(Porter Square Escalator. Taken without permission from Chris Dever’s flickr album at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdevers/4455738379/)

There is no turning back.  I cannot back down, cannot even bring myself to look back.  I am riding the escalator up from the Porter Square train station and I am scared shitless.  This is crazy, who would build such a monstrosity, this grinding hunk of metal that stretches for at least four stories high?  Did they not think of the senior citizens with their canes and feeble, varicose legs?  Or the party-goers stumbling out of the train in the early AM after a night of drunken revelry?  Or even me, freshly minted college graduate who also happens to have an intense phobia of heights?  There is absolutely nothing separating me from imminent death.  Any moment, my body will throw itself backwards, against my will.  The idea is tickling in my mind; it is evil, evil.  I try to distract myself by scooting up as far as possible to the person standing in front of me, so close that I am inches from kissing her butt. My hands are gripping the railing with superhuman tenacity, as if by sheer force I can meld the molecules of my hand to the black, rubber handle.  I keep my head down, eyes focused on the shoes of Ms. Butt, trying to think pleasant thoughts.  I wonder if anybody notices the violent internal struggle I am dealing with right now.  The only thing keeping me from squatting down and riding the rest of the way on my butt is my pride.  And pride can be a flimsy thing. 

I look up and almost scream—still two more stories to go.  We are moving at an impossibly slow pace, and I can feel every small jerky motion of the platform as it rises. I imagine the sheer drop that is looming behind me.  For a moment, I contemplate pushing the people in front of me aside, so I can make a run for it.  But I don’t, because I am certain that there is not enough strength in my legs to propel me forward.  I swallow hard.  There is a kid further ahead, three or four years old, who is having a ball.  He is giggling as he teeters over the edge of his platform, his father pulling him back up just as he slips.  Not funny, kid.  One slip up and your tiny body will be hurtling down like a bowling ball, and I will be the unfortunate pin.  Damn it, stop giggling.  This is unacceptable.  I swear, there is no way that I am catching you.  In one deft motion, I will step aside and watch you fly past me.  Maybe then it would dawn on the idiots who built this escalator that this was a f____ bad idea.  Just as I break into a cold sweat, we reach the top. 

I have been prowling the craigslist postings for apartments for the past four months with fruitless results.  Now, I only have another month left to find my new “dwelling space” for the next year.  At this point, I am beyond frustration.  I just want to know that I won’t be on the streets.  Somebody take me in!  I’m a good roommate, I swear.  I will feed you baked goods.  I will leave the bathroom sparkling clean.  There will be no dirty dishes piled in the sink.  And I will play the playful, sympathetic, understanding roommate on demand.  In return, I expect a reasonably priced home that is situated within 10 minutes of the train station on the Red Line. 

Which brings me to my escalator escapades.  Most of the places I’m looking at are around the Porter Square Station; because despite their freakish escalator, there is a gym, grocery store, CVS, furniture store, bookstore, bars, restaurants right across the street from the station.  I want so desperately to live there, and yet, the thought of using that escalator day in and day out for a whole year almost turns my stomach.  Somebody told me that I would get over it in time.  Let me tell you, last week was probably my dozenth time going up those godforsaken steps and I was still near hysteria.  What about the elevator?  Well, that would be just dandy except for the fact that I’m also a germophobe.  I’m already disgusted with actually placing my bare palms on that sticky escalator rail, but to actually walk into that dark and dank, rusted contraption of a thing they call the escalator?  (I actually don’t really know that it’s dank and rusty, I just assume so because it IS dark)

I also finally finished Dave Egger’s “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”  If you can’t tell, I was inspired by its style—thus, the little vignette at the beginning of this post.  Of course, I don’t presume to write half as well as Eggers can, but I do my best.  One of my friends said I should try my hand at short story writing, which I might try to do on this blog.  But, really, I’m not a writer.  I do like that it keeps my brain sharp when I try to write something every week. 

Pardon the slightly unattractive pictures of my tart.  The cheesecake itself was actually amazing.  I used a recipe that called for sour cream instead of condensed milk, and I think it gives the cheesecake a light, spongy texture that was absolutely delightful.  I was also really pleased about the crushed almonds that I added to the crust; the flavor really does shine through.  The only disappointment was the plum sauce.  Not so much because it didn’t taste good (actually, it was great!), but the appearance was not what I hoped for.  For one, I should have used red plums instead of black ones.  My fruits didn’t have enough juice in them, so I had to run them through my food processor to get a jam-like consistency.  Regardless, it was still a tasty treat that was much enjoyed at work.