January 30, 2011

Life on the Couch: I am a basement dweller.

Somehow, I always end up living in the basement.

It all started when I finally left my mother's house at the age of twenty.

Yes, I know. Let's just move on, shall we?

I ended up in the basement of a friend's parents' house for nearly a year. There were things stored in my bedroom that weren't mine, and large horrible unnamed creatures which would occasionally perch on the wall above my bed and stare at me with all their legs until I was forced to sleep in my papasan. Needless to say, it was a relief to get out of there and into my own apartment.

Some years later there was my aunt's basement. Once again I was forced to live with some of my host's things, as well as the constant threat of the unthinkably-legged creatures lurking over my head as I slept.

More time has passed, and now I'm back in the basement. This one is in a townhouse that I'm sharing with two roommates (a married couple) and our combined four cats. The walls are industrial white brick, the floors are concrete, and there are tangles of cords and pipes between the beams of the ceiling. A thin false wall with an open doorway is the only thing separating me from the furnace, air conditioner, water softener, and washer/dryer. The ceiling squeaks and thuds noisily as my roommates move about the upper level, and I can hear the kids playing and listening to music in the adjoining townhouse like they're in the room with me. It's always ten degrees colder than the rest of the house and my space heater is my best friend.

I spend most of my time here on a futon that it quite literally falling apart. It's sagged down to nearly to the floor and is missing several of the support rods, creating holes into which the cushion is slowly disappearing. It's the saddest excuse for a couch I've ever seen. I daydream about vegging out on a real couch with cushions and springs and arms. One that I don't have to flail and heave my way off of. Someday...

So, are you feeling sorry for me yet? You shouldn't. Every time I face the possibility of living in a basement, I make the choice for some reason or another to do so. (Ok, yes, the reason has pretty consistently been a money thing.) I always end up staying longer than I intended, and by the time I finally do get out of the basement, I can't wait to go. It's always my choice to be here and I accept that.

It won't stop me from whining about it though.

It's really not a terrible place to be, but I do long for the day when I can watch rain or snow fall outside the windows, and when I don't have to cast uneasy glances at the spiderwebs on the ceiling to check for eight-legged interlopers. I can't wait to live above-ground again. With any luck, in six months or so, that's exactly where I'll be.

Until then, I am a basement dweller.

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