep dreaming. I keep reminding myself that God has done this for a reason … well, a reason OTHER than torturing me for all those years I spent as an atheist witch. … 😉

3 Responses to Home sweet hell, collector’s edition

  1. Sabre :

    I can really, really relate to this. We moved from one lousy dump to another when I was a kid, often times with whatever roommate and gaggle of kids my mother made friends with that year. I’m extremely sensitive to my space now.

  2. Mel :

    I have some awesome roommate stories but when I was a kid I had a room the size of a closet. really it was an enclosed porch. but i guess at least it was mine.

  3. Sabre :

    I had to come back to this… I had a dream last night of childhood. Remind me to tell you about my mother’s roommate Beth, and her son Pee Pants Brian.

    Good times.