Graduating college turns a page to a new chapter of adulthood, a semi-independent transition phase, when money becomes more valuable and harder to come by, and you finally have to face the realities you’ve been avoiding like health insurance and rent. For some, these realities also include car payments or student loans (marriage for the ambitious), but for me, by choice, it entails fending for myself for the first time…ever.
If you don’t know, I’m an identical twin, and although I rely on all of my family members’ support and communication, at the very least I’ve always had my sister. I’ve also always had support and company from great friends. I was homesick for Orlando all three years I lived in Nashville, and when I visited Orlando I’d miss everyone in Nashville. Now I’m in New York City, and I’m in love with the hustle and bustle, bright lights and late nights, but I have had to take resourcefulness to a whole new level I call makeshift.
There’s no pride in admitting to the corners I’ve cut to live as comfortably as a waitress in the job searching process can, but I want to paint an accurate picture of semi-independence, and I believe it’s my social responsibility to forewarn carefree college seniors of what lies ahead. If you’re a loyal reader you already know my mini studio is smaller than or comparable to any bedroom I’ve ever lived in with roach poisoning traps scattered about. When my super never returned to fix my dirty water my mom and I stuck a Brita filter on the faucet, and I now have a small, slow, pressure-less stream while the water that would be blasting leaks out of both knobs onto the counter. I was too anxious to find an apartment to notice 5A was missing an oven, and I now use a toaster oven when my stove refuses to light 9 out of 10 times I try.
My bathroom didn’t come with a hook or rack for my towels, nor is there much storage space for toiletries so I’ve added over-the-door hooks for both. Unfortunately these hooks impede the door from shutting and stop it with a five or six-inch gap. Without a sander, sanding skills, or money for a sander I make do and never close my bathroom door all the way. This creates a significantly awkward situation when guests have to use the restroom, but if my entire apartment’s going to be my entire bedroom as well, privacy’s already virtually nonexistent. I say, “Oh, the door doesn’t close all the way,” and don’t leave much room for further discussion. I also thought I got really lucky with a huge, mobile shower head, but my shower squeals and screams the entire time it runs. This is no longer a relaxing experience, it’s a race to get it over with. My dad would never believe I could shower this quickly.
I also don’t have a television despite the huge opening for one in my bookshelf/TV stand, nor can I afford cable or internet. My boss gave me a 32” flat-screen two years ago, which became my prized possession merely because it was free, and I let ex-boyfriend use it for the semester I lived in NYC. When there was no feasible way to transport it here my parents were going to buy me a new one until furnishing my apartment cost them a fortune. Ex-boyfriend was nice enough to mail the TV to me, but he accidentally dropped it on the way to the car, and I am television-less. I really don’t watch that much TV, and the shows I follow are all on Hulu, but I don’t make enough to pay for Internet, and with all this extra spare time I could use some Seinfeld re-runs.
Perhaps most shameful is the fact that I steal Internet from the one person in my neighborhood who doesn’t have a password by keeping my laptop on the windowsill. I am willing to rearrange the rest of my apartment around the computer’s strategic placement to catch Grey’s Anatomy and The Office every Friday night. I push my bed against the room divider and lay against pillows facing the window. If anyone saw how much trouble I go through to watch my shows comfortably, my pride would take a hit, but at least my wallet wouldn’t. Unfortunately, skype-ing with my mom yesterday has permanently cut off my free Internet, and I wrote this entire blog in hopes my computer would invite me back into the free network. I needed you to feel my pain. Such is [semi-independent] life. Now I’m forced to pay $10 in a cafe to use the internet they’re willing to pay for, which over time makes paying for my own really worth it. One life lesson at a time.
The thing is, when I walk Nugget to the East River, run in Central Park, or have coffee in Times Square I remember dreaming of moving to NYC since high school, and I realize I’d miss the city that doesn’t sleep if I moved back to normalcy. My big prices to pay are still small prices to pay to live my waitress-while-I-job-search dream come reality.
I have an interview on Thursday and I’ve officially applied to 50 positions. A job searcher’s feat.