Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Siete Años Aquí

Seven years ago, on January 27, my flight from snowy New York landed at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

I was still wearing my winter boots, which I promptly tore off and threw in the trunk of my rental car.

The first place I drove to? Target. I bought a bikini there.

Later, I arrived to my new apartment in Beverly Hills, the lease for which I'd only signed a couple weeks before.

Seven years later, I still live in that same apartment. And I have no intention on leaving anytime soon.

If I've got to live in any apartment in the LA area—if I can't yet afford to buy a house—then I might as well just stay here.

But seven-plus years is a long time. It's the longest I've lived anywhere as an adult, just now surpassing the seven years I spent in my Manhattan apartment.

And I can't believe some of the things I haven't done in seven years—the things I haven't unpacked, the household items I haven't bought.

For example, it's taken me seven years to frame a limited edition poster of a live concert screening of Dracula I attended in 2011 in Big Sur. I'll be picking that up from the framer soon.

It took me seven years to find a bookshelf that I could use to display my tiki mugs. I liked the first one so much that I just bought another one to make a pair.

Of course, I moved to LA in a hurry, and I'd sold or given away many of my possessions back in New York so as to not have to pay movers to transport them across the country, so that forced me to start anew in LA.

When I got here, I bought a new couch, new rug, new coffee table (my first!), new chair, new shelves and tables and bedding and whatnot.

Some of it was a rush job and didn't quite fit in my small Art Deco studio. I've gotten rid of some of those items since.

Some of what I moved from New York turned out to be dead weight, unneeded for my new California life.

The jury's still out on some of it.

And now, after seven years, it's finally time to get a new quilt for my bed, a new trash can for my bathroom, and a new table for my bedside. It's amazing how such little changes can make an old apartment feel completely refreshed.

I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions, but the start of a new year is a good time to gather a "to do" list—and at the top of mine were three critical tasks:

  1. Go to the car wash. (Done New Year's Day, ✓)
  2. Take my cat to the vet. (Done two weeks ago, ✓)
  3. Hire a crew to "deep clean" my kitchen and bathroom. (Done this week, ✓)
After all, seven years is a long time to live in one place. And I'd dirtied up this place enough to require some professionals to come in.

When one of the crew members—who didn't speak much English—finished in the bathroom and came to check on me in the living room, I fumbled through some Spanish to explain to her how long it had been since the place had gotten "a big clean."

"Siete años aquí," I said.

"Siete años?!" she exclaimed, acknowledging what I meant.

"!"

And we need to say nothing more. The looks on our faces said it all. 

When she had me inspect her work in the bathroom, all I could say was, "It's so clean!" 

I hadn't seen it that clean in seven years.

But I didn't know how to say that in Spanish.

Maybe I will in another seven years.

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