As studio apartments go, it wasn’t bad. The place was clean, sort of, with fresh paint and appliances that worked – almost all the time! Out of the seven light bulbs, two of them weren’t burnt out, a problem I solved by quickly purchasing more light bulbs. But I couldn’t do anything about the unique smell, an odor that lingered even after I scrubbed everything with bleach.
Although it was small, (200 sq. ft) it did have four rooms – a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Okay, the bedroom was actually a closet that my bed fit into perfectly, and a bathroom isn’t usually counted as a separate room, I know. But a four-room apartment sounded far more impressive than a two-bedroom one. The one window allowed me to see the outside world – in the form of a picturesque view of a grand old brick building just five feet away. Between the two buildings was a walkway that led to the back stairs.
Of course, there were neighbors, and in a college town that meant students and, you guessed it, parties – not a good fit for a guy who had to get up at 4 a.m. to go to work!
There were five apartments in all – above a row of storefronts on a side street. Access to the apartments was a big wooden door with a thick pane of glass, situated between two of the stores. The door was locked after 10 p.m., and to open it, a four-digit code had to be entered on a number pad. Or, as I soon discovered, a good hard pull worked just as well. Since that was faster, it was my preferred method of entry. Not exactly secure . But then, there would have been no point. The door for the alley entrance was propped open twenty-four hours a day. All anyone had to do was go through the doorway, side step the water heaters, and climb the narrow staircase.
At least the door to the apartment itself had a lock – with a key. And, yes, it worked. Of course, if I ever forgot my key, all I needed to do was walk around to the window – it didn’t lock.
The place sounds rather horrible but, at the time, I didn’t consider any of its “problems” an issue. Back then; it didn’t even seem that small.
I only lived in that apartment for a few months before moving to Wisconsin – wedding bells were calling my name. Yes, I took my light bulbs with me, eventually installing them in my new home – a trailer. And let me just say, it’s a good thing I hadn’t had a problem with the condition of my former residence because this trailer made the apartment look like a mansion! Perhaps I’ll tell you about that next week.