Home, home on the downtown range

This morning, I did something I haven’t done in years. I sat on the toilet and left the bathroom door wide open. Then, after I took my shower, I was able to run around my living room in various states of dress (or undress, if you will) without worry.

My kitchen is fairly spotless, but my dishes are backed up awaiting cleaning after spending four years in a box in my dad’s attic. The refrigerator is filled with foods I should and should not eat. There is not a single avocado or dairy product.

If I so choose, I can leave my dishes in the sink overnight. My peanut butter will never be put in the refrigerator. Chocolate will always be on hand in my apartment.

I have not lived on my own since 1997. Since then, I have either had roommates, lived in a sorority house or lived with family. Each had its benefits of course. Having a roommate makes the bills cheaper; we had a cook and a cleaning lady at the sorority house; my family offered affordable housing. However, I have longed for a place of my own for a long time — a place I can leave the door open when I am using the toilet and can watch all the Court TV I want, without hearing complaints.

Though I love life on my own, it has its perils. First of all, I live on the third floor of a walk-up. I had to move all my belongings up those stairs while suffering a horrible cold, and I am still not finished.

My windowsill is not a pretty place. It has plastic pongee sticks so the pigeons will not roost on the sill. Fat pigeons sit on the roof of the house next to my building and stare balefully at the windows. The windows themselves are of the chicken wire variety.

Yesterday, I got to see two drug deals in the space of less than seven minutes. Urban living at its finest. I am not worried about the drug dealers, or the homeless who roam downtown. I have been working and going to school downtown for three years, so I know how to cope.

One thing I didn’t expect was how bright downtown is, even at night. The lights on some floors of the Fox Tower stay on all night. I am hoping it is some poor junior associate attorney accruing billable hours, and not a wasteful company.

Sometimes, my neighbors will leave their lights on all night. At first this was highly irritating, as I am a light sleeper. Sometimes though, I play “Rear Window” and watch my neighbors. They don’t do anything exciting, but the experience has made me aware of the importance of drawing my shades when I am prancing around my apartment naked.

Downtown is also more alive than you would think. I hear lots of sirens. Shopping carts also travel the streets, and probably will until the weather gets bad. Last night, someone was yelling incoherently. People walk to and from work or the bars. Cabbies zip through the sodium arc lamp-lit night.

Early in the morning, the garbage men come to collect the waste from the tall buildings. The newspaper gets delivered and random delivery trucks stop at the bakeries and grocery stores. Later in the morning, construction starts and so does the streetcar.

These are not the sounds or scenes I encountered in Klamath Falls, or Eugene or suburban Portland. These places now seem like sleepy little enclaves. Downtown, in contrast, is bright and frenetic. I will soon have to shed my habit of light sleeping. Downtown is too full of noise and light for the weak.