Said situation has been, since 2012, a serious comedown from the sort of place I had to live in Seattle. I lived in Seattle for five years in the same place, a 612-square foot one bedroom with a fireplace, a view of Puget Sound, a washer and dryer, and a dishwasher, with more than enough room for everything I have, including the far too many books I own.
Though I still had to resort to some storage, but there was even that. And this was walking distance(if an uphill walk back) from a proper supermarket, and across the street from a Carnegie-funded library. And though Seattle gave me many reasons to complain--anyone reading this blog back then knows this--that was some compensation, at least.
I don't miss much about Seattle. I miss some of the women I dated there. I miss that apartment. And many days California makes me feel like it was a mistake to come back, but I had reason to leave Seattle; it was a lonely, sunless place and the five years I was there feel in my memory like all the same day. But as bad as Seattle was to me, at least I was safe in that apartment, and it was $850--which people there, in 2008-2012 yet, often called high. Ah, innocence. That's not even high there now, but it's nothing compared to the cheapest California rent.
Here, I've paid $1200 a month to rent a room in other people's homes. Not even proper apartments, and with no proper leases. And crowding everything I own into small rooms, and having those I'm renting from think nothing of suggesting the room's already furnished, surely I can just chuck away my own stuff, have I read Marie Kondo? (btw, she can fuck herself)
It's my stuff. I like my stuff. Why should I throw it away? I use it, I need it. What, my extremely comfy bed? My very old desk? My very well-used drafting table? Fuck off. And I like my books. California is the sort of place where, if they see you have a lot of books, they pity you.
I am 53 this year, and I long since got over any affection for living with any sort of roommates, but for a decade now, I have had to put up with this disgusting sort of lifestyle again, and as I'm about to move into a place of my own, it amazes me how much resentment is becoming conscious again, that I've bottled up, particularly the unfriendliness of Californians nowadays.
They seem to have the Seattle disease of not wanting to meet outside their own cliques, or converse casually, like humans do. None of them have ever made any attempt to know me. I'm just a source of rent, and not treated with basic courtesy--a courtesy which is expected of me. It might have been fun to make friends. They never let me. They never tried to know anything about me, none of the various terrible people I've lived with for the last ten years. I'm glad to be moving to a place where it will be just me and the cats, because if I'm going to feel like I live alone, I might as well have the advantages of doing so. I'm about to pay a lot more in rent, and I'd rather not mention how much that is.
But it's worth it to be away from these terrible people. The latest place I was forced to compromise with is this house up in the Hayward Hills, for the last four years. This was, I suppose, fortunate to live in during the pandemic, even Decameronish in its isolation I guess, except nothing ever happened. It doesn't sound bad except unlike everyone else in this house, I have no car, and it's a long way to the nearest bus, and two miles over kills to downtown and anything. But delivery isn't so hard these days. So as long as I didn't care about the company of humans I could function. Why do you think I've been so productive the last few years? What else am I going to do?
But even that's not enough to make me want to stay, even if I could. Which I can't, because the great thing about having no lease is that the owner of the place you're renting from can decide to sell the property for a nice payday right under you, and that's what happened here.
But moving is the most stressful thing I can imagine doing in normal life. I have always hated doing it. It blows up everything I might have been doing: suddenly all my energy and thinking has to go into planning the move. I was on a roll creatively till the beginning of April, when I found out I'd have to move. As the day grows closer, my anxiety increases and, while I know it's necessary to even make it possible for me to do the move, it's not pleasant.
But even less pleasant is when some jerk actually makes it more stressful and difficult. And a number of jerks have done this during this unpleasant process, and a curse on each and every one of them. And this week, a week I really needed my energy and focus on packing, my fucking wireless carrier has been the main villain, a vampire that sucked away four days of my energy and time.
In the place I presently live, wi-fi is shared in the whole house. In the new place, I will have to have my own. So I tried to order some. As my wireless carrier is TMobile, I thought maybe I could get it from them. I've had terrible treatment, always, from TMobile ever since I took them on as my first carrier when I finally adopted the demon smartphone in 2013.
Calling them over any issue was a punishing experience mostly consisting of endless holds, which after thirty minutes of same I would usually hang up, then call back, then get put on hold, rinse, repeat. No one at TMobile actually intends to help you in any way--one gets the impression their main function, in their remote call centers far away in Asia, is to wait you out and make you never call them again by sheer exhaustion, if they don't just laugh at you and hang up(they do, readily). And that's before we even get into the fact they have the worst imaginable call quality. So many times using their service people misunderstand me or I misunderstand them, because of the atrocious, incomprehensible sound. This has caused a lot of grief over the years.
