Subletting is lifestyle tourism. This week I’m staying in a Williamsburg apartment that wafts oestrogen and litter box. The lavender sheets are made from wood pulp. Shiva, Parvati and their whole gang greet me everywhere I turn, and there’s a small altar in the fireplace. Books on Indian spiritualism are stacked in the bedroom, there are affirmations on the fridge, mirrors everywhere, and angsty girl music in the stereo. I’m living in Lilithville.
The cats are friendly. One is grossly obese; possibly a neutering problem. The other is an athlete who launches herself off the wardrobe and onto the bed. Affection is in short supply now that Mommy is away, but they seem mostly concerned with food. I cannot get used to the idea that breathing, non-human creatures move around in here. After living in the woods surrounded by real animals, this seems as exotic and absurd as moose in my bedroom. This pair are Furbies with more features, and I pity them as undignified dependents, incapable of catching their supper or breeding a litter. Cat-owners have coy theories that the felines are in charge, but the opposable thumb that works the tin-opener is the real boss.
Tomorrow I move to a cave on Atlantic Avenue for three months. I sublet it from Björn, a delightful Norwegian programmer. He has a server rack in his living room, geek toys everywhere, flat panel tvs, a raw-food juicer that excites him greatly, and Buddhist slogans on his whiteboard. There is very little furniture. It is so dark that the radio will tell me what to wear every day, and I dread it. SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder) will turn me into a snivelling axe-murderer by July. But it’s cheap.