Wednesday, May 5

[I'm living for giving the devil his due]
Back from my overnighter in Birmingham. I'm both relieved and terrified to learn that I was in fact correct in my assertion that the city planners were on crack when laying out the streets of that city. My mother, who grew up in metro Nashville and can find her way around city thoroughfares, was as confused as I was trying to figure out why random streets can just end and then randomly pick up 10 miles later.

After checking out some extended-stay hotels and realizing that price gouging is the favored pastime of American hotels, we called some numbers I found in the real estate section of the paper. It took an hour to find this one guy's house on what could be the most schizophrenic street known to humankind. It would start and go for a block, then end, then start back up several miles later, then end, then be another street, then end. Oy. But we found him, and even after his strong hints that I wasn't exactly the kind of client he normally services, I opted to check out a studio. According to the ad, it is only $95/week, which is a good deal.

That place was a slum. It was in the back room of an old dilapidated house, and it smelled of decades-old nicotine and soiled matresses. There was no refrigerator, the floors were creaky and uneven, one of the nasty couches was used to block the fireplace (which houses god-knows-what), the door connecting the room to the rest of the house was half-assedly boarded up, the mirror in the bathroom was shattered, the bathroom floor was stained and bucking up from water damage. Oh, I could go on. I think I will. It was pitiful. Rags for drapes. Shoelaces for light pullchains. A nail for a doorknob. There was probably cocaine hidden under the floorboards. And then the man told me $135 a week. Wha? He was totally trying to scare me off.

We eventually asked a cop how to get to one place, and he told us not to bother if we valued my safety. So I said fuck it, let's go to University Place and pick out my room. And wouldn't you know, the room they already had reserved for me was legions nicer than the room I had viewed when I first visited the place. It even had a table and chairs, and a lamp! I move in a week and a half. I'm feeling anticipation and dread.

And I'm feeling anger at Disney for halting distribution of Michael Moore's new movie.


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