Before I got my first apartment I had spent years bouncing from state to state, couch to couch, car to public park. When I turned eighteen I moved back to Phoenix from Coeur d’Alene with one of my best friends (surprisingly we are still best friends today). After a scramble to find employment we managed to find a pretty decent two bedroom apartment in a pretty good area.
Neither of us was really met with any sort of disillusion of what living on our own meant since we’d been doing it in one form or another for quite some time. In Coeur d’Alene while crashing with my cousin’s girlfriend we figured out how to cook Hot Pockets without a microwave. We knew what it meant to live on the third floor and have to back up the stairs due to a knee injury and had experienced the thrill of streaking topless through a parking lot at 1am. We now knew not to eat the fruit at the bottom of the Jungle Juice trash can and we had learned that wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt with the effword on it was a surefire way to get sent home from school.
We were all kinds of ready for our own apartment. The adventures we had there are worthy of their own post but here are the things we picked up along the way:
Milk crates and cinder blocks make adequate furniture
Who needs a seven hundred dollar entertainment center when we can hide out in my Volkswagen at 2am and rip off milk crates from behind the grocery store? We built an entertainment center, nightstands, shelves, end tables, and I’m pretty sure we built a coffee table too – all out of milk crates.
Condiments are a privilege – Not a right
When you are faced with spending your last ten dollars on fifty packages of Ramen noodles and frozen vegetables or ketchup and mustard the Ramen wins every time. One of our many, MANY transients could do wonders with Ramen noodles. I swear, she was the driving force behind our food the entire time we lived there.
Clothes can be worn more than once before needing washed
That ten bucks that went toward Ramen? It likely came from the laundry fund. Yes, I admit it: women in their late teens and early twenties employ the “sniff test” too. Not just men of all ages.
We didn’t live in that apartment very long – a few months I believe – and in all that time I can’t recall one time that I did laundry. I can only hope that others had been doing it for me.
Name brand TP is for rich toolbags
If we weren’t using John Wayne paper (rough and scratchy and doesn’t take sh*t from anyone) then we were using napkins from the local Taco Bell. I think I remember at one point someone bringing in one of those huge rolls that they had ripped off from the gas station. That sucker lasted a few weeks!
Bedframes aren’t a necessity
In our apartment not one single bed was on a frame. Not hers, not mine, and certainly not the pallets made by the transients in the living room. Not surprising since our furniture was made up of crates.
If something is gonna break it’s going to happen at the worst time
This one didn’t happen to us in that apartment but it’s happened since. Often. Right after you send in that last payment for the month, your bank account now sitting at exactly six dollars and twelve cents, your car won’t start. Or you drop your phone in the toilet. Or some douche busts out the back window of your Honda to rifle through your things but not take ANYTHING because he’s a bastard and now you have to replace the window.
There will be bugs
Again, not in that apartment but I remember one vividly that should have had about twelve hundred residents on the lease. Three humans and 1,197 friggen roaches. No matter how many times the complex bombed that apartment they never got rid of them.
It’s amazing what you can get used to when faced with no choice. We called them the Ferocious Roaches.