The Crack Den and Me Part Deux: Urban Camping

Two solid weeks have gone by. The apartment that is both my savior and the ban to my existence has tested me. My patience, my self-control, my mind.  Its harbored me and held me captive. Made me safe and dry. Forced me to focus. Fed my anxieties. Wrecked havoc on my phobia of being alone. Been a den of nothing but me.

I cannot tell if the apartment is turning on me, or forcing me to look beyond. It’s constant pinging of water from the shower was replaced with a constant pinging of water from one of the skylights. A harder, longer, fall from ceiling to ground than shower head to floor. It’s hard to think I’d miss one ping for another, but I do. Yet again, it seems the grass is always greener. I take note of this, as it seems to be an ever-present notion in my quarter life crisis.

Speaking of the shower. As you may recall, I had become a good New Yorker and unwillingly shared my shower. Well, that shower buddy that I had watched drown gave new meaning to the common joke “cockroaches can’t die.” For when I bravely ventured into the shower the next day to dispose of said friend, he had simply disappeared.


I had told myself the shower drain sucked him down and an angel above was trying to give my lonely soul a gift. While that may seem nice, it actually only made showering all the more frightening. I’d watch the drain as I stand naked under the pouring water with anxiety and fear thinking he’d come back to haunt me. Torture me from beyond. Take away the renewing sensation water brings this Piscean male.

I was wrong.  Instead the shower began to turn on me.  It seems the drain that had possibly removed my friend and given me a gift decided to turn on me as well. Water draining would’ve been an after thought. Now its my only thought. The bathroom sink, the kitchen sink and the shower all refuse to drain if water is still running.

Taking showers that are also half bath would be fine, but I am in a stand-alone shower, the kind without a tub. Yes, this fancy penthouse has a separate tub. One I dare not toy with as I can only imagine what surprise will want to swim with me.

So now the apartment, my own form of the Armageddon curses me with its own plagues and horrors. Tests of worthiness. A period of redemption.

As the shower began its prophetic revolt, I could almost hear it saying, “We will be eco-friendly whether you like it or not.” I could not attest, and now take a full shower in record speed. I do not mind, and even find the comedy in the tragedy that is my newest form of reality. Showers are now the biggest rush of adrenaline I find on a daily basis. Who would have thought that would be a sentence? Anyways, I am straying. It is here that I wish I could wrap up my shower vignettes, but this is unfortunately not the end.

You see like any normal person I would like to turn the shower on, so that it could warm up, even though it does so rather fast because yes this is till an East Village penthouse, but this is simply not in the cards for me. However, I like to live on the dangerous side and threw caution to the wind one bowel movement ago, and got lost in my only connection to the outside world, my phone. Scrolling the web, reading my facebook wall and finally catching up on my Words with Friends games I let the shower win. I finally unzoned from the evil that is the Iphone 5S and went to get into the shower; however, this time said shower was now more bath than shower and I was left to fend off water from overtaking the bathroom as a whole.

In the end I refused to let the apartment win and waited ten minutes for the water to drain so that I could take a two-minute shower. It’s been that way ever since. I tell myself I am winning. I think it is rather clear I am not.

There has been some other adventures as I live out this rent free pad in the heart of the east village, but what truly brings this story to fruition is what happened about thirty minutes ago.

As I lay on the luxury that is an adjustable firmness airmattress getting ready to read my new book, “Mr. Peanut,” I see what I thought was a ghost. Out of the corner of my eye, I see what lets me know that no angel was looking down upon me. He is back. The roach lives!

Now to be fair and not an airhead, I know it is quite possible that there is more than one cockroach in this elegant estate, but for purposes of wholeness, my mind and this story, it is the same one.

As if time itself moved backwards, there he is, ghost of cockroaches past.  He arrogantly makes his presence known and stands with confidence, gazing at me like a piece of meat. I know this feeling and it makes me uneasy. Unnaturally jarred. Scared. So I do as instinct has it and jump up onto my air mattress, and as I do he darts to the bed, strategically under the portion of the blankets that lay on top of the floor. The blankets are too long. It is an air mattress after all.Panic takes over. Is he in my blankets? Is he about to get his revenge? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! I do what has to be done I pull up blankets and start shaking them out. Freaking out is an understatement. Nothing. Is that good or bad? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! Two deep breaths and I rationalize he is more afraid of me than I of him. Right? I DON'T FUCKING KNOW!

Just as I am about to pull my shit together, there he is, back at where this all started. Staring at me from across the room. It is a showdown. Two cowboys, or one 25 year old in his underwear and one cockroach, same thing ideally, about to go head to head. It is either he or I. And at this rate the odds seem to be rather too close to equal than I would have preferred. But, I take my chances, grab my flip-flops, which have amazing back-whip to them, and chase after my shower companion.


It happened. I did it. Yes, I killed the one thing that was keeping me company in this isolated fortress. I must admit a part of me truly felt sorrow and uneasy as I confirmed with the bottom of my flip-flop that he was officially “of the earth” now. The other part of me felt relief that I would not be woken up with cockroaches birthing out of my ear. Again, realistically I know this probably isn’t the only one, so that is still a fear.

Now, I sit truly alone in penthouse X of two thirty something on eleventh between here and there. A boy, not yet a man, maybe a guy, in his black, grey and red stripped Hanes briefs telling the story of urban camping. Of a lost frienemy and a shower on revolt.

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Posted on January 31, 2014 .