Yet I have let them stay my carrier all this time, though Christ alone only knows why. Sheer inertia, I guess. So I needed internet at my new place and I call them to order it, thinking as I already had phone service they'd be eager to add a service and get more money from me every month. How wrong and silly I was!
First representative insists I'm spelling my own name wrong for ten minutes till I hang up and call another one. Second one leaves me on hold for too long and I hang up and call back. The third one actually realizes I'm trying to give him a sale and sort of does his job. I say sort of because no he actually didn't but he sure seemed like he was trying to at the time.
I tell him not to ship the device that will be the modem to the address I'm going to be using it at, as it will arrive well before I move in, and so I will never get it, as it's not like the building has some kind of concierge: either the device will be left on the stoop and a porch pirate will grab it, or it will just not be delivered and UPS will send it back after three tries, as is their wont. I have a day job that I need the internet for, at home. (the one good thing in CA now is thanks to the pandemic I work from home, which is great because I hate commuting and always did) So I'll need to start it up from when I get there, so I asked him to ship it to where I am now so I'll have it ready when I move. Why, he said sure!
Oh, what a fool I am to ever believe anyone who says they've done something they promised to do. Not in this era.
Then I got a confirmation email saying no, he was shipping it to my new address and it will be arriving there today. Which would have been nice, if it were coming here. Then I spent five and a half hours more--I'd already spent three--on the phone with them begging, actually having to beg these people, that they change the delivery address. Lots of half hour holds, lots of angry calls back by me, a cycle that ended up making sure I ate neither lunch or dinner that Tuesday, for I was on the phone from 2 pm to nearly 11 pm. Finally they dismissed me by saying that I'd have to call them back when I got a notice from UPS it had shipped. Wouldn't it be easier to just change the delivery address before it ships? "Why would that be easier for me?" he said. Then they hung up.
The next day, once said notification came, I called them and said they should take care of it now like they said they would. Sounding almost bored with my problem, they said no, no, I'd have to call UPS and change it, nothing they could do. What fuckers.
So I call UPS and even have to register for an account just to communicate with them, only to have them tell me TMobile restricted the delivery address from being changed. Well, I'm sure you can imagine how pleased I was to hear this, and I made sure to then let TMobile hear the whole volume of my pleasure. It was then they sprung their hilarious joke: the sales department should never ever have sold me this service, because it's not even available at my new address.
That's the address they sent it to against my wishes, mind.
I hung up, then called their sales department pretending to be someone else getting new service. And what do you know: THEY say it IS available in that area. It would be odd if it were not: this is the Bay Area of California, which is not exactly a tech desert. And this address is near freaking Oakland, far less in the wilderness than I am now. But what does it matter, if TMobile cannot agree within itself where it services are available? Looks like AT & T gets my internet business instead, says I(it takes them five minutes to complete the order), and I call TMobile to cancel.
Picture three hours melting by on a clock.
Eventually they assure me, after hours of trauma, they have cancelled it, and I hang up hoping to never talk to them again.
And then I get three return receipts for the "internet gateway" in my email. This would be the device they failed to deliver to me, a mistake they perversely refused to correct. If I'd received it, if they'd sent it to the right place, none of this crap would have even happened. Furious, I call them again.
Three MORE hours melt by. By the way, by the end of this, it was four days consumed by this, four days I needed to be packing. And while this is going on I get an email that the device has been activated. Eventually someone claims I'll get no more of these notices. I hang up.
I get more of these notices. And then? The punchline: they suddenly, randomly, and I'm sure with malice aforethought, change my phone number without my asking them to.
I guess I should have expected that after returning so many texted surveys while going through all this, full of zero ratings and very detailed, and pungent feedback. The kind I'd get in my day job, which also involves customer service, and also heavily uses the phone. By changing my number I won't get those surveys, so some desperate, ratlike little rep who treated me like garbage now thinks he's saved his job and pulled a fun prank too.
This is why I'm going to drop TMobile completely, and why I'm telling you to use ANY OTHER CARRIER BUT THEM. And I hope their company drowns in their own incompetence, and I have no empathy for their cruel, nasty reps either, a curse on them all.
UPDATE: And now I'm told by TMobile that a rep changed my number without my permission out of spite. Actually did this. That's...sick, and creepy. But they're so full of sorries!