So with the end of residency and the start of fellowship comes my big move. I decided to go to a large city. I was tired of being in the middle of the boondocks or surrounded by lots of settled people in their perfect houses and gardens and 2.1 children. And since I’m not a big fan of New York City and am not even willing to have a 2 year experience there – I found myself in the “Athens of America”.
Okay. So I knew it was going to be expensive, but really?
First there was the issue of finding an apartment. People want me to believe that paying $1500 monthly for an average size one bedroom apartment without parking, without laundry facilities in the building, and without utilities is a good deal. What on earth?! Oh, but the laundromat is just one block away. And so? Oh but wait, the guy down the street can rent you a parking space for a measly $200 a month. Come again?!
Then there’s this whole rental deposit thing. You put down first month’s rent, last month’s rent, security deposit in the amount of a full month’s rent, and if you use a realtor a full fee (one month’s rent) or half-fee (if the landlord pays the other half) for their “help”. So in the example of my $1500 “perfect” one bedroom apartment, I could pay close to $6000 up front! Does money grow out of my nose?!
Ha! Then there is the car insurance thing. Now before you jump on me for even thinking of bringing my car to the city, let it be known I considered using the public transport system and actually mapped out my potential trips and considered my reading list. But since this is not New York City where the subway runs all night, I can’t really say this system is reliable. So I may not ever have to pre-round at 5:30 every morning but I do have to return to the hospital in the case of an emergency at whatever hour of the night. So no, I will not take a cab in this market, and, yes my car comes along. I expect my insurance to double. I’ve made peace with that, let’s move along.
Speaking of cars, another reason I seriously considered using the public transport for going to work is that the people in this city are the world’s craziest drivers. Honestly. See what others have to say. I’m ready for my poor car to be dinged left and right. I hang my head in sorrow now.
So I made my budget, realized that even with my PGY-4 salary raise, $1500 -$1700 per month to just have a roof over one’s head and water flowing in the pipes, note that the water is not yet heated!, is pure insanity. No-one should have to spend more than 50% of take-home pay just on rent! Can I not at least pretend to have a life?
So I compromised and looked in the “ghetto”. Okay fine not like the real ghetto because I would drive myself crazy out of fear for my safety. But my neighbourhood is definitely working class and blessed with melanin. I won’t find any fellow medical professionals or artsy folks here. I got a roommate to split a 2 bedroom apartment. Thank the Lord she’s a dear friend and an equally insane medical resident. Utilities are included, a coin-operated laundry is in the building so I won’t have to slosh through the snow with dirty bloomers, and there’s a dedicated first-come first-serve parking lot. I’m going to have to get my hustle on to get a spot each day. To boot, we’ve got excellent views of the city from our bedrooms!
This is going to be an experience. Ambulance and police sirens will now replace the birds that used to tweet by my window. Parents yelling at their kids in such harsh language, goodness!, will now replace the dogs that barked at me as I return home from work. Scents of curry will greet me as I make my way to my end of the building instead of the lack of smell of folks probably eating pastrami sandwiches and organic rice cakes. More importantly, I’m going to have to share my living space! Oy! Let’s hope I don’t drive my room-mate crazy.
But why is moving such a bother?! The more I move, the more unpleasant the experience becomes. I can’t believe I’ve stated before that I have wanted to be a mobile person, moving every few years or so. I’m definitely insane. Honestly, unless someone else packs and moves my furniture and boxes, this cannot go on forever. We shall see.