Tuesday, September 05, 2006 · posted at 8:51 PM
su casa es mi casa.
Ben: (holds out his keys and plays with them) Ok....it's uh....a smooth, hard, round loop, connecting three shiny sharp metal.

Kinney: No, no. Don't say metal.

Ben: Connecting three, uh, shiny, sharp, hard, thin, strips, which have teeth -- sort of.

Kinney: Ok. Now, talk about the object subjectively.

Ben: They're my keys to my apartment.

Kinney: Why are these keys important to you?

Ben: I don't know. This is stupid, sir. I shouldn't even do this.

Kinney: You're doing fine. Talk about the object.

Ben: (exhales) All right, well, for this to make sense, you gotta kinda understand -- that my father and I never....well...it's his fault, it's my fault. He'd say it's my fault. I don't know. It's not fair, but whatever. We don't have a very good thing, but as it gets bad for me and him. I think it get, eh, even worse for my mom. Whose so incredible, she's so beautiful, and she's, you know, she's elegant. But, she gets so sad, she gets so upset when me and my dad fight. Her face just get's, um....she just cries a lot. And I've seen these pictures of them, too. My parents before they had me. And they looked so happy...so happy. So I know it wasn't always like it is now. Anyway, I guess, it's obviously that these keys mean I'm not home anymore. You know, which great for me. I'm sub-letting from this guy, Sean. He's this really nice, frustrated entrepreneur guy. It's me and three other guys. You know, it's cool, you actually want to hang out. It's a big place. But more then all that. These keys mean that I'm not causing anything at home. I'm here right now, so my dad and I don't have to deal with each other, you know. And so my mom isn't so sad. I hope. It's just good. It's better for everyone. I really believe that....that I have these keys.

- Felicity, 1.03, "Hot Objects"
Never underestimate the power of something so simple as a set of keys. As someone who spent the majority of the summer living out of a suitcase and without a mailing address, I'm beginning to appreciate how nice it is to have a place to call home.

Though keys can be a hassle, an unsightly shape in tight jeans with no give, an anxiety attack when misplaced... there is nothing quite as sad as a keychain without the guest of honor. I've griped about my keys weighing me down, but their absence from my purse was a perceptible loss. Not only in ounces, but meaning.

It is a stark realization that without keys you have no lock to a front door that leads to a living space in which you can kick off your shoes, throw up your feet and breathe a sigh of relief for an escape from the world.

Returning to New York, a place where every urban legend about housing horrors is actually true, without a stable living situation was nerve-racking. After countless hours scouring craigslist.org, trekking into sketchy areas of the borroughs and dozens of pleas via e-mail and phone (okay in actuality, I only physically looked at two other places, but one involved a couple of ferrets and the other involved Hare Krishna... 'nuf said), I finally settled into my new NY digs in... New Jersey?

Hudson County - otherwise known as the 6th borrough of NYC and the "wrong side of Manhattan." I found myself digging up all the excuses I heard my friends use when talking about living in New York-Jersey City: I can get to downtown faster, It's closer than Brooklyn, I spend all my time in the city and just need a place to sleep. But honestly, I feel less and less in need of defending it because it is really not that bad. Plus I didn't have to sell my soul for rent - which is great considering that I already promised it to my school to pay for tuition.

And in the end, I'm just glad to have somewhere, anywhere to go when the day is over... and to have a smooth, hard loop connecting three shiny, sharp, hard, thin strips which sort of have teeth dangling from my Duane Reade card.

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