4.29.2005

Bye-Bye Bed-Stuy

By this time tomorrow I should be unapacking boxes in my new apartment in New Jersey. The movers are scheduled to arrive tomorrow at 9 am, to the annoyance of the housemates I'm sure. I did schedule to have them come at 3 pm but they called me to change it. Two men and a 17 foot truck cost $60 per hour from the time the they arrive at my door to the time they finish unloading. Not bad at all. I found them on craigslist.com. Most movers I called wanted to charge extra for the stairs, and/or charge an hour and a half for their travel time in addition to my moving time. If all goes well it should take 3 hours. 4 hours max. It took the two guys I hired last summer about an hour to unload the moving truck into my house. Since that was an upstairs move and this is downstairs, I don't think it should take any longer. Given that there are no traffic problems (knock on wood), I think the drive will be 30-45 minutes.

After the nightmare of my last do-it-yourself move, I decided never to do it myself again. After paying the parking tickets for the truck I rented, I think the whole move cost me about 700. Maybe more. I had to rent two trucks, one to move to the storage place and one to move to my house. I got two parking tickets for parking a commercial vehicle in Manhattan overnight.

I began getting nervous about the decision last weekend. I worry about....ack. I will not indulge in a list of my fears. The packing has made me very nervous. I began that on Monday with the idea that I could finish by Wednesday and then use the rest of my Spring Break to work on my paper. Ha! Ha!

Obviously, I still haven't even packed up my computer. But I left that out so I could do address changes online and such. Most of my bedroom is packed. I'm a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to packing which is why it takes me so long. I got so used to moving myself in my car as a college student that I learned to maximize every single inch of space. So now, when I have a space left in a box, I go all around looking for that item that will best fill that space. I've even re-packed boxes when I thought it could be done more effeciently. I'm trying not to obsess so much. I'm out of time now anyway.

My mother was sweet enough to offer to pay for me to rent a car! That would make transporting two cats out of state much easier. But, guess what? My driver's license expired last month on my birthday. This horrifies me. Truly. Someone said I'm now a real New Yorker without a driver's license. But, now I'm leaving New York. So who cares? Haven't figured out how to get the cats to New Jersey yet. This is so weird. I am getting a little excited. My very first apartment without roommates. With a separate bedroom and an office! And a full kitchen. That's unheard of for the rent I'll be paying, $725. I checked up on the rents in the neighborhood and it looks like the market price for a two bedroom is at least twice that.

Second Thoughts
Making life altering decisions in a matter of three days and executing them three weeks later is scary. Changing one's abode doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal, but it really is. I'm changing my domestic environment. I'm making a one year commitment. I wonder, what if nothing gets better when I'm out there (New Jersey is Outer Darkness according to some blogs). If nothing improves after I move, then it means that there is more I have to do on myself. All of these things started running round my head last weekend.

Then, a few days ago I reminded myself what happened on Friday night. I was hanging out in my bedroom at about 1 am. Probably on the computer. I hear a bang-bangbangbang-bang-bang. I think, 'that sounds like gunfire. Must be an automatic there were a lot of shots.' Then I hear screaming. Definitely gunfire. The screaming isn't far away, so I peek out the window. People are streaming out of the nightclub on the next block. (essentially across the street.) I watch as some people run down my block to get away. And they just keep pouring out. Everyone is talking excitedly. It looks like a movie. After 5 minutes the sirens arrived. Several cop cars and two fire rescue ambulences. I don't see what happens because they pull onto the next block up, out of my view. 30 minutes later, all is normal again. And some cops pulled a car over in front of my house to question some boys.

That is scary. A few months ago, they found a pair of severed legs and a hand in the subway station one block away. I'm tired of living here. The streets and sidewalks seethe with tension. Yesterday really exentuated this fact for me. I went to the laundromat to do laundry (*gasp!) and had to watch a young mother scream at her 3 year old with obscenities, telling her to f-ing stop this or that and ... it was awful. Three grandmother type women sat on the bench and watched the girl with disdain. The poor child. Goodbye and Good riddance, ghetto-mat.

KFC Kickers
The day started off with an episode in the KFC. I went in there to get a jumbo Mountain Dew. I walked by two drunk homeless men. One said Hello to me and I replied. The other said, "Look at that white girl. She ain't got no a**. No a** at all. She is flat!" He laughed and kept repeating himself as I stood in line. The man in front of me turned around and said, "He's crazy." I rolled my eyes and nodded. He kept shouting to the whole place about my privation of booty. A woman with some serious back came in the door. The man then said, "Unh. Now look at that. Now that's an a**. Yes, I love me some black women. Look at that. Unh. I don't want those white girls starving themselves to look like models. No a**>" Walking on my way out, he said, "That white girl ain't got no a**, look at her. nothing." When I got to the door. I stopped. I bent down sticking out my flat rear, looked over my shoulder with a grin at the man and patted my non-existent a**. Then I exited, chuckling.

