Title: The Move to Columbus, Ohio

Date Written: September 11, 1992

Date Edited: December 30, 2020

Written by: Joel Kant


For eight months that started in January, 1992, I have been living in an apartment in Euclid, Ohio while doing research at the Cleveland Clinic. The apartment on the fourth floor had a nice view over Lake Erie. I had to leave the impressive view behind to move to south to Columbus, Ohio to take graduate courses at O.S.U. for the upcoming school year. I had to be out of my Euclid apartment on August 31, 2020. Yet, I couldn't move into my new efficiency apartment in Columbus until September 1, 2020. I had a dilemma since I needed someplace to put my belongings on the night of August 31. I brought one load that could fit in my 1981 Honda Accord hatchback to my thesis advisor's garage.

On moving day of August 31, I filled the Honda Accord hatchback with my remaining belongings that were not in my thesis advisor's garage. I spent the night at the lab technician's apartment. I slept on his couch.

Early on the morning on the first day of September, I drove to Columbus. It should take only a little over two hours for the trip, but it took close to three hours due to traffic at both the Cleveland and Columbus ends of the trip.

Given that my Honda now has 157 thousand miles on it, I feared problems. I got them. Even before I got out of Cleveland when I stopped at a gas station to fill up. I noticed one of my rear tires was very low on air. I drove to the air hose and added air to it. That did not work a I could hear the air hissing back out of the tire. It had a small hole in it.

I had known I needed new tires, but had been putting off buying them. The reason is during the eight months I had been at the Cleveland Clinic, the student parking lot that I used daily often had sharp broken beer bottles pieces in it. I decided to wait on getting new tires until I got to Columbus because I didn't want to buy them just to have them ruined by that broken glass.

Rather than unloading many belongings to get to the spare, I had a can of instant tire repair goop I had picked up at the auto shop for a buck. I had this where it was easy to get to, just in case. The goop worked.

At ten thirty in the morning. I was in Columbus. I found a legal place to park, which was a minor accomplishment as the campus was busy with students moving in. I went into the company headquarters that owned the building with my apartment. The company owned several buildings filled with student housing. I needed to get my keys to the new apartment. There was a problem with getting my apartment keys. I had to sit in the office and wait until some man who was out on call reappeared with the correct keys.

Even though classes had not officially started yet, I already had homework to do. I had to read sections of book called Biological Spectroscopy, then write a report.

For a long time, I sat in a chair at the side of the waiting room. The secretary for the rental company sat at a large desk. I did my homework. The office of the rental company was a madhouse. I overheard problems occurring because people hadn't moved out by August 31 when their lease had expired, yet others were ready to move in. Other new renters came to report various problems with their new apartments such as clogged plumbing and stuck windows.

I kept waiting, trying to ignore the commotion to do my homework. At one point, a haggard unshaven young man walked in. He looked like he had slept in his clothes. He noticed me looking, and apparently guessed my thoughts because he admitted that he had slept in his car. As he waited for the lady behind the desk to get off the phone, he was in a conversational mood. He explained to me that he had driven from Chicago. He told me that while he had been asleep in his car, he awoke as a cop wrote him a parking ticket. Even though he was in the car so the car was occupied, the cop still gave him the ticket. That had been his welcome to Columbus, Ohio.

Unlike with my apartment, there was not an issue with his keys. As the disheveled young man received his keys from the secretary, he mentioned to the lady that he had driven from Chicago.

Not impressed, the lady pointed at me and said with emphasis, "He drove here from Cleveland."

I don't think a three-hour drive from Cleveland that should have been two hours compares to a ten-hour drive from Chicago, but I didn't feel like discussing it.

At about noon, I was told I had been switched from the apartment I was supposed to get as arranged back in July. I was told then it had not really been an issue with the keys, but because the people in that apartment had refused to move when their lease had expired. This seemed a common problem with renters of this company. However, having paid first month rent and security deposit, another apartment had been found for me in the same building. I was told it was the same size as the apartment I was supposed to get. With keys in hand, I went to this replacement apartment.

When I got there, I unlocked the key and opened the door. I discovered the apartment was in appalling condition. It was still being used as a storage room. It was filled with several mattresses against the wall, a couple desks, two tables, and six beat-up chairs. There was a large empty Hardee's paper cup on the floor. The windows were filthy enough to be hard to see through. The rug had black marks on it which were stiff to the touch. I walked into the bathroom. There was a hole in the ceiling above the bathtub. The bathtub had painted splattered over it. The exhaust fan was caked with dirt and dust. The wall under the fan had dirt trails leading to the fan. Next, I went to the kitchen. It had one of the dirtiest floors I had ever seen. As expected, the oven hadn't been cleaned. The refrigerator that was supposed to be included along with the stove in the kitchen was missing, although the stove was there.

I went back to the rental office and complained. It didn't do much good as I did not have much leverage to go elsewhere at this point. All I got was the extra furniture was removed so this would no longer be the storage room.

With the first load dropped off, I got back into my car. I drove back to Cleveland for my next Honda-load. There was less traffic this time. I retrieved the material from my thesis advisor's garage.

Arriving back in Columbus, I parked. I grabbed a couple heavy boxes and carried them to my door. I put the key in the door and tried to unlock it. I couldn't unlock it. Not only couldn't I unlock it, but the key got stuck in the lock.

