This week I'm "celebrating" the three-year anniversary of living in my current apartment. Since leaving my parents' clutches, I have not lived anywhere for so long. The closest I've come is the first 17th Street apartment in Santa Monica, where Laurel and I lived for 2 years and 11 months. The longest I've lived anywhere alone was the Emerson Avenue apartment in Minneapolis, where I stayed for 2 years. There were a few other places that clocked in at just under 2 years (Date Street in Brea, the inaptly named Camarillo Chateau apartments in North Hollywood, though I switched apartments from the first to the third floor during my 22 months there).
So really, from the standpoint of a single man, a lone entity, my Melrose Hill apartment is the closest thing I've ever had to a "home."
I'm not sure how I feel about this.
January, 2006: Laurel and I decide (well, really just Laurel) that we should get separated. I spend the next month and a half sleeping in the living room of our second 17th Street apartment in Santa Monica. (I always liked the grittier first 17th Street apartment more.)
February 25, 2006: Laurel and Mike helped me pack my things and half of the things I shared in the marriage. I drive the U-Haul east on the 10 freeway and north on Western Avenue. I make a right on Lemon Grove. My first thoughts upon getting settled in? Thought #1: What a lovely view. Thought #2: This is the loneliest place in the universe / I don't want a divorce.
February 25, 2006 through today: I buck up and recover from thought #2 but not without long months of avoiding the bedroom so I can sleep in the big room, not without a series of 2-week to 2-month relationships that should have been attempted under better circumstances, not without a too-large devotion to premium cable TV series (Weeds, The Wire, Big Love, the late lamented John From Cincinnati), not without long summers and short rainy winters, not without a hornet's nest of hornets.
(Thrown in there were some court papers, a failed cohabitation with a longer-than-2-month girlfriend, two separate furniture overhauls, two near-moves, loud neighbors who have since been quieted, the death of a cat,
quiet neighbors who are never seen, a nearby gang shooting, an altercation of a parking space that turned so weird I haven't parked on that particular block since, and the eternal search for a parking space)
But there have been some benefits. There's the amazing view. From my window or porch, I can see the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory (I watched much of the surrounding hills burn in the 2007 fire), the Roosevelt Hotel, the Capitol Records Building (iconic to me ever since Archie and the gang went to go see it in one of their comic books), the expansive Hollywood Hills, and the garish businesses of Western Avenue. My hardwood floors are lovely, as is the kitchen tile floor. The washer and dryer are effective. I share no walls with no neighbor. And... The list really should be longer.
But enough complaining. I have a home. I have enough space. My furniture is stylish and manly in a post-divorce way but not in a permanent-bachelor way. I have health. I have one cat (Lily, a complainer for sure, but damn is she cute.) And really it's not about where you live but what you do when you're there. In other words, stop longing for the other.
(Quick aside: I just took a break from writing to check my email and play a quick game of (solo) Scramble on Facebook. I broke my old record of 193 by getting to 200. My last word was "dos" for 1 point to reach 200 with 1 second left. So much adrenaline. So much relief. This may have been my happiest moment ever.)
I think one reason I search for something else is that I truly sincerely want something else. For one, it would be great to live with someone else besides my rambunctious little old cat. I liked marriage. Didn't really want it to end, despite the reasons for it ending. So besides someone to live with, there's the (seemingly) eternal search for love. And children would be nice. And if someone could help me organize my CDs. And if I could just press a button to magically update and organize all my iTunes playlists. And if my dishes would clean themselves. That's alll I want. Not asking for much.