Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Introduction

I almost made it a year. Two more months, and my office would have been the closest thing to a home I had for an entire year.

After bumping around from friends' houses and offices and cars for nearly a year after my marriage ended, I got the news.

"You can't stay in the office anymore," my boss said. "Someone told us you've been living there."

I'd been expecting this. Yet despondency crept over me immediately.

"What am I supposed to do?" I asked.

My manager's cube, with its roofless space and comfortable queen-sized air mattress suddenly seemed like a palace.

"I don't know," my boss said. "But it's unacceptable to live in your office. It's against company policy."

Ah, good old company policy. The policy of the old, big company, which didn't mind me staying in the office when I was producing 14 hours of work per day, now had a big problem because it couldn't turn a blind eye to it.

I'm not sure anyone with a cushy salary a year would be so heartbroken about being pushed out of his office, but I was. (Remember boys and girls, cushy ain't so cushy when you live in Los Angeles and give about half your take home to your ex-wife).

Yet, somehow, in a battle of pride versus big corporation and government, pride will lose every time, so I swallowed it and jumped on Craig's List.

Glorious Craig's List. Where you can find a piece of paper or a gay meetup time at one of the stalls at your local gym.

That's where I found Academy House.

Academy House: Where the rent is $595 a month.
Academy House: Where Internet is included.
Academy House: Where utilities are free.
Academy House: Where I can bike less than a mile to the gym and work.

Academy House: Where I wouldn't let me girlfriend come over without a kevlar vest.
Academy House: Where I have a shared shower.
Academy House: Where the carpets smell like urine.
Academy House: Where I have to tell management if I'm going to have a friend over.

On my tour, I met Angie the property manager and Englishly-challenged Korean, who introduced my girlfriend to my dorm room complete with a TV the size of a bread box, a mattress-less single bed, a sink, a toilet and about 200 square feet of brown.

"SOLD!" I thought to myself.

Outside, my girlfriend said it best.

"I started to think, 'I could live here.'," she said. "But then I smelled the room and realized I wouldn't be able to leave the building."

That building, Academy House, would become my home.

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