Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Home Sweet Hovel?

Recently, after another one of my rants about my landlord, a friend of mine called me cheap for not moving out and finding a better apartment. Hmmm. I didn't know how to react to that. Is low rent really the reason why I put up with things like outdated electrical connections, faulty heat, leaky windows, a shower-no-tub bathroom, uneven floors and the annual summer centipede infestation.... And if so, what does that say about me? Low self-esteem? Low standards? Bad money management? Fear of change? Not growing up? Why DON'T I spend a little more money for a much better home? What's holding me back from "progress"?
I was starting to worry, then I considered the source of the question. This friend is a suburbanite who always lived in a house with a family - he's never had the experience of single life in the big city - particular New York City, which is a one-of-a-kind metropolis. What I mean is that he doesn't understand that shabby apartments are sort of a rite of passage for big city living. Vermin, extreme temperatures, weird neighbors, .... we'll complain about it, but for affordability and location, we'll tolerate almost anything - maybe even glorify it. "It's got character" Ironically, it's part of the grotesque charm of city life. Maybe that's part of the hipster disease. Maybe it's the challenge of making something beautiful out of something ugly. Maybe it's the bragging rights "I survived...". Whatever it is, I won't feel embarrassed about it. Nice mid-range apartments in NYC don't exist. It's luxury at a mile-high price or shabby at a rate that won't entirely break the bank. Either way, you're ahead of the game if you don't have to have roommates. By those terms, I've won!
So why have I stayed in my flawed little apartment for 7 years? Because that's the culture. I just accepted it. And because time has flown by - so I guess I've been having fun in this little hovel!

Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't jump if I found a lovely, safe, big apartment in close to the subway, with a bathtub, dishwasher, laundry, lots of light and a good super.... But it'll still have to have "character". :-)
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