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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Apartment-Hunting Blues: A Gratitude List

--for friends, Facebook and otherwise, who let me rant and rave and piss and moan about the whole dispiriting process;

--for daily doses of 1,000 mg Vitamin C Emergen-Cs;

--for yelp, for getting the lowdown on apartment management companies without leaving home;

--for daily doses of almond biscotti from Tony’s;

--for online maps of Chicago neighborhoods available for download;

--for excellent September weather for biking and walking those neighborhoods;

--for Facebook friends who shared information about their particular neighborhoods;

--for my “visiting scholar” gig at Lutheran School of Theology in Hyde Park. It kept me focused and grounded throughout these past several weeks;

--for my private clients who let me re-schedule our meetings when necessary;

--for having a journal writing practice. It has delivered all the benefits of personal writing during times of transition: expressing thoughts and feelings; problem solving/figuring things out; making decisions; keeping a record; and, of course, telling the story;

--for accepting sooner rather than later that I wasn’t going to get what I was looking for: a nice apartment at a rent I could afford near a north side Red or Brown line stop;

--for then realizing that there was a lot I’d miss about where I currently live—a bus ride away from the Western Brown line—especially the diversity of this neighborhood, a major reason I even want to live in Chicago. Not only is West Rogers Park ethnically and religiously diverse, but people of all ages and incomes live here.

Or as urban guru Jane Jacobs said: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

--Finally, I am grateful for everyone in my life who appreciates—whether through experience or imagination—the challenges of a single, non-car-owning woman of modest means seeking suitable housing (i.e., well maintained, responsive management) in this very financially troubled city, this place I’ve called home for nearly 50 years.

On the plus side, however, my often-failed attempts to find such housing during the most recent of those years—starting with the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression— only strengthens my resolve to make affordable “aging in place” an important part of my second book.
Because my experience is surely not unique, as Chicago’s own Theaster Gates predicts:

"If we are not careful, profit will trump humanity and the only people who will be able to experience the beautiful local will be the very rich or the extremely poor."

1 comment:

  1. In 1972 the rent on our lovely view of Lincoln Park Fullerton Avenue apartment was about $350 a month - pretty pricey at the time but both of my parents worked. That very apartment recently was advertised for sale about 1.5 million.

    Other windows in our home overlooked Clark Street wher winos lounged in front of a transient hotel and Woolworth's cozied up to a beauty parlor and pharmacy and an Ace Hardware that reeked of sweat, cigars and sawdust in the summer.

    No longer living in Chicago means I don't have much right to nostalgify or commiserate... but I am sad nonetheless for the loss of ordinary places for people who are simply living life in my big city.

    You have made the magic haopen again, though. Thanks for raising your voice and managing to stand pat, one more year, dear.