Friday, July 06, 2007

Suburban Hell

It's clear to us now why we can't seem to figure out this city: it's hardly a city at all. In fact, what we now know for certain is that we've entered a suburban hell. Today we drove to Roseville, where Andrew will be working, and realized with horror that he'll be working in an office park. Few things, for me, are more depressing than an office park. Freeways wind around the area, which has no sidewalks but an abundance of malls, fast-food restaurants, and shopping plazas. "This is hell," Andrew declared as we drove around (only one of us can be pessimistic/freaking out at a time--a vow we made some time ago that just might make it into our wedding ceremony). "Things could not get any worse than this."

We had driven to Roseville to try to find (still) an apartment. Within an hour or so after emailing the Dorm Room guys that we wanted to sublet their place, we decided we should instead try to live in Roseville so Andrew's commute will be easier. We made an appointment at an extended-stay hotel, where we'd found a studio efficiency available on a month-to-month basis. It was pricey, but would probably save us money in the long run because it's already fully furnished, including plates and pots and etc. But what we found was that the extended-stay hotel is simply a nightmare. Imagine a very, very small hotel room, not even a particularly nice one. Now imagine two people living there. Imagine one of those people spending all day in that room, with nowhere to go but Target or the mall if she started to go a little stir-crazy, with no one to talk to all day and absolutely no sounds save for the gusty hum of the cooling ducts. Talk about Valley of the Dolls.

Next we visited an unfurnished studio in Citrus Heights, near Roseville. It's small. There's no furniture. But it's cheap, and we can rent it month-to-month, and the security deposit is small, and there's a pool. We're taking it. Not so much because it's ideal--but because it fits the very strange set of criteria we have right now, more or less. We're staying at a hotel for a few more nights, and we'll hopefully move in next week, assuming they "accept" our "application." Seriously. We're the best tenants they'll ever see. They'd better take us.

And so begins our suburban experiment. We are both more than a little horrified to find ourselves here, and we highly doubt we'll be here for longer than three months (if we even wind up staying that long). Many years ago I read Henry Miller's "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare," and though I don't remember even one detail about the book, the title kept leaping into my mind as we drove around Roseville today. This is our air-conditioned nightmare. One can only guess what the next few weeks will be like.

One small bright spot: our new apartment is just off a street called Sunrise Boulevard, which actually intersects with a street called Sunset Street. So I could potentially tell someone to meet me at the corner of Sunrise and Sunset--how philosophical. How metaphysical. It makes me want to write a dramatic, overwrought poem called "The Corner of Sunrise and Sunset."

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