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STR8BLOGGIN » Blog Archive » Living in a shithole: the summary

Living in a shithole: the summary

Well, I am 90% moved out of the “loft” in Wynwood. So far 2xth and Biscayne is a cool block: in the one complete day I’ve been here, I’ve been kept awake by pigeons fucking, gotten my car encrusted in the droppings of nature, seen an eight year old driving a pickup truck (on her father’s lap, but still), watched a 996 Turbo stall four times trying to make a U-turn while the driver’s cute female friend banged desperately on the door across the street, gotten yelled at by dominican children who were playing catch with an empty plastic cup, and enjoyed three refreshing cold showers since the hot water heater takes at least 20 minutes to do its job. As promised, here is my summary of what I have learned while living in Wynwood.

  • To make a warehouse into an attractive loft, you must be two out of three of these: extremely rich, extremely creative, or extremely strange. “I’m not that guy.”
  • Your friends may “get it”, in the same way they “get” 1976 black and white movies about Cypriot independance from Greece, but they won’t want to come over.
  • Warehouses lack insulation. And walls. Insects of all sorts appreciate these conditions. It’s like living outside.
  • Premeditated crime in Wynwood isn’t as big of a problem as you’d think.
  • Random crackhead crime in Wynwood is a bigger problem than you would think. (Stupid, pointless crimes: someone stole my car’s valve stem caps, but no one stole my 56″ TV)
  • The amount of work required to transform a raw space into something great is way, way, way more than it seems. If you are renting, it just is not worth it.

I had a unique thought as I was driving at 15mph through Overtown at 12:30am on a Tuesday morning with a mattressed strapped to the roof of my car held in place by a length of extension cord and one of the many bums whom I partially supported. (He helped me move. This bum in particular claims he is former military intelligence. How that leads to living under a literal pile of garbage in an abandoned lot is anyone’s guess.) I thought “wow, this is a unique situation.” I then began to reflect on the entire past year of my life, which can be considered to be a unique situation. Not the good kind, but at least something a little different.

Do I regret it? No, not really. At least it was interesting. So many memories: Those first nights that were a mixture of excitement — raw, limitless possibilities — and terror, unsure of the menacing poor people who lurked about in the shadows, stumbling drunk through the abandoned streets walking my pathetic faggy dog, each old business and underground artist’s studio and resident having their own unique stories in an area untouched by the fads of commerce, the passage of time, common standards of groundskeeping and maintenance. Three hurricanes back to back, that was some shit, the walls shaking and the gate rattling and that Wendys on 20th open right until the last minute so I could stock up on supplies. Gorging myself on Popeyes until I couldn’t stand any more of that greasy fucking chicken so I switched to Ramen which is even worse. The unique smells of Home Depot every couple days, blasting down 12th Ave on the way back, the horrifying totals of those receipts. That failed party with the strippers. Watching Price Choice Supermarket transform from a rat-infested hellhole into a pretty decent place. Watching Soho Lounge transform from a great place to party into a rat-infested hellhole. The feeling of bliss when that central air conditioning switched on the first time and that first boiling hot shower with the electric water heater. Avoiding the pet bums and their constant requests for one extra dollar.

I’ve come to suspect that my life is some sort of cautionary tale for other people to talk about in humorous tones after the fact. For instance: thinking back, it’s pretty obvious that moving to a ratty empty warehouse in the middle of the ghetto two years before that ghetto actually becomes chic (in other words, one year from now), when you do not have the funds or the motivation to actually turn it into something great is probably not a great idea. However at the time it seemed like such a great idea that I actually lusted for the place and coveted my neighbors lease, which is one of the forgotten commandments.

Like I said a year and a month ago: here comes the next chapter.

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