Monday, September 1, 2008

from the mission, with love

i think i should have realized that moving across the country was going to be an adventure... the american value of manifest destiny instilled in me from a very young age made me somewhat aware of that fact, but i was far from prepared. while diptheria, a shortage of huntable game, and poor wagon caulking jobs haven't appeared on the scene (yet), i've faced some obstacles of my own...

after a very uneventful, even comfortable flight, i touched down in san francisco, grabbed my luggage, and stepped into the eucalyptus infused air to catch a cab. one friendly cab driver and one beautiful drive later, i found myself outside my apartment... having failed to get in touch with my flaky real estate guy, keith (otherwise known as keith the keeper of the keys). keith is... unreliable at best. he answers his cell at will, and when he suggested the plan for me to get keys was to call him when i got in, i got nervous... but, it was a step up from what i had previously conceived of him as. keith has made me nervous this entire time. he wears sunglasses no matter what, making it impossible to discern what his face actually looks like. the name of his company is "GoRealEstateAgent.com" (yes, it includes the .com). he doesn't answer his phone. he wants his security deposits in cashiers checks only. and the "Contact me!" link on his craigslist ad for his apartments is a link that tries to get you to download what has to be either spyware or a virus... in short, i woke up in the middle of the night a couple days before leaving for job training, having dreamt that i arrived in san francisco and keith the keeper of the keys was actually just keith the nondescript scam artist and i found myself homeless in san francisco. at three am, i ran every google search imaginable to determine if keith was legit. the answer was indeterminate at best...

so, back to being in san francisco, no keith, no keys, lots of luggage. i decided to go to the coffee shop just around the corner from my apartment, and enjoyed a pleasant cup of coffee surrounded by a mixture of hipsters in skinny jeans and trendy hats and old folks muttering to themselves. keith finally called back, said he'd be around in an hour, apologized for the inconvenience, and even carried one of my bags for me when he arrived (my messenger bag, the lightest of the four by far, but it's the thought that counts, no?) keys in hand, i stepped into my new abode, and remembered why i was excited about this place to begin with. it's small but lovely, with hardwood floors (complete with interesting detailing), a bay window with a sitting cushion, and a semi-spacious kitchen with room for a breakfast nook (and even a microwave in addition to the standard fridge and stove!). by this point, it was starting to get late, and dark so i went to hit the lights, and made an interesting discovery...

guess what i don't have! gas and electric... so that's the current quest. right now i'm charging my computer and cell phone at the local coffee shop (this place has been way handy so far), and trying to figure out how to get service started over labor day weekend... chances are i'm not going to have electricity and gas until sometime next week. i also couldn't find a place to buy an aerobed, but found that i fit rather comfortably on the cushion for the bay window couch... so that's where i slept last night, using a pillow i stole from united airlines. turns out when you sleep right in front of drafty windows, it gets pretty damn cold, so by the end of the night, i had a hooded sweatshirt on the way you're supposed to wear them, another on my legs and feet (thank goodness for having the foresight to bring two!) and was wrapped in my blanket... as well as my towel.

but, on the positive side of things, i do have hot water, so i took a long shower to warm up this morning. and, while i can't really buy any food, since i can neither cook nor refrigerate it (gas stove, electric fridge! yay for modern convenience!), i do have a decent number of friends in the area (at least three different people) i can probably bother to get dinner with until i have electricity.

at this point, i'm just laughing at the sheer absurdity of all of this. try asking me mid-week whether my amusement has worn off, i'm not sure what the answer will be. and the discussion at work...
steph to boss: hi, um, i was wondering if i could get thursday afternoon off to let the gas & electric folks into my building to start service?
boss: yes, of course, but how long have you been living there already!?
steph: uh, a week and a half...
boss: (utter consternation at choosing to hire this crazy/disorganized individual)

but, i have more important things to worry about now. like the fact that i decided socks would be irrelevant to my life for the next week, and packed them all in boxes for the movers, rather than bringing any with me. socks are a good thing writ large, but are even more important when you've resorted to wearing sweatshirts on your feet to stay warm while sleeping on the bay window cushion of your gas/electric-less apartment. frankly, i don't know how i didn't account for that. the movers should show up sometime this week and when the movers arrive, socks galore! as well as a bunch of things that require electricity that i can't use, a mattress for a bed frame i don't have, cooking equipment for the stove that can't turn on...

time to go find socks.