I have to share this, though: Last night, while I was doing laundry in the basement, the superintendent came by and asked what I was paying for rent.
"$750," I said.
"Really?" He said. "And you've got another roommate in addition to the couple who are on the lease? And he's paying $750?"
He looked disgusted. "That's illegal," he said. "I was wondering. I think you're being ripped off. The apartment goes for $1650. The law says you're supposed to share the cost equally."
Gloink! went my head. And then I went on Craigslist and discovered that it is more than possible for me to live in Manhattan with roommates in reasonable safety (and even convenience!) for under $750. My original mistake---which I had never thought to reexamine---was that I looked on Craigslist under "Apartments." They also have a section called "Share" and the prices are significantly lower. Silly me! So I've started looking around. If I can save even $100 a month, I'll be in much better shape vis-a-vis survival, and I won't be constantly worrying about, say, whether going to a movie for $12 will mean eating rice for the next three days. Whew!
But of course, I'm not asserting any actual wrongdoing by my roommates, and I haven't looked into that part of it any further. I'm just thrilled to discover that it may indeed be possible to live in Manhattan, in my current job, and not feel like I'm on the constant verge of destitution. I've been relieved ever since. Now all I need is to somehow obtain, or miraculously save up, enough to cover first and last month's rent in some new place...
So when I'm not doing the Haystack, I may simply be online, shopping for cheaper apartments. It's very, very soothing.