only a few more days until i move into the apartment on south bouquet. alicia is on vacation until sunday, so she'll be moving in monday. i picked up the keys yesterday from our landlord, an older woman who lingered at the foot of the steep cement stairs outside our place while i stood on the porch, fiddling with the lock for the first time. the apartment is a little more run-down than i remember -- it's weird, when you're looking at apartments, desperate just to sign a lease to guarantee not being homeless in the fall, how even the worst apartments don't seem so bad. then in august, empty in the interim between tenants, the living room is smaller, the tile is grimier, one of the cabinet doors in the kitchen has a fist-shaped dent in its lower-left corner.
august is one of my favorite months of the year, not because of the weather or the fact that school is still out (its hot, i'm always anxious to go back), but because oakland is completely in motion. for a few weeks, dumpsters on sidewalks are full of the remnants of the old place that aren't important enough to drag across town. on my way to work today i was tempted to garbage-pick -- there were a few beige chairs, seemingly untainted, that would be perfect to fill up the kitchen table. i had to catch myself. cars are packed up, u-hauls park on front lawns. in the week before school, traffic lines the streets as the live-at-home-for-the-summer students return. then there's all the excitement of a new place: buying furniture, kitchen appliances, new sheets for the bed, new bath towels. meeting new neighbors. carving the groove of how things will be for the next eleven or twelve months -- which way to walk to and from the apartment, which chair is yours in the living room, where certain pieces of permanent decor reside about the apartment. all of this while it's still 90 degrees out; you can have something new, and still hang on to summer.