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au revoir, blanche dubois

blooming peonyI swear I’m not on drugs (besides your basic anti-depressants), but I could stare at a peony blossom for hours. Maybe it’s the lack of television channels here that makes it so facinating. But I’m amazed that what was a green ball on a stalk yesterday, transformed into a perfect puff of pink petals overnight.

If you’re not paying attention, you might not notice how quickly things change in a small village like Auvers. No, the changes aren’t like the ones in Manhattan where a 7/11 can blossom on a street corner overnight. And two stories can sprout on a highrise in a day. They’re more subtle. And they happen hundreds of times a day. In seconds, a gust of wind can change how the light plays on the leaves and turn a scene from bright and optimistic to ominous. And in the amount of time it takes a field of iris to flower and die in Auvers, an idiot in Manhattan can lose the lease on a 20 year rent stabilized apartment without even batting an eye (I couldn’t sustain the poetic bit a moment longer).

Where we last left off, my soon to be ex-landlord was being a dick, Ms. Potatohead (my soon to be ex-tenant)was being a potatohead, and I, of course, was perfect.

I don’t see any way around it, the apartment is gone.  There’s no way I’m going to bother fighting it.   Too expensive, too draining.    Of course, letting it go is going to be pretty expensive and draining, too.   Just less expensive and draining.

So how do I feel about losing the apartment I’ve loved and hated for 20 years?

I can convince myself that while it may have been my anchor all these years, perhaps it’s been a restraint. Maybe this whole calamity is a sign to completely cut the cord from NYC. It’s not like I feel any great desire to return.

And sitting here in this house with a yard and lots of space, makes me forget why paying almost one thousand dollars/month for a one and a half room apartment with crappy appliances, thin walls, faulty circuitry and a nasty landlord is such a wonderful opportunity. Even if it does have a small yard and charming mouldings.

I guess I always figured that even if I left NYC, it would be nice to have this inexpensive hovel to stay in while I was on book tours and promoting my newest film. Or maybe my niece would want it someday. It wasn’t Versailles (or even the tool shed of Versailles), but it was my hovel. And in NYC, an equivalent hovel is going for at least 2 grand a month, disgusting though that may be.

Still, I can accept losing it. It would have been nice to turn it over to someone I like, but that sure as heck isn’t Ms. Potatohead, so what the hey. Maybe it will be liberating to be homeless.

blanche at windowBut in the midst of my forced optimism, Blanche DuBois, the stray Maine coon cat who was a frequent visitor to my yard, comes to mind. Blanche would stop by several times a day for a little window pawing, meowing, a snack and some good old fashioned petting. Blanche is actually a male, but I didn’t find that out until after I named him Blanche and he didn’t seem to mind. Sometimes I still think I can hear Blanche’s meowling in the night. Blanche is a great cat. I can’t believe I’ll never see his insistent face at my window again. I left a bag of kibble by the back door in the hopes that Ms. Potatohead might feed Blanche when he comes to the window. But now I realize that the only thing the Potatohead sees in a window is her own reflection. Poor Blanchie. So far, this is the only part of this petite tragedy that really makes me cry. I loved that cat, almost like my own.

Once I stop wallowing, I will dry my eyes and think practically about what my next course of action should be. Where shall I live when these six months are up?

I’ve definitely learned not to depend on the kindness of strangers.

Maybe now that I’ve established the fact that something big is in the attic here, I can just move upstairs and nobody will notice. Or if the sewer system in Auvers is as nice as the rest of the town, maybe I can set up housekeeping there.

Did Quasimodo have cats?

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