Thursday, February 19, 2009

my quiet life

There are certain things - many things really - that I've recently realized I take for granted about my life, specifically regarding the city/location I call home. Considering the prospect of living halfway around the world for a year has made me think about this stuff in a new way.

One example is my cat. He is so much a part of my life that I often don't think about him much. It's automatic for me to glance over at him, curled in a ball on the sofa, to wake up early in the morning when he meows in my ear to be let outside, to hold and cuddle him as soon as he comes in so he can get on with his day (he requires this cuddling, not me, but I usually don't mind it), to let him sit on my lap as I use the computer and pet his extremely soft bright-orange fur. I like having him around.*

Second is the incredible cheapness of Cincinnati as a place to live. I live less than two miles from the center of downtown, but pay only $300** a month to rent a 350-square-foot studio apartment. Sure, it's basically only one room; my kitchen's tiny but I have a decent bathroom with tub. The house is 119 years old (high ceilings and big windows, check, plus exposed brick!), and the door and windows let out a lot of heat so my gas & electric bill isn't cheap. Still, my rent and utilities rarely top $400 a month. They're usually about $350. As a bonus, I can park my car right out on my little tree-lined street, often within 50 yards of my door. This is a good value. I will probably never live in a cheaper home, anywhere.

A third thing is my parents. Right now I live less than ten miles from their house, and it's nice to be able to drop by - especially now that Andy, my younger brother, has moved out (they're still adjusting to being empty nesters).*** I have a thing about the phone. I really dislike it. I'm very much an email person, but with my closest friends and family, I largely prefer in-person contact.

I'm a very solitary individual. I lead a mostly solitary life. I live alone (with aforementioned cat). I shop alone. I even go to movies and restaurants alone. I have just a few good friends, and a few close family members. But having those people around is quite nice. I would really miss them.

*Needless to say, if I were to take a job teaching in Asia for a year, Zachary would have to live with a friend that whole time. And I would have to, before leaving, find a friend who could and would house and love him, which wouldn't be easy. He's kind of high-maintenance.

**About five years ago, I got a summer job as a leasing agent at a large apartment complex. I learned a lot about square footage and leases and market values. That summer was the summer I moved into my current place, and my negotiating skills were sharp. The asking rent had been $350. After my first year, I'd established a friendship with my landlord, and he hasn't raised my rent at all. I'm on month-to-month now, but I've told him I might well move out by summer. I have outgrown the place, much as I like it.

***Andy is currently living in New Orleans and working as an intern for a nonprofit - building houses and other things and doing a lot of other stuff too. He'll be there until the fall.


mames said...

there is something to be said for home. the rhythm sometimes comforts and sometimes stifles. believe me, i never thought i would be raising my children in the same home in which i grew up. odd, how life takes us...i like to think where we should be. looking forward to any developments. keep posting here, i saw your note on FB (blush) but i never really use FB. it confuses me which makes me feel old.