I’m looking for housing. Unfortunately, I live in San Francisco, where housing prices operate on some sort of looped scheme from the future so everything’s too expensive. In other words: it’s a long, pricey journey to find a place to rest my head.
Take a look at the first couple craigslist postings and you’ll see what I mean. One person asked me to write three paragraphs on myself just so they could consider whether or not they want me. And I did it knowing I’ll probably never hear from them. I’d have written a short story, composed a poem, or emailed them a video of me dancing. I would do whatever it takes. We all would. We are the housing seekers, and we are something less than human.
It’s not enough to have friends in the city. You need to have 800 friends in the city, and not so they can let you know if anything’s opening up in their apartment building, because there isn’t. And if there is, it’s too expensive or there’s a drug lord that lives downstairs or it’s a 20 minute walk to the nearest pharmacy and you don’t like the idea that one day you’ll have to debate letting that infection fester or walking a mile in the dark to pick up the prescription, your mind addled with fever. You need the friends so you can stay with them indefinitely, so that when one friend tires of your presence, you can move onto the next who will welcome you with open arms and a warm place for your head.
If I could say anything to the people with an empty room in their apartment out there in this city, especially if they’re closer to downtown, the Mission, or Alamo Square, I would say: please love me. I’m out here trying to make it, just like you. If it pleases you I’ll be quiet and clean, and if not I’ll be loud and messy. If you want, I’ll chat with you in the kitchen after you get home from work, maybe make you a cup of tea or offer you a cold one or a wet one if you’d prefer that. I might kiss you on the cheek, if you really need that kind of support, and I’d certainly offer to tuck you into bed at night and turn the lights out and say I love you even if I don’t mean it. I’d do that for you.
And one day, when I’m a famous author, I’ll mention you to the crowd as I accept the Pulitzer Prize for best work in science fiction humor journalism, and say that it was Cynthia Crabblestick after all who helped me be who I was today, because she let me into her home and let me pay rent and wash my dishes (and hers sometimes), and didn’t complain when I woke up early or when I was laughing by myself in my bedroom.
Thank you, Cynthia. This is for you. Let me take you out to coffee with my millions of dollars of winnings.