Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Everything will be all right

Friends have said so in the past, on several occasions, and usually they were right. Truman Capote said the phrase is exactly what we want to hear. In "Other Voices, Other Rooms," Capote wrote:

"What we most want is only to be held...and told...that everything (everything is a funny thing, is baby milk and Papa's eyes, is roaring logs on a cold morning, is hoot-owls and the boy who makes you cry after school, is Mama's long hair, is being afraid and twisted faces on the bedroom wall)...everything is going to be all right."

I say it when I've spent too much time playing "What If."

What if this is all a cruel hoax and no one buys the condo and I've given away all my books and I never get to San Francisco? What if someone buys the condo and I can't find anywhere decent to live or I overlook some major monthly expense and end up worrying about money? What if...

You pay to park in San Francisco. Apartment dwellers are charged anywhere from $50 to $275 a month (maybe higher in pricey neighborhoods)to park a car. If your place doesn't offer parking, you pay the city for a public parking permit, and you park on the street. I've heard that cars are stolen off the street sometimes -- probably so the thieves can get a place to park.

Some people have urged me to sell my car. No one needs a car in San Francisco, they say. I do. I need a car in San Francisco so I can go to Muir Woods and Stinson Beach and wine country and Yosemite and Bodega Bay and the drive-through redwood tree near Eureka and other places I haven't yet discovered.

I'm taking the car, so I will need parking. I also want a place where I will feel safe. I want a washer and dryer on the premises. I'd adore having a dishwasher. I'm keenly interested in a place with a cross breeze. I'd like a quiet place, with nice neighbors. A view would be terrific, but if I don't get one, I'll just walk out the door and there will be plenty of scenic vistas close by. Mostly, I want a new nest, a good home.

Everything will be all right, I tell the cat.

When I look on Craigslist for an apartment in San Francisco at a price I can afford, plenty of possibilities pop up. Say I'm looking in the Inner Sunset -- and I am -- maybe 46 listings pop up. If I click on the tab that finds apartments where cats are permitted, the selection decreases to maybe seven places. Plenty of apartments pride themselves on being smoke free (hurrah!) and pet free. In response to that last information about pets, my friend Gail retorted, "What??? Then California should not be allowed to be a state."

Some places that take pets charge pet rent -- as much as $75 per month. Others require a hefty security deposit. Some places go so far as to post ads saying how much your pet will enjoy frolicking with dogs, cats and goodness knows what else (ferrets? rhinos? great-horned owls?) in the complex. A few places are specifically cat-friendly. My favorite listing read: "No pets. Cats only."

Everything will be all right, I tell myself and the cat. The other night, I resorted to comforting both of us with a song from "West Side Story." I stroked Maggie's head and sang, "There's a place for us. Somewhere a place for us..."

Once we are there, everything will be all right.

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