DAYS 3 & 4
Ahhh, the weekend. I have one word, one thought. HOORAY!! Well, kinda. This weekend I am faced with an interesting dilemma. I'm moving (and I don't mean moving my butt more, or moving my ass to the the gym). I mean moving for real. Like packing up my things in boxes (that I have yet to get) and moving to another apartment (that I have yet to find). That is the real dilemma. Where am I going to live? Luckily, I don't have to move today. I have one week to figure out that answer. And while I'm at it, I might as well figure out how I'm going to pay for this new apartment. Which brings me to my next dilemma, which pretty much all photogs can relate to, how do I support myself while I am pursuing this so-called "dream?"
While I'm on the topic of money, I'd like to make one thing clear. We photographers, don't make any! Well, not literally, I mean I do get a paycheck every two weeks. Most of the time though, it is so small that I'm convinced they've forgotten to pay me for a couple of days. I'm making less then I made when I was going to school. My non college degree self, who still received free healthcare from my parents, made more money. My little sister makes more money babysitting! So why do I do it? Why not quit, get another job that pays me more money (using that college degree that I worked so hard for) and stop complaining so much? I'd like to say that I stick with this job because I feel like it is the only place that will challenge me to live up to my full potential, but that would be a load of crap.
For now, I'm sticking with it because the economy is in shambles and I'm not sure I could get hired at Walmart. I'm also sticking with it because it gives me something new and unexpected almost every single day. I've met the President of the United States, held baby wolves, and watched a brigade case their colors and head to war. I've seen fires, and murders. I've searched for lost children, and gone to gorilla birthday parties. Every day is a new start, a fresh begininng. Wandering into the office at 9 am, I have no idea what awaits me. I like that. I like the adrenaline of the five oclock deadline, and the competition to be number one. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing my work on the news every night.
But I digress. The point is, I'm in news, I make no money, and that isn't going to change anytime soon. So this weekend is dedicated to finding a place to live that I can afford on my meager salary. I've nabbed the free apartment guide books at the local coffee shop and sit down to find my dream home. By the end of the first book I realize I'm screwed. There are three apartments in the whole book that fall within my price range. All three of them are in the parts of town that I get called to at three am for stabbings, shootings, and other criminal activity. Don't catch my drift? They are in the ghetto. No way. No how. Not moving there. A box would be better. I just need to make sure I place my box on the North side of town.
So I give up on the apartment guide books and hit craigslist. Plan #2 consists of me finding a cool female roommate close to my age who has a room available for 400$ or less in a part of town where I'm not scared to open my windows. Easy right? Once again I am naive. I post my add, telling everyone how cheerful and easygoing I am. I tell them about my love for wine and the Chicago cubs. I don't mention that I work in news, they don't need to know that. And I wait.
As the emails pour in I begin to realize that I may need a plan three. Here are just some of the emails I received: "Hi Jessica, I know your add said that you wanted to live with young professional females, but I am a 25 year old male soldier. Don't worry though, my momma raised me right!" or "Hi! I saw your add. I'm 17 and my husband is 18. We have a room in our house if you want to check it out." or even better, " I have a room in my basement. It doesn't have any windows, but that didn't seem to be a problem for the last tenant. I think you'll like it if you check it out. Oh, did I mention I have five cats. Email me back if your interested!"
Yeah, thanks, but no thanks. Moving on to plan #3. Unfortunately, I have yet to come up with a third plan. So I sleep on it (well toss and turn all night) and wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to attack the day. Plan three. Plan three. Ummmmm. Yeah. Then, lightbulb moment. I remember a co-worker mentioning an apartment complex by work that is affordable, and decent. I didn' t want to move south, but beggars can't be choosers. I decide to give it a try.
The inside turns out to be better then expected. It isn't the Ritz Carlton, but I can deal. If I look at the upside, it is within my price range (of practically nothing) and close enough to work that I might be able to walk in the summer. I try to ignore the downside while I'm signing the paperwork. Who needs more then 530 sq ft. anyways? Who even wants air conditioning? A wall separating the bedroom from the living room, totally over rated!
So that's that. I'm moving, in five days. I'm still not really sure how I'm going to pay for it, but at least I know where it is. I know this will be a problem I encounter often throughout my life, especially if I continue down this path of news photography. But as much as I hate the uncertainty of not know where I will be living in a week, I hate the idea of giving up on my dreams even more. So I'll keep plugging away. I'll survive the summer without AC, and deal with my lack of funds one week at a time. And I'll keep having faith that one day this thing they call growing up will get easier.