Five Places I Have Lived
1. I was born at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles, and from there I was taken to my family's home in Van Nuys in a tiny house on Atoll Ave. I only lived there for the first three months of my life, so I don't really remember it. I have an idea of what the house and the neighborhood looked like, but I'm not sure if that's just my brain taking the things I've heard about the place over the years, and making it into something that actually existed.
2. I grew up in a three bedroom condo in Irvine, a suburb of Orange County, CA. Our house had been built, along with the rest of the planned community, sometime in the mid 70's. We had the same brown, shag carpeting throughout the house the entire time I lived there...about 16 years. In the laundry room there were marks on the door frame, charting the growth of my siblings and myself. We continued to mark our heights on our birthdays until we moved out. It became kind of a joke with us, although I think it also had something to do with nostalgia. The new owners, who bought the house after the bank foreclosed, painted over our timeline. I loved that house. I'd even move back to Orange County (gasp!) if it meant living in that house...maybe.
3. The first time I ever lived on my own was when I was 19. I had been living in Los Angeles with my mother and grandma since graduating high school and I had just received my worst heartbreak to date (which has yet to be surpassed, thankfully). A few of the girls I worked with at a vintage store in Santa Monica invited me to move in with them to a place on San Vicente Blvd. The place itself was bad enough; it had originally been a built for a business...upstairs was a large living room, a shabby kitchen, and six small rooms with ugly florescent lighting. Not one of the rooms had a closet, and there was only one and a half bathrooms to share between the six of us. Although the $325 per month rent was a bargain, I was unequipped to handle living with five girls all with varying degrees of crazy, and moved out after only three months. I've only kept in touch with one of the girls.
4. From the crazy-house, I moved into a two bedroom apartment in Hollywood with my friend Janet. She was a nice girl, and I'm sorry to say, I was kind of a shitty roommate. The building we moved into was a 10-story piece of crap, located in a sketchy neighborhood overlooking the 101 fwy. If you craned your neck just-so and peered out the filthy living room window, you could see the Hollywood sign.
I had a large bedroom with a mattress on the floor, and a mural of multicolor squares which I had painted on the wall. The building was so damaged from an earthquake that if you stood on one side of my bedroom across from someone else you'd be taller than them...then if you switched places you'd be shorter than them, all fun-house like.
Our upstairs neighbor had a penchant for blasting techno at 8 in the morning, every morning. I had a retail job at the time, and tended to stay out late, so being woken up at 8 a.m. to the sound of drum and bass was more than I could handle. I snapped one morning and took a broom and started banging the end of the handle on the ceiling. The music stopped and we screamed expletives at each other for a bit (I hadn't had much sleep that night). I heard his front door slam and footsteps down the hallway stairs, followed by a knock at my door. I grabbed a large knife from the kitchen, which I clutched in my shaky hand while I opened the door. An older gentleman was standing there with an apologetic look on his face, which wasn't what I was expecting. He told me that it was his son who played the "godforsaken" techno and who I had gotten in an argument with, and that he was sorry. I thanked him and did my best to hide the knife, which I was embarrassed about having in the first place, behind my back. I moved out a month or so later.
5. C (my ex) is the first and only boyfriend I've ever lived with. When we met he was living in a house in Panorama City, which is in the armpit known as the San Fernando Valley. The house had belonged to his step grandmother until she was carted away to live the last remaining years of her life suffering from Alzheimer's in a hospice.
The house was a two bedroom cottage built during the post-war boom, back when developers barred nonwhites from purchasing homes in the area. I never liked being alone in that house as it was spooky, and had the odor of someone slowly going insane and losing their grip on reality. There were two playrooms in the large backyard, built to look like little cottages. They had been built for C's step mom when she was a child, but over time had turned into a place to store junk and for large spiders to lurk. I hated looking into the backyard at night, and would do my best to avoid doing so. It sounds like I hated that place, but I really didn't...I actually loved it and it holds many nice memories for me.