Hey, how was your summer?
Good, except for the short period in which I was evicted in Manhattan.
This week The Thrill staff welcomes you back to our glorious, digital publication by reliving summer 2019’s low moments because nothing unifies this campus like the love of Kenyon our mother and shared trauma. For Act I, click here.
This summer I worked at an internship in New York City. I am not from New York, I am from the boondocks of Connecticut where I have to drive forty-five minutes to go to the movies. But after a summer where I worked at a daycare near home and another where I commuted an hour into Providence every day, I was able to just barely skate by for nineish weeks in the big city.
I found a reasonably priced sublet in Brooklyn, I had about an hour-long commute into lower Manhattan for my internship, and by the end of June, everything felt like it was going alright.
Until it happened.
I woke up at 9:00 one Friday (my job started at 11 and ended at 7) and got ready. I was planning to go to some concert that night but I would have to go straight from work (so I wasn’t planning on bringing my backpack) so I wore a dark pair of pants and a black plaid shirt which I was hiding a t-shirt underneath so I could make the transition from business-professional to stunningly cool kid. The only problem was that my pants were the loosest pair of pants I owned, I forgot to wear a belt, and the shirt was not just black but flannel, on June 28th, when it was incredibly hot and humid. But I would only be wearing this stuff for a day, right? Right?
Just as I was about to leave, the guy I was subletting from knocked on my door. I opened it and saw another man behind him in the hall, who turned out to be the landlord. “Hey,” he said. “So, uh, it looks like we’re gonna have to clear out of here for a little bit.” I didn’t say anything at this venture but I probably looked a little confused, so he said, “Yeeeeah, I’m dealing with a kind of eviction thing, but I’m gonna have this all cleared up by the afternoon.”
Considering this, though I believed I would be back in my apartment by the nighttime, I thought it would be a bad idea to leave anything valuable (eg. my laptop and basically that’s it) when I wasn’t positive when I would be back so I grabbed it and put it in my backpack, pretty much deciding then and there that I would not be going to the concert that night, though I foolishly did not take this opportunity to change into more reasonable clothes.
I went to work and it was mostly normal, mostly. This was sort of sitting in the back of my brain the whole time, the “what if I can’t go home tonight?” question always pounding, pounding away, so I texted one of my Kenyon friends from NYC if I could sleep at her house that night in a worst case scenario, which she agreed to. At around 4, when I still hadn’t heard anything, I started getting nervous, so I texted the person I was staying with, at which point he told me that it looked like he was getting evicted for real, and therefore me, who had been in this city for maybe four weeks, right along with him.
I called my mom, then, as many of us do when experiencing the slightest confusing adult situation. Even though I was unlucky to be in a situation like this in an unfamiliar city, I was very lucky to be from a reasonably nearby state so we decided I would move out the next morning, come back home to Connecticut, and try to find a new place to live there, while not worrying about things like “where will I sleep?”
So I get out of work at 7 and commute over to my once-home only to discover that I cannot get in and retrieve my stuff because the landlord changed the locks. I do not have the information of the landlord, only the contact info for the guy I was living with, so I started texting him and asking, y’know, what the hell, when can I get my belongings, which belong to me, etc., and he told me that the doors would probably be opened on Sunday. I text my Kenyon friend to get permission to stay in her house an extra day and tell my mom to come on Sunday instead of Saturday. It wasn’t the end of the world if I had to stay in the city one extra day.
I spent that Saturday pretty intensely bored. My friend was actually out of town so it was just me and her brother, which made me feel just a little bit weird on top of the general restless feeling so I tried to go outside and do some reading (when I left my apartment Friday morning, another voice said, “there is a chance you might not get back soon,” so I subconsciously grabbed Stephen King’s The Stand which is a massive fucking book) but it was absolutely sweltering. And remember: I was still wearing the black flannel shirt and the extremely large pants. I pretty much soaked the black flannel immediately with sweat and had to grip the pants by the belt hooks every time I took a step to keep them from falling down. So going outside did not seem to be the right move for me. So I resigned myself to staying inside and letting the time pass—I very stupidly did not bring the chargers for my phone or laptop and felt it necessary to conserve both batteries as much as possible.
Around 9am on Sunday, my mom arrived. We had been fully unsuccessful in any attempt to ascertain a more exact time that the doors would be opened, and so we resigned ourselves to possibly waiting a long time. And wait we did. At 5pm, after eight hours of sitting in a car near my old apartment and literally watching the sun change positions in the sky, I realized this wasn’t going to happen today. The guy I lived with told me he was certain that I would be able to get in on Monday. But now we had the debacle of there being two of us and a car, where we could either drive a little under four hours out of New York and a little over four into it the next morning, or find a hotel.
We found a hotel with a pretty big discount but do you remember the day I got evicted? It was Friday, June 28th, making today Sunday, June 30th, also known as the day of the World Pride Parade. Having spent the entire day staring at the inside of a car, both of us had completely forgotten that anything was happening this weekend, and booked a hotel room that was literally in the middle of the parade. We tried to drive toward it but ended up having to park many blocks away and had to get one of the police officers to let us through the parade (I know, I know, no cops at pride), which was thankfully winding down (not many floats but oh so many people). I went to buy new clothes because I had not showered in three days (I am almost certain I could have at my friend’s apartment but didn’t want to intrude or anything) and my clothes were at this stage, of course, just drenched in sweat. I then got to the hotel, relished a shower like I never have in my entire life, and slept.
That morning, around 11, I was able to get my stuff. (Which, by the way, I found out after the fact that it was illegal for the landlord to withhold my belongings from me and I briefly fantasized about senior year lawsuit money but yeah that’s not happening.) It’s hard to fully communicate how confusing, frustrating, and absurd this whole experience felt, but I hope I could here. So at the least, I got a Thrill post out of this experience and a cute romper I bought when I was buying replacement clothes for my flannel. I had a couple other summer nightmares (I had a mini home invasion scare, I pooped my pants in Tompkins Square Park) but this experience is the one I will always associate with my tenure in the Big Apple.