We moved in to our new apartment in Los Angeles last month. My boyfriend drove all of his belongings across the country and we moved many of my belongings from the house downstairs where I was staying to the apartment about 200 yards away. Not everything was here though. We then had to drive down to San Diego to get the stuff that I had left in the attic in the house I lived in there. This is the first time since I left Brooklyn in March of 2010 that none of my stuff is in storage. I lived in one (pretty large) room in San Diego. My friend already had a fully equipped house when I got there so a lot my stuff wasn't necessary. Then I moved to LA to go to school and from January to July, it was pretty much the same deal only I had room for even less stuff.
So, when we got back from San Diego that day and everything I owned was in one place AND accessible to me, it was like Christmas day. You have no idea how much fun it is to dig through boxes and find things you forgot you owned. The downside is that you also get done going through boxes and you start to realize how much stuff you've lost or, worse, thrown away for reasons you can't even begin to remember. For the last six weeks, every four or five days I will think, “Hey. Didn't I used to have...?” Then I spend about 20 minutes wondering whether I threw it away before I left Brooklyn, if it might have not made it off the moving truck when I got to San Diego, if I somehow got rid of it moving stuff from one storage spot to another or if it's here somewhere and I just missed it somehow.
Mostly what I think about, though, is the ridiculous amount of money I spent when I was using meth. When I first got sober I would talk to other guys who had also been drug dealers (it's amazing how hard that is to write now) and they would talk about how they had tens of thousands of dollars stashed away somewhere and that's what they were living off of. That floored and baffled me. Money didn't just burn a hole in my pocket when I was high; it was as though it spontaneously combusted in there. When I do the math of just the things I remember I shake my head. It's good in a way though, because sometimes I wonder how on earth someone like me came up with the idea to do some of the things I did. I was broke. I was an addict. As risky and as stupid and as dangerous as it was, it was a solution to my problems at the time (and the cause of a whole lot more but that's not what I'm writing about tonight).
It seemed like every time I left the apartment, I came back with bags and bags filled with things we had to have. In fact, sometimes I didn't even need to leave the house. I'd just get online and start spending. The UPS driver had plenty of reasons to come see me (which now that I think about it is maybe why I never got caught doing some of the stupid shit I did). A lot of the spending was frivolous, but not all of it. Once my boyfriend started yelling at me because he thought I was spending too much money. He thought I was out of control (and I probably was). I didn't flinch though. I just told him point blank, “This job I have right now is not going to last forever. At some point the bottom is going to fall out and everything is going to go to shit. I'm not going to have a pension or get a severance. But I will have an apartment full of shit that either I can sell or keep so that we're not living in squalor.” And I was right. It happened just about exactly the way I predicted.
He was right too, though. I was completely out of control. I went out one day after we had moved into our new apartment because we needed a lamp. While I was out I picked up a canopy bed frame and a mattress. Then I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get sheets. $2200 later, I had to have most of the stuff delivered because even with the friend I dragged along with me we couldn't possibly have gotten the stuff into a cab and back to my apartment. If I remember correctly one of the things I bought was a full-length mirror, fully intending to walk out of the store with it. I was cold one night so I went into Macy's and bought a Calvin Klein leather jacket. I was actually notorious for buying jackets of all kinds because the temperature changed drastically while I was out. That can happen when you leave the house at 4 pm and return home at 6 am three days later.
I bought a home theater system (complete with a giant sub woofer) at a Circuit City in San Diego and had it shipped back to Manhattan. It was just too good a deal to pass up. I don't even want to talk about the trip to Ikea four days after the Bed., Bath and Beyond extravaganza. I will say that we rented a car to go there and my boyfriend almost couldn't fit into the passenger seat after we loaded everything in. There was a trip to the outlet mall in Palm Springs in November of 2006 where we bought so much shit that I think the shipping charges alone were over $500.
The funny thing is that for as maniacal as I was, I essentially did exactly what I set out to do. Some (maybe even a lot) of the stuff I bought that year has been lost or discarded, but I'm sitting on that bed (which has sheets and a blanket from BBB) right now writing this post. I'm using the television I bought as the computer monitor. I cooked breakfast and dinner on the pots and pans I got in Palm Springs. I call the stuff ill-gotten gains all the time, but there's a reason I like having it around. It reminds me that even in the middle of being completely self-destructive, I wanted a life beyond that. I like knowing that I had some small hope for the future.