Saturday, October 8, 2005

Getting Down To Brass Tacks

The last few post have – I hope – been informative general interest information for my fellow starving artist, although the have been admittedly stop gap measures to cover my lack of a home internet connection. I’m sure many readers are wondering about the specifics of my particular situation. So, here I offer my first state of experiment update.

The move went smoothly for the most part. I was able to claim some furniture – including a couch – from my roommates who were both running back to the protective confines of parents’ homes. I had no access to a truck of any sort, and of course I had no desire to pony up the money to rent a U-Haul. You’d be surprised how much furniture can be strapped on top of a car. The only major hitch was getting the couch into my second story apartment. Since it proved to bulky to go through the narrow stairway, we were forced to hoist the couch onto a lower porch roof and then through a handy door which leads from my apartment to roof. I like to think any neighbors who looked out their windows at 11 that evening were sufficiently confused. Of course, this wouldn’t have been accomplished without my friends Ben and Joe, so let me say my official thanks right here.

Once in my apartment, my major hurdle has been trying to eradicate the quite offensive odor left over from previous tenets and resides in the carpets. The carpets have been cleaned twice. Both cleanings have lessened the odor, but it still persists. After the second cleaning, the technician informed me that some of the stains on the floor were from urine – although he used much more colorful language – and as such the stain and its corresponding odor will never be completely eradicated. This was, to say the least, disheartening. I’ve been combating the situation through scented candles, air fresheners, open windows, and simply not spending too much time at home. I am also strongly considering tearing out my carpets.

I have not yet really met any of my neighbors. Even though I believe that making friends could prove invaluable in free food and other assistance, my timid nature and busy schedule work against me. I guess there is time. Although to be perfectly honest I can see myself talking a good game in this space but ultimately failing to deliver. I’ll work on being more sociable, since I owe it to myself and to this experiment.

As to the college campus, I can say it remains an unknown quantity to this experiment. I have discovered that I can blend in on campus with ease. I’ve walked through and spent time reading and the like in various campus locations. I have not been called out or noticed any questioning looks. Luckily Geneva, while still a small school, is large enough for my purposes and I am young enough to pass as a student. Still, when it comes to the college students I often feel like an anthropologist studying a native culture. I sit around the periphery making observations, but haven’t interacted. “Here I find a small group of humans in their early twenties engaged in a social situation. They male and females are doing something the locals call flirting. After 30 days I still haven’t been able to make contact. I am waiting to be noticed by the herd and invited in. I have attempted adopting their basic clothing and mannerisms, but they insist on ignoring my best efforts to be noticed. I am hesitant to force myself into the tribe for fear of sabotaging my entire endeavor.” It’s pretty sad really. Once again my basic timidity in new social situations is working against me. The experiment would be much more successful if I can get some college kids on my side. Plus, I would have a mush more exciting social life.

Of course, the bottom line of this experiment comes down to whether or not I can survive in my current situation. I have paid one month’s rent and it looks like I should be able to do the same next month. I have been eating well, or at least well enough given the situation. Peanut butter sandwiches have proven to be my go to food. I’ve had more than my fair share over the past month. I have also been able to utilize my grandmother for several meals and my food service connection for more – thanks again Ben. I haven’t starved – although someone’s been stealing my lunches at work occasionally, which makes me irate. Thus far I would say the experiment has been a qualified success. I am yet to explore all aspects and opportunities of my situations. The experiment is far from finished. There is much left ahead of me. Wish me luck.