1. The first summer sublet I had was more like a wide hallway. I moved into an apartment with two other women. I had a mattress, a wardrobe from IKEA, and… maybe a nightstand? It’s a little fuzzy. I was 20 years old. I did not actually have a room — Lisa and Christine each did, and they were very good about boundaries, letting me know when they had to walk through my “room”.
Plus, I had a boyfriend, so I wasn’t necessarily there every night. The boyfriend shared an apartment with two other men who were also his bandmates — a theme for me it would turn out — who put his bedroom above a sitting room by putting down plywood and a mattress on the exposed beams.
At least I could sit up in my hallway.
2. The Catbox, also known as The Escher House.
This was, hands down, the worst apartment I ever resided in. It reeked of cat pee. My room probably was the least smelly, but had little else to recommend it. The best thing about this apartment was that my share of rent and utilities came in under $100.
It was, truly, a living space only a college student could survive. My friend Kim Z. Dale lived there too.
I lived there first, and I think I only survived three or four months. I had three women roommates, and a guy who lived in the basement. (He had a cat, but his cat was not responsible for the stink in the apartment.) One of my roommates was very, er, enamored with her boyfriend, and we saw very little of her. Another of my roommates was, er, a lazy slob. She let dishes sit and sit and sit in the sink. I finally stopped doing them for her, and resorted to doing my dishes in the bathroom.
The other roommate was fine. She did her dishes. And she had introduced me to both Pearl Jam and Toad the Wet Sprocket, so who am I to bitch?
The other downside to this apartment — if I haven’t made it sound awful enough — was that if someone was in the bathroom, which had two doors, I couldn’t get into or out of my room.
3. My Second Favorite Apartment
Finally, I landed an awesome living space. My buddy Joe stumbled across this space, which was being newly renovated. It was a third-floor, corner apartment with a HUGE common space/living room, a small kitchen (where I am happy to report everyone did his/her own dishes), a small bathroom, and three decent-sized bedrooms.
The only downside to this space is that the drop ceilings in the bedroom disguised how drafty the windows were. I froze in the winter. We attempted to put up plastic to insulate my room, and it belled out almost comically.
Joe and I lived there for three years — and, no, we never dated; we were friends and roommates, only. The third roommate changed each year: Annoying Man, my brother, and Pete. Then we somehow landed a fourth roommate, who called himself Craivent. After he had crashed on our couch for a few months, I moved out. That was a mistake, although after three years of living with guys, I was pretty excited to move in with girlfriends in the House of Babes 2, which needs a blog post all its own.
4. The Studio
In a desperate bid to live by myself, I found a studio apartment on the South Side Slopes. If I hadn’t already lived in the Catbox, this would be the worst place I lived. I had slugs on the “porch” and cockroaches in the bathroom, and after six months, I moved in with a boyfriend — which was not romantic; it was practical, and ultimately, a mistake, also deserving its own blog post.
5. The Final Apartment
The last place I lived in as a single lady was my favorite. It was a one-bedroom, and it was simple and clean. Bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, and one of the nicest South Side kitchens I had ever had. It had room for an entire kitchen table with chairs! The kitchen got lots of light; the closet in the bedroom wasn’t very big, but it was all mine. My land-people lived upstairs, and they let me use the yard if I wanted. They kept to themselves.
Dan and I rented a house until we moved to the suburbs. I miss my old stomping grounds, but I do not miss many of those living spaces. It’s shocking what a college student will do to be independent!
How about you? Have a favorite apartment? Terrible roommates? Cockroaches?