While working at the Smith College library, I had to suddenly move into my first apartment alone. Since college, I had always shared apartments or houses but my current roommate and ride to work abruptly announced he was moving out of our wonderful place on Bryant Hill in Chesterfield. He said this with only two weeks left in the month. I would have to make a hasty departure about which I was not happy. Roommates can be such a pain in the ass.
Price was a prime consideration as was the need to walk to Nielsen library since I had no car. Scanning the classifieds I came across a brief description: “Center Street, two rooms, second floor, no parking. $85 a month includes utilities.” It seemed perfect. After following the portly landlord 15 steps up to a dark corridor with four doors, he cheerfully unlocked the first door on the right, which opened out. As we entered the kitchen/dining room I realized why the door didn't open in. An ancient sink crowded up to the entrance. It was a deep utility basin with separate hot and cold spigots like you might find in a workshop. A mirror with patches of delaminated silvering hung above it in coordinated funkiness. Jammed between the sink and the window was a two-burner gas stove with a box of kitchen matches on the back. All of the woodwork and the windows were painted black and the walls were a lovely high-gloss turquoise. The room was high with an overhead wall-switched light covered by an ornate cut-glass globe that cast little slivers of light on the mercifully white painted ceiling. I looked at the still-beaming landlord who with a grand sweep of his arm directed me to the bedroom also in turquoise and black but a bit bigger.