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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

10 Things I think... Moving On Up to the Eastside

Y'all. I moved out of the treehouse!!!! Most of you know I moved to DC and it was quite the adjustment for any number of reasons. I mean I had been told the worst about DC: watch yourself, it's colder there than STL, all the men have their side teeth. Truthfully though watching myself is real, it's the SAME DAMN WEATHER AS STL- JUST A DAY LATER and there are definitely missing front teeth here. Ok but my point is... I made a major move. Packed up my "my son practices karate" Chrysler with whatever could fit. Honestly, it was some Beverly Hillbilly's ish. And I move into something altogether different. This blog will walk you through my three housing experiences in DC.

August 2016. Cheverly, MD- Basement apartment in a small city right outside of DC. Perfect (in theory).

  1. Ok so boom... I did what most people do when looking for housing- craigslist. I looked up a few listings and scoured pics to find what I hoped to my dream place. My sister had researched the owners and we discovered that they were pioneers of sorts. They were a same-sex couple in a major case on child adoption. I was hella impressed by all their #BLM and #BanIslamaphobia tags. Well, when I got there I realize that this Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the most granola folk I had ever met. The apartment was hella dirty. I'm sure it had been cleaned with the finest "element" cleaning products. Well as for me and MY HOUSE- clorox and pinesol will be present. So my first inclination that we lived differently was when I finally got into the apartment and they let their uglass dog run and jump on me and the bed. Now... I love dogs. I do. But I still have vivid spiritual and ancestral memory and response to unfamiliar dogs.

  2. The second time I realized we live differently- "Wow you use a lot of bleach". Ma'am, how can I ease the pain when I know these germs are coming back again?" They were upset that I used any.

  3. They refused to cut the grass. Instead, they insisted upon putting some strange white powder on the steps. That white powder had to be Columbian uncut coke for animals. There were so many panic attacks while trying to access the apartment. One night, I entertained the idea of just sleeping in the car. I yelled and they thought someone had been slaughtered. My fear had me contemplating just coming back tomorrow.

  4. So I'm walking in the house one day. Walking through the driveway. It's a little dark outside but one of the feminist crew was outdoors doing some "yard work". As I get closer, I say, "Hey Susan" (pseudonymized for comedic reasons). She jumps out of her skin- literally. She covers herself with the water hose to ward off some impending vicious attack. I didn't even have the damn energy to make it better. I just kept walking into the house. You and that heart attack will be outside alone, shit. It's cold. They were terrified of Black people. The one time I had a guest they damn near crashed the car.

November 2016 Northwest DC Treehouse move

5. So. I got the hell out of there. Made up some excuse about needing to move to Baltimore for work. I saw on humpback cricket and large slug too many. I packed all my stuff into my wind up car and moved. BY MYSELF. I literally had an air mattress and some plastic storage bins to my name. The other apartment had been "furnished". I use "furnished" lightly because I swear that mattress was made of fall leaves and racism. I found the "treehouse" on Craigslist. Met the owner with my shank in my purse- just in case. It was a cute little place. Bug-free. Cleaned. Black woman-owned. Howard alumna. I was as happy as a hog in... what do hogs even like? Any way. I was happy. She even took $100 off the rent when she found out I was at HU. The treehouse was good to me until about 1.5 years ago. 1.5 years ago my landlord broke up with her boyfriend and started working out. Little did I know, I was being awakened by the rhythmic sound of the horizon poker- No. This was her running over my head with the full aggression of a scorned lover. While I knew they were a bad match- I wanted them to work it out for the sake of my sleep. But NOOOOOOO every DAMN morning from 7:10ish to 8, I had to hear her hurt LOUDLY.

6. Ok, I can deal with this. Outside of her healing, it wasn't going badly, right? THEN. She started river dancing above my damn head. I swear she was wearing wooden clogs. She would literally sound like an HBCU marching band above me. AND THEN. There was the tv volume. She'd watch that ish on a level 25/10. Seinfeld ain't never been that damn funny.

7. I had started to get invited to the homeowners' stuff. Folks were asking me when the trash was running and if my water bill had gone up. I was the only non-owner in the neighborhood app. Folks on there reporting shootouts and I ain't heard nothing because I'm already in a dungeon. I'll never forget... one night I heard like six shots in a row. My mom was like "lay low tonight" and I wanted to fight her. Me: It doesn't get much lower. I can't even have plants.

Honestly, it was time to go. It wasn't her- it was me. when I told her I was leaving I was surprised by her response. She was like "cool". First off, how dare you not be heartbroken over my departure? The hell? Have you been seeing someone else? Or maybe she was tired of renting her basement because her new boyfriend was becoming a regular and she might need a pandemic office. Either way, it was hella amicable.

Moving on Up to the Eastside to a DEEEEEELux overpriced apartment with liiiggggghhhhhttt.

8. I moved y'all. Literally 6 minutes from the last place. What can I say? I like my neighborhood. The weed man still cycles avidly and stalks about the stock market. The old lady with the 4 dogs is still walking them in strollers. The 7eleven is still struggling to maintain the slushy machine. I love it over here. It's closer to the metro and now I don't have to drive to work once outside opens back up.

9. I have floor to ceiling windows. Even if I had to make a wood fire in here for heat it would still be amazing. I can do a full circle without hitting a wall. I can have more than one kitchen appliance, I have a BOUCH (Couch) and I was able to put up a Christmas tree. My plants are thriving and the neighbor next door has gossip hour that's super entertaining. She must live with her partner because I always hear her in the closet spilling tea generously. "But she say she a Christian..." She entertains, chile.

10. On a serious note, where you live (especially right now) makes a huge difference in your care. I was suffering every winter without access to daylight in the treehouse. I also never felt fully comfortable. Never felt inclined to complain because I felt like I lived in someone's home. Now, I get to move how I want, spread out, cook a meal in my FULL KITCHEN (goodbye to the easybake oven in the treehouse) and even cuss loudly. I moved for peace. I moved for new beginning. I moved for room to expand in every way- my dreams, my creativity and my sanity.

Here's my welcome sign.

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