A tale too tall to tell...
Checked into 3214 Glasgow Avenue a little after 2pm. I say checked in. That makes it sound like a hotel, but this is no hotel. Right now I'm sat on my queen sized bed in a 12' by 10' room, and that's probably being generous. There's a bedside table like any other you might see in a hotel room, minus the Gideon bible. You get the impression that most people who end up here, whatever path they took, aren't really looking for Jesus at this stage of their lives.
There's your standard office chair on wheels, with adjustable armrests, but it looks out of place since there is no desk. I suppose I could pull it on over to the bedside table but then I'd just look odd. Not that there is anyone to see me, of course, as I am completely alone. Well, alone as you can be in a six bedroom house with an array of occupants I have yet to make acquaintance with. We'll get to that in good time. I might take it for a spin round the room later if I get really bored.
Excuse me while I adjust the slim pillow serving as a buffer between my back and the headboard. I've contemplated buying my own pillow but it will be difficult to pack once I move on to wherever I'm going next. I'm actually considering staying here for the foreseeable future. Cheap living ain't exactly cheap, it seems, but this place is cheerful enough. The landlady'a name is Lisa, and she was amiable enough after I counted out the $358 (including a $15 clean up fee) it costs to stay here for one week. I'm thinking of asking for a refund as the only cleaning done is of the DIY variety
Back in the room. There is a cupboard with a pullout door that I'm worried will disintegrate if I pull it too hard. There is ample space inside with 4 hangers and a shelf that I should have checked for dust before I started storing my clothes there. I've also got some non-perishable food stored up there, too. Just noodles, sauces, soup, snacks and oil for cooking. Oh, and my golf clubs (in the cupboard, of course, not on the shelf, as that would be stupid). I thought about telling Lisa that I was a professional golfer but I'd have to be a pretty shit player to be renting a room for 50 bucks a night, wouldn't I? There is a full kitchen here, and the current occupants seem trustworthy enough, but you can never be too careful, right? The walls are a pea soup green, the floor is laminated pine, my duvet is white and pink stripes with a pink counter pane and the curtains are blue. Whoever put this room together put absolutely zero thought into it. Yet strangely it's somehow comfortable.
Oh, I almost forgot the ceiling fan, spinning above the one light source in this room. It's necessary because if I didn't also have a window open this would be a very hot room. The windows are covered, too, just in case a mosquito wakes up early in this cold and wet Victoria spring and decides to head over to the cheap side of town for a buffet.
You're probably wondering why or how I got here. None of that matters right now. We may or may not get to that at some point. My focus is mostly on the here and now and the immediate future, but the past has an uncanny way of popping up when you least expect it, so I won't completely discount it. Just know that a little after 2pm on the 15th April 2018 this is where whatever happens in the next chapter of my life begins.
I think I should give a shout out to my friend Johnny. I have been staying at his place for the past three weeks, for which I am ever grateful, but it was time to strike out on my own, and he was kind enough to drop me here. Thanks, Johnny.
It didn't take me too long to unpack and I like to keep a tidy space, especially in a small place. Across the hall from me there is a washroom with a washer and a dryer and I needed to do some laundry, but they were both in use. So I concentrated on what to have for dinner. It's almost impossible to cook for one person unless it's a Hungry Man meal, and that ain't exactly cooking. I like to cook. The fridge and freezer were packed with single man food: crap like frozen pizza and ready meals. Might as well eat the packaging it comes in because it's maybe marginally more nutritious.
I cooked sweet and sour chicken and Vermicelli noodles. Enough left over for lunch the next day, too. Need to economize, after all. In the meantime I got acquainted with some of my fellow housemates.
First up is Stuart from Kelowna or Kamloops, I forget which exactly. It starts with a K, I'm sure. He owns a landscape company, and his primary purpose for being here was to help another landscape company that went belly up within two weeks of being here. This was back in January. Now he seems to have inherited all of the contracts the company was working on, and has posted $150,000 in revenue since then. Kind of begs the question as to why he's staying in a cheap bedsit. If that was me, I might me tempted to stay at the Empress or at least the Grand Pacific downtown. He has a room that opens up onto the kitchen. Yesterday he told me that the walls are so thin he can hear everything. I can attest to the fact that it doesn't matter where you are in this house, conversation carries. Stuart ain't exactly the quiet type, either. He has two kids, a boy and a girl, both very young, and he's only been back once since coming here. I asked him where he's working and he told me Bear Mountain, near to where I used to live.
Then there's my neighbour. I'm gonna have to call him that until I can remember his name. I haven't quite found the right opportunity to ask him what it is again. He is rather intense, though. He has been diagnosed with bone cancer recently and is having problems with his ankles, which keep swelling up. I met him in the kitchen Sunday night while cooking dinner.
I'm the only one here that seems to cook. Everyone else is happy with microwave meals, which is probably a false economy. These things are five or six bucks each and have zero nutrition. I bought chicken for ten bucks the other day and the meal I made will last for three days. He showed me a bunch of kitsch he had bought at the thrift store and was going to sell online to make a profit. This is the kind of thing Markand does, too, I believe. Tonight there were a bunch of dragons made out of lead. My neighbour likes dragons. That's his personal guardian, apparently. He told me that he moved here from Toronto to change his life. He is five years sober and left behind a destructive relationship without so much as a goodbye.
He told me he has ADHD, and I'm inclined to believe him. I offered him a plate of the food I had cooked and he circled the kitchen, wolfing it down as he walked non stop. He claimed he hadn't slept for three days. A little later he locked himself out of his room and the landlady had to come and practically hack the door handle off the door to gain access again as the key would not work. What a commotion!