|Ah, memories. They're scary.
||[Aug. 17th, 2003|12:17 am]
I wrote this as a response in lyssabard's journal, then decided to crosspost it here.
I lived in a rat hole when I was in graduate school. A basement room in a boarding house that had a little kitchenette just outside it. I didn't dare leave a single dish in the sink because when the toilet upstairs backed up, it was into the sink. (Insert all proper groans and "EWWWWW!!!!!!"s here.)
The room had no heat, just a little space heater that one winter night blew up and caught on fire. Even before the heater exploded I froze nightly in this damp and chilly subterranean room - I took to sleeping with a watchcap on in order to sleep at all. Once the heater was out I sometimes resorted to doing homework with gloves on. Fortunately it went out at the end of March and the landlord's refusal to purchase another (because they were obviously dangerous) did not affect me for long.
The landlord was a sweet old woman named Elsie, who wouldn't tolerate rent being even a day late, refused to let me move into one of the more expensive upstairs rooms when the heater died (I literally couldn't afford the extra $30 a month), but who had a soft heart for complete losers and allowed a schizophrenic homeless woman to sleep on the windowseat on the stairs, raid the refrigerator (stealing the boarder's food), and plague the paying citizens with her paranoid or hallucinogenic ramblings. She and I had several discussions about whether nuclear war was being instigated any minute now, and there was a daily report of the celebrities she had met wandering that day on the sidewalks of Eugene, Oregon - one learned quickly how to make pleased but noncommital exclamations, because any sign of doubt would lead to an hour of angry defensiveness. Elsie didn't want her there, but she didn't know how to get rid of her. One day she just disappeared and we never heard from her again. It was a little like that "missing something" sensation you get when your hiccups end.
She was followed by the woman who did pay rent but never showered (the stench was incredible), wore the same clothes all the time (never laundered), was equally insane, and who one day turned up strangled in a dumpster. Did I mention that this was also not the best part of town?
The point is, I spent a year in this hellhole, and you know what? I survived, got through school, did what I needed to do, and got on with life. It was tough while I was down there, but it didn't last forever. I got through it, and even managed to have a decent time in school while I was at it.