Kerry Elson, Contributor
Hi, Mom! I’m in my new apartment! It looks great! Yeah, I just picked up the keys and I’m standing inside. Well, I’m almost standing up completely inside. If I fully extend my neck, then yes, my head presses against the ceiling, but I can learn to stoop!
I can’t believe this deal! All I had to do to secure this place was give them my first month’s rent, my last month’s rent, a security deposit, rent for all the months in between the first and the last, and a letter verifying that I toured the apartment before signing a lease and I am absolutely sure I’m ready for the next frontier in city living!
How big are the windows? So, this is interesting. This is one of those apartments that’s window-free. Yeah, they said I should think of it as a rodent’s burrow, except that I’ll be living here and I’m an adult woman. There’s even dirt on the floor like a real burrow. They said that for decorating ideas, I might want to reread The Wind in the Willows.
Can I see my hand in front of me? Technically no. Technically no because this apartment doesn’t have overhead lights. But again: think rodent’s burrow. Picture a table lamp casting a warm glow on a needlepoint hanging that says, “Home Sweet Home,” like in a hole that a mouse has dug at the base of a tree stump.
How’s the bathroom? So, another interesting fact about this place: the bathroom is down the hall! The broker said that a shared bathroom is a great way to meet neighbors because so often we’ll be waiting in line to shower and making plans to share cleaning duties. Again, if we think of a mouse’s burrow, does that have a bathroom? Right! So it’s in line thematically that I would use a bathroom that’s outside of my apartment.
Of course there’s a super! Apparently all I have to do is slip a note under his door with a maintenance request along with a red rose, and then he never comes – that’s how it works, the broker said. So the management company gave me a fully stocked tool kit along with the lease so I can fiddle around with pipes all by myself!
There is an outlet, yes. Um, only one outlet. I believe I saw it in a cabinet, toward the top. But you know what? I’ll use one long extension cord and then I can plug in everything I need. If I blow a fuse, that’s when I whip out those peach-scented candles that the management company gave me, as well. I could put these candles into cute, brass candlestick holders and carry them around while wearing glasses and a nightgown, like an elderly mole.
The kitchen? Also intriguing: this place has a portable burner so that I can cook wherever I want in the apartment! Additionally, I received a free cooler so I can keep perishables fresh in any location – by the door, by the opposite wall, or halfway between the door and the opposite wall. Everything in this place is customizable!
It’s not a walk-up, no. This is actually what they call a walk-far-down. Meaning to enter the apartment, I go down some stairs toward a basement apartment, but then I walk past that. And I keep going down. Exactly, yes – the apartment is below the Earth’s crust. They said it’s the safest place I’ll ever live!
There’s even a closet! The broker called it a walk-in closet and I believe he’s correct because if I really try, I can in fact walk into it and stand still. I can even close the door on myself, sit down, and start crying. I can’t wait to stuff all my belongings in there and feel like Carrie Bradshaw.
I’m so excited for you to visit me in my new place, Mom. Bring your headlamp!
Kerry Elson is a teacher and writer in New York City.