My studio apartment is just that, a studio. There's a large central room with white walls and a hardwood floor, about the size of a large living room in a nice house. There's a small attached kitchen with outdated, discolored appliances, limited lighting, and room for about one person at a time. A small, wobbly plastic table sits against one of the walls in the kitchen. There's also a small full bathroom, with pink tiles and wallpaper. That's it. Three rooms. It's kind of nice, though. It forces me to not envelope myself in stuff, although I've generally been pretty good at avoiding that. I love to travel. Blowing my money on material goods doesn't get me anywhere else. The hardwood floor is a beauty, too. Beat up a bit, but a really lovely brown colour with a bit of red tint to it. The kind of floor that'd cost a lot of money to install today. Too bad the kitchen and bathroom are straight from the 70s. Poorly lit and tackily coloured. You win some, you lose some.
I returned to my desk after the weird quasi-promotion offer. I spent the rest of the day trying to not to think about, which meant, of course, that all I did was think about it. I tried to argue for it, I really did. A substantial raise. A private office. But it also meant a business card. Dressing up even more. Becoming a total stiff, on the off chance that anything I say or do could be used against me and the company.
My commute home was uneventful. I owned a used 2006 Subaru Impreza. I'm not really a car person, but I loved this car. It just looked... right. Like a car. Like a vehicle. Like something that had a personality to it, something designed by someone who cared for their work.
The sun was slowly setting against the backdrop of a web of freeways and urban sprawl. I channel hopped around my radio, looking for something to celebrate the survival of another day at work, while lazily smoking an electronic cigarette. I don't know why I started them. I go through week long stretches where I never do. But they're kind of nice. They taste nice. They don't give me much of a head buzz, but they don't make everything smell like shit, either. You win some, you lose some.
A small, cracked pavement alleyway leads to all of the garages in the apartment. If anyone just assumed I was about to mention how scary or intimidating the alley is, go look in the mirror and reflect.
A few of the residents were playing catch with a baseball in the alleyway. I recognized them. Lee, Jasmine, and someone else I forget the name of. They're laughing and smiling. It makes me happy to see. They're good people. I hope they don't let the world beat them up like I did.
I parked my car in the garage and walked to my apartment. A sticky note was on the front door. It was from my landlord.