Then I went to the dollar store to buy cleaning supplies for my new apartment. While waiting in line, the woman acting as store security guard got into a fight with the owner who worked the register. He told her to go to the back of the store, to stop standing by the door. This is the woman I had to ask to move so I could get a shopping basked and who then gave me a look. She yelled at the owner demanding to know why he kept looking at her. He yelled, "I pay you!" She made him furious. The guy at the counter wanted a razor. Not that kind. The one way at the top of the wall. The owner had to climb a ladder. He got the razor down and gave it to the customer. He examined it and asked how much. 2.50. What? How can you charge that much? That's robbery! He continued to fondle the razor in its plastic packaging. The woman by the door yelled that she wanted to quit. The owner's face reddened and he said "Fine. Go." She said, "Give my money for today and I will." She didn't go. The girl behind the guy with razor commanded that she be checked out because she has to go.

The owner rang up her toothbrushes. The man with the razor chatted her up. The girl's friend put something else on the counter, but the girl had already paid. She wouldn't pay for that too. The owner rang up the friend. Meanwhile, the man put the razor down and paid for the things he did buy. A woman walked up to the counter, butting in front of me and put her things down. The owner rang her up even though I was next. That woman left and she went by the security lady who still stood by the door with an angry expression. She told the woman not to put up with that kind of treatment by that man, etc... Then, finally, it was my turn to pay. Goodbye, ghetto shopping.

A little later, still yesterday, I went to the cleaners to pick up my coats. I came in and gave the woman my ticket. She brought out some clothes for a man already there, she hung them on the rack then went back to get mine. The man inspected his clothing then took out his cash to pay. When the woman returned, the man held out the money and ticket for her to take but she ignored him. She pushed his clothes out of the way to hang mine up. The man got angry, understandably, and slammed his money on the counter. He left, cursing the woman. Goodbye, daily guilt for my white privilage. (I don't know if that is a good thing morally, but it wears me out. I'm also tired of getting angry looks just for walking down the street.)

Hello, New Jersey.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your move! It really sounds like you're doing the right thing. You got a great roomy place for an amazing price and just think what you'll save in your sanity and peace of mind. I know you're nervous that your problems will follow you, and they will to an extent. No matter where you go, there you are, after all. But I do know that environment can really affect your perspective. Being somewhere comfortable and peaceful will help you figure out any other things that are rattling around in your head. 

Left by Kellyi

Anonymous said...

I thought to myself 'what is a stuy'? Then I looked it up on google.com. Now I know something new.

I moved once from a place where I was on the 3rd floor. I was too stubborn and lazy to get help with my stuff. I rigged this dolly contraption to let a couch down the stairs. Somehow it got out of my grip and went crashing down the stairs for about 7-10 steps and hit the railing. Luckily it didn't flip over the rail and maybe fall on an unsuspecting passerby from the 2nd story.

I moved another time, and learning from past experience I bought a furniture dolly from Lowes. That dolly has skids on the back that enables it to slide better down the steps. It also has a strong strap that tightens effectively. That move was a lot easier in comparison. 

Left by Anonymous

Marel Lecone said...

First time here. Your blog is very interesting. I can't wait to hear out it goes in NJ. I am a bit of a fish out of water in Long Island (not quite 4 yrs) from Florida (all of the other years of life). You must be a rarity to some that you meet. Where are you from originally? Your poor mother--I believe you have been in Bedstuy (sp?)--she must have been so worried for you. I have not been there myself. My husband is a Brooklyn boy so he lets me know of some things. I cannot believe how you reacted to those men in KFC--good for you. I know that I would not have done so well. But, then again, I am a white girl with a rear-end!::)) *teasing you* I do stay friendly almost every single time with people that I run into--sometimes, I wonder if this is a hinderance. It seems that people do not like the nice ones. But, overall, it works really well for me. Well, I will check in. Take care in NJ! 

Left by Marel

Anonymous said...

i was wondering what happened to you.
I am excited about your move! 

Left by Torren

Anonymous said...

Welcome to jersey. As a 9 month veteran, I don't hate it. 

Left by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

have you set up home safe and sound? 

Left by irishman

Anonymous said...

i miss the city so much... 

Left by jason

Anonymous said...

So what's up? How are things in your new home? 

Left by Sister T

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Where are you? We want updates! 

Left by Minerva

Anonymous said...

Bless you on your travels. 

Left by Pope Benedict XVII

Anonymous said...

What's up lately, JL?

Missing reading your 'life and times'. I hope all's going well in your new place. 

Left by chosha

Anonymous said...

I hope you are getting settled into your new place. But most importantly, getting your computer back online...and SOON! I'm totally addicted to your blog and have been going through complete withdrawal... 

Left by ZuphChic

Anonymous said...

Hope you are well... 

Left by sleepingmommy

Anonymous said...

are you ok?
have you set up house and home in jersey?

hope all is well and you are back blogging soon 

Left by irishman

Anonymous said...

JL: I add my sentiments to the others in hoping all is well with you. As they say, no news is good news so if this was you final post and you've left us with Bed-Stuy, we wish you all the best. Thanks. 

Left by c. rusty

Anonymous said...

Amen to c. rusty's post - although I'd have to add that I for one would miss your posts if Bed-Stuy was your last! 

Left by RUssel in Retrograde

Anonymous said...

So Sorry my lovelies! ! I didn't mean to neglect you this long. I'm not quitting the blog. I'm very addicted to this business myself.  

Left by JL

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