I brought my boxes back to the Honda Accord. I put them back in and locked the car. I walked to the rental office about a block away. It was closed. I looked at my watch. It was just after six pm after my drive to Cleveland and back.

I walked back to my apartment. I found a couple of neighbors upstairs. One guy was talking about the healing power of crystals. I asked if there was a maintenance phone number that I could call about my keys not working. The guy interested in crystals gave me the number and let me use his phone. I got an answering machine. After leaving a message, the other guy mentioned that the same company owned the building next door. He said that he saw some maintenance guys over there.

I walked next door. Sure enough, there was a maintenance man sitting in his pickup with the company name printed on his tee-shirt. After I explained my problem, he came over to my door. The key was still stuck in the lock. He also had trouble getting it out. He only succeeded after using some big pliers. He completely replaced my lock, doing that very quickly.

With the door lockable again, I unloaded the Honda. I then walked to a McDonalds on campus. I was to eat there several times in the next two days.

Back at the apartment, which still needed much cleaning, I nevertheless unpacked my computer and got to typing up my homework into the word processor. When I got too tired to continue, which was pretty early due to tiredness from carrying all those boxes, I got out my sleeping bag.

For two days, I worked on the report. I still hadn't unpacked any further. I ate at McDonalds. At midnight on the second day, I printed the completed report. It was due the next morning.

The next morning, I turned in a paper copy of the report to an O.S.U. professor. I sent an electronic version to Cleveland through the computer network between O.S.U and the Cleveland Clinic. From what I saw at the Cleveland Clinic, my thesis advisor up there made extensive use of the speed available with telephones, computer networks, modems, faxes, and Federal Express. Around him, things happen fast.

With that report taken care of, I could clean and unpack. I worked on the bathroom first. I scrapped the paint off of the cast-iron bathtub. I used duct tape to block the hole in the ceiling. Tilex wiped out the mildew.

In the kitchen, I scraped the caked-on dirt off of the floor with a knife edge. I then scrubbed with Comet. After this, I mopped with a bucket of Spic-and-Span. With the floor as clean as I could get it, I coated it with Mop-and-Glo.

I'll leave out the rest of the gruesome cleaning details. I spent about a hundred dollars on various cleaners: Spic-and-Span, Mop-and-Glo, Windex, Tilex, Comet, Resolve Carpet Cleaner, Fantastic, Lime-A-Way, Dow Oven Cleaner, and Clorox Bleach. I was most impressed with the power of Tilex. Even with those potent cleaners, it took me a week to get this place clean. I wish it was as easy to clean as in the television commercials for the cleaning products!

The same guy that fixed the lock showed up with a refrigerator the day after I had finished my report. He left it in the hallway for defrosting and cleaning. Cleaning by me, that is.

The apartment is finally clean enough to be livable!

Besides having my apartment, as a grad student in Biomedical Engineering, I was given a desk to work at in the Biomedical Engineering building. It is in a room with nine other desks for grad students. All of the desks are set off with partition walls.

A German student is in the desk behind the partition wall in front of my desk. One day, I told him where I was living. He said that he used to live very near there.

He added, "I was mugged twice."

Where my apartment building is located certainly did not look like the slums when I had visited in July. However, most of the O.S.U. students were not there in July. I discovered this apartment building is a block or two south of several fraternity houses. I had not figured that out back in July when I visited. I sometimes go that way when walking or bicycling to certain of my courses.

I discovered the sidewalks by the frats usually have many empty beer bottles beside them. While walking by one of the frat houses, I heard a woman sitting on a windowsill talking to some men sitting on lawn chairs on the roof of a porch. She enthusiastically asked, "Where you here when I threw up last night?"

She made drinking enough to throw up sound like a major accomplishment.

Speaking of drinking, on a Saturday evening I talked with another of my neighbors. He had helped me move the refrigerator into the kitchen after it had defrosted, and I did some of the cleaning of it out in the hallway. As he talked, he finished his forty-ounce Busch beer. I offered him a lukewarm Coors, as I had a case. The refrigerator had just been plugged in, so would take some time to cool. Despite the beer being lukewarm, he accepted one. I also had one myself.

Out of the blue, he announced, "I'm an alcoholic."

To myself, I silently thought, "I don't feel guilty about giving you a beer because you were drinking before I gave you one!"

I said out loud, "Obviously you aren't one that stopped drinking."

After taking another long drink of his beer, he agreed that this was so.

I asked how he found out he was an alcoholic.

He replied, "I figured it out after I woke up in the back of a cruiser, and I couldn't remember why I was there."

He said that he had tried AA, but hadn't stuck with it. He also said that he hadn't paid the rent and might get evicted. He was unemployed.

I sympathized with the unemployment, "Now is a tough time to try and find a job. Why don't you give AA another try? You slipped. It happens. That doesn't mean you can't try again."

The speech didn't work. Instead, he asked for another beer. I let him have one. I would not have been able to move the large refrigerator on my own, and two cans of beer was well worth it.

Two days ago, I bought new tires for my 1981 Honda Accord. From what I have been told, I will be doing a lot of driving between Columbus and Cleveland during this quarter. O.S.U. is on a quarter system, not semesters like every other university I have experienced. On Monday, I have to be in Cleveland to meet an M.D. interested in getting involved with the type of research my thesis and I are doing.


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