I’m moving, or to be a little more precise, I’ve made the decision to move out of my decrepit apartment building and with any bit of luck into a better area somewhere else in this vast and densely populated city. So I guess what that means is that I’m in the process of moving! Though to be perfectly honest I haven’t even looked at another place or bothered to open the “apartment for rent” ads in this Sunday’s paper. Because as usual, whenever I’m making a major change in my life I tend to talk about it first. Sort of try it on for size verbally, like I’m doing right now, or just blurting it out to any and all that will even listen. Such as the derelict who was seated next to me on the underground train yesterday busily mumbling gibberish to himself, and when I told him that I was thinking of moving, he looked all thoughtful and nodded indicating, to me at least, that he too thought that it was a good idea as well. And then after looking around to see if anybody else was listening, he told me that Arnold Schwarzenegger was beaming microwaves into his brain and did I have a few dollars for some aluminum foil so that he could construct a helmet to keep them out?
Of course I’ve only told a select few people so far, like my family or persons that I don’t know or really aren’t what you’d call close or anything. And for sure no one here in my neighborhood knows that I am planning on absconding to another part of the city because it’s not a really good idea to tell an irritable populace that makes its living off of Breaking and Entering heists that you’re planning on vacating the area anytime soon—thus leaving yourself wide open for unwanted intrusions and an object lesson in spreading the wealth. Though wouldn’t it just be almost fitting that when and if I do move to, let’s say, a hopefully less harsh environment, that I’m inadvertently held up by one of my former fellow urbanites as they ravage another district and mistakenly take me for some well to do citizen out for an evening stroll!
Nevertheless my mind’s obviously been working its way toward this decision for a while now, as I’ve done nothing but complain about where I reside since the very moment that I moved there. And these days even the littlest of annoyances seems to produce a yearning for better accommodations or at least another room to walk through and call my own. Like last week I couldn’t even watch a movie without dwelling on the size of the apartment that the protagonist, who’s supposed to be this low life junkie living on welfare, and here he’s got a two bedroom loft apartment with a panoramic skyline glowing away outside his massive front window! Meanwhile here I sit in my tiny one room efficiency studio with an unabated view of the ghetto while all over SF there’s all these “For Rent” signs posted up in the windows of empty apartments, like constant reminders that there’s a world out there to inhabit. One where crackheads and drunks aren’t the only people you encounter on the streets and where my car isn’t gonna be defiled on a daily basis by needle freaks looking for a safe place to fix.
Yet ya know I’m gonna begrudgingly miss this place when I do go! Because once the dope dealers and panhandlers get over their first suspicions that you’re a cop since you don’t get high in the alleyways or drink forty ounce malt liquors while lying in the dirt with them under the freeway, well, it suffices to say that the locals actually warm up to you and accept you in their own way. Just like only breaking into your car to get out of the rain rather than to actually steal it or asking you for money only when they’re really hurtin’ and they’ve got no one else to turn to but the people around them.
But when I think of it, what’s really holding me here in San Francisco? Memories of my last heroin OD or is it that I can almost see the county jail, where I spent a year and a half of my life, whenever I walk out my building’s front door? I mean you’d think a person would want to sort of get away from all those remnants of the hard times that his murky sordid past consisted of. Yet here am I not only immersed in it, but I’m still hanging out with dope fiends and criminals and I do it for a living! And it’s not like I wanna head up into the country and paint my mailbox blue or nothing, because I hate the country and its empty expanses of scenic dirt covered solitude. It’s just that maybe its time to try something totally different and out of my normal realm of contentment.
Or maybe I just need a new apartment in a neighborhood where I don’t hear gunshots at night and the locals don’t greet one another with “Yo Bitch!”
Now I could be wrong here and all, but for the first time in memory I can actually think of doing things without having fear and self doubt! Of course there’s plenty of time for both of them to come visit me later, so what’s the problem: A new neighborhood or a new beginning? The possibilities are endless and it’s just up to me to conceive the plan and then do it! Yet right now the only thing holding me back is the price of real-estate and the fact that I make less than most of the aggressive panhandlers that stand at the freeway off ramps with their “will work for food” signs!
But being broke, basically unemployable and handicapped with a criminal record has never stopped me before. I mean look at where I am now from being California Department of Corrections Number P16921 to an almost integral member of society. And just think, after I had completed three and a half years of high control parole I got to vote in the presidential elections!
And I get forced to pay taxes!
Now why do I want to move again?