The Sonic Youth record is the only thing audible in the kitchen/living room/bedroom/bathroom area of the place. This is a studio apartment. This is San Diego, and all anyone can afford is a studio. The whole city is studio apartments. Three people per studio. $2,500 for a studio. Everyone works at a restaurant or bar and takes two community college courses per semester. Six units. “Yeah, I worked a double last night” is the most commonly used phrase in the city. It echoes through the alleyways. Every time it’s said, another cigarette is smoked. All waiters – sorry – servers, all servers smoke cigarettes on their 10’s and their lunches. The cute type of smoking, though. La Jolla smoking. Not the COPD, lung cancer, ruin your life type of smoking. We’re talking like the “127 likes on Instagram” type of smoking. The “I went away to Humboldt State and came back after three semesters” type of smoking. Everyone drinks in their studios. Only craft beer. Only microbrew. San Diego has the best beer in the world. It’s all small batch. Everything is an IPA or a stout. If you drink a lager, you obviously haven’t been working enough doubles because money is tight. Don’t forget to use coasters in the studio. We want our security deposit back, and this isn’t our furniture. We signed a 72 and ¾ month lease for our studio. The market is tough in San Diego. Need to sign longer leases to get a better deal on our studio. There’s no rent control for our studios. Lots of homeless people in San Diego. There’s a homeless man who lives outside of my studio. Must’ve not worked enough doubles. He is drinking a craft beer, though. Small batch. Microbrew. Everyone has a dog in their studio. French Bulldog or Pitbull. 400 sq. ft. Three people, two dogs. $100 deposit and $50 monthly fee for each dog in our studio. Our studio is on the 3rd floor, so the balcony is covered in dog poop. It starts to pile up outside our studio. During winter, it’s fine, but the hot sun of summer increases the horrible smell outside our studio. Why did we get dogs when we work so many doubles? We’re too busy to even be at our studio. We’d move out of our studio if we could. There are no single bedrooms in San Diego. It’s either studios or $5 million beach houses. I’m texting our studio group chat. We need more roommates if we’re going to get a house. Fifteen roommates altogether to be able to move out of our studio. I’ve always wanted to raise a family. Definitely not in our studio, though. There are leftovers everywhere, and dirty laundry is piled to the ceiling. It smells like cigarettes in our studio. Cigarettes inside, dog poop outside. I walk downstairs to get some fresh air. The 5 runs right over our studio. The cars scream at me every time I leave our studio. I found a girlfriend, and she now lives in our studio. We got engaged in our studio. We got married in our studio. We had kids in our studio. I didn’t die in the studio, though. I died in the restaurant. I was working a double.
Trevor Wing is a poet, writer, spoken word artist, and homeless outreach worker from San Diego, CA. He has been published in CounterPunch magazine. When he’s not writing, he’s listening to any music he can get his hands on.
Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower