Next came another residence- in Williamsburg, where I had lived for a while previously with an individual who it turned out was mentally deranged (which is why I quickly left after a few short months) and chemically dependent on crystal meth. This oasis at first looked beguiling, it offered a charming living room, bedroom (with 2 windows) and a cosy patio with a makeshift table that one could set their pot of tea in the morning so I was told. I then innocently asked- where their bedroom would be(it is always best that your bedroom and their bedroom are on the opposite ends of the house) and I was told I was standing in it. Which is to say, the living room was not really a living room but really a bedroom (hers) which would be off limits after a certain hour in the evening as she would need to get sleep to be up at work early the next morning. In my mind all I could imagine was the resentment that would eventually come my way as they would lie there at night seething as to why and how this writer fellow was living and sleeping in ‘their’ bedroom.
Then of course there were the ads that moaned that they wanted a room mate, but only on the condition- that you never came home (except at 4am in the morning), never worked from home, kept to yourself, never brought people over, had no girlfriend or boyfriend, never ate from their food, didn’t smoke, drink (all impossible expectations on the bohemian) and that as long as you kept the place clean you could do whatever you wanted to do in your bedroom. Interestingly these ads also came with the added caveat that you came with a guarantor, had a perfect credit history, a letter of employment and reference and were from time to time open to the occasional dinner party.
It’s true- living the dream of a bohemian has many merits and having your work widely shared and adding to the cultural dialogue can be a redeeming one that makes the battle of sanity worth ones while, but it is a vocation frought with peril and after time it has slowly dawned on my why these days why most writers, artists, film makers and actors are so often those who come from money- cause without it, or access to it- living the journey of a bohemian has become in today’s age a dying art. Which is not to say it not impossible, but extremely difficult and a rare existence considering all the modern day obstacles and realities of living in cost prohibitive NYC.
That said- there is a happy story (for the time being)- where this author did locate a new space to move in – the periphery of a working class area and an affluent area- Clinton Hill, a historical neighborhood of Brooklyn which has found resurgence in recent years despite its treacherous past where I will get to continue writing in a lush space, with wide open ceiling and floors, outdoor patio, expansive tree lined streets, cozy cafes nearby with a fellow artist who at least has the good sense/fortune to have a reasonably paying day job that affords him liberty to pursue his passion who upon meeting me- saw himself in me and realized having a working bohemian (despite their ad hoc finances) would be one of the best things that happened to him in a while (as far as roommates go). Which is to say- there is still empathy for the bohemian, strangely enough from other bohemians- and maybe that’s the trick- that we band together and help each other out- even if the sign saying ‘stop eating my food bitches’ can be at first somewhat alarming….