Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The good news is that I've found a place to live and I'm moving on Saturday. So excited and exciting to be leaving this apartment, which as been great, don't get me wrong, but wow, I am so glad to leaving. Great in that it's been awesome living in San Francisco, living on a busy hip street above shops and restaurants, and really, I've always wanted to live in a place like this but now I get to live on my own plus two cats in a really great space over in Oakland. I looked at around twenty five apartments over the last six weeks. Of those twenty five, the one I'm moving into is the only one I got excited about. Yesterday my roommate said moving to Oakland is a good idea. More like a good feeling. Searching searching searching and stressing for a while is a productive process. Like writing a poem or teaching a class. Thank you for your support.

But about that housing search, this city is so crazy. I've lived in five big U.S. cities and I've never had to work as hard to find an acceptable place to live. And I'm no slouch. The story is that the dot com people really changed the landscape as far as affordability in the mid 90's. A huge influx of people with money came to the area and ever since the powers that be have been catering to them as well as the standard corporate interests, which of course, is nothing new. Gavin Newsom did not do nearly as much as he could of in terms of keeping affordable housing in the city, and I've read that the homelessness problem in San Francisco can partly be attributed to Newsom and Brown's development policies. The working class have largely been pushed out of the city. That said, sometimes new comers like me luck into affordable situations like the apartment I've been in. I had no idea how good I had it until trying to find a comparable situation elsewhere. And then there are the people that have always lived here, the family that live on the second floor of this building, Six people in an apartment the same size as the one my roommate and I have shared with two cats.

It's hard not indulge in bitterness or cynicism around this whole process. The stencil on the sidewalk reads: "Sanctuary City for the Rich." And there is some truth in that, but more personally, I want to live in a humane space, i.e. a space with room for everybody, a little sun, a heater. Last Saturday I met the property manager at my new place, walked into the apartment, looked around, thought, wow, this is amazing, and said, wow, this is amazing, I'd love to rent it, and she said okay, send me your stuff, and that was that. There wasn't an involved process, there wasn't twenty desperate people trying to make a good impression, there wasn't a fax machine or rental application or gigantic impersonal landholder involved. So simple! They way it should be. In other news, an old poem was recently published by the journal Bath House, along with an audio version of the poem which is kind of cool. Have a listen.