I’ve been utterly crushed with work lately, which is both good and bad — I should be able to get caught up on some bills but at the same time, coding and design work sap all my creative brain energy and the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer a few more hours. So Mythodrome has been lagging a bit.
I’m getting closer and closer to complete drop-out mode just simply because I can’t stand it. When I look over the last couple of years I realize that the things others consider truly tragic have been actually the things that make me feel better. For example, I spent about two months in 2009 living in a van. I was genuinely all right in that van! The way-back seat was motorized so at the press of a button, it would bzzzzz down into a bed, and a super comfy bed at that. I slept in a state park and showered there, and did my cooking over a fire. I had my clothes, my sketchbooks, and a few things I needed. It was solitary, comfortable, and peaceful.
My semi-squat is another supposed tragedy — on my god, Paula’s living in an abandoned duplex in the ghetto. The other half has been gutted and is completely trashed, totally uninhabitable. Well no, it’s not abandoned, I’m here. I’ve paid upwards of $700 a month for apartments that were not as habitable as is this one. For the first several months I was here, I hated it. All I wanted was to make enough money to get a “real” apartment. It slowly dawned on me that leaving this place to pay several hundred dollars a month for less space and more rules would be insane. I took stock of what I’ve got here and holy shit, this place is a gift from the gods. I keep expecting the man to come in here and harsh my mellow but I don’t even know if that will ever happen. There are houses on this street that have been abandoned for years and no sherriff’s sale, no foreclosure, no nothing. As far as the market is concerned, this place is quite literally worthless. It is not even worth the money it would cost to conduct a sherriff’s sale or a foreclosure.
Here’s another supposed tragedy — my bed. I have a really nice queen-sized mission-style platform bed with an expensive futon mattress in storage. I have not brought it here in the event I have to pack up on short notice, and I haven’t wanted to risk losing it. So I got an air mattress. A nice one, but it’s an air mattress. What a sad state of affairs. Well, no — actually my air mattress is quite literally the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on in my whole life. I sleep like a baby, wake up with no aches and pains. If I had to replace my whole bed setup on short notice, pillows and everything, I could do it for less than $120. And that’s buying everything brand new.
And woe unto Paula, for her house has no heat! Pittsburgh winter with no heat! I have two space heaters and that’s it. There’s been times when Zeke and I could see our breath in here, but the two space heaters keep my work corner plenty warm. The kitchen is cold, the bathroom is cold, but I’ve gotten used to it. And in fact, when I go to other peoples’ houses I’m sweltering. It seems crazy to me to keep every last inch of every single room perfectly toasty day and night. My electric bill for the whole winter so far is about $450 — less than a single month’s electric heat for most standard sized houses.
For a while last summer, I was working 20 hours per week and making a grand total of $900 – $1000 per month. Money was really fucking tight, to the point that I was going hungry sometimes, but I had free time. I miss that terribly.
So I guess in writing all this out, it helps me see that I have some further downsizing to do if I want to be able to pursue the things that really interest me. I’ll have to get out my calculator and do some planning. With no rent, $1000 per month should theoretically be a breeze.
I’ll keep track of my downsizing project here for you guys. And thank you for indulging me this rant.