I gave away my space heater from college yesterday. Honestly, the apartment I’m in now is the first place I’ve ever had that had even just decent heat. That space heater has been an important item in my life for years.
I remember vividly sitting on the edge of my bed with that heater blasting right on me. It was winter in Elizabeth, NJ. I was renting a room for like $400 a month. It was small with no heating unit whatsoever, but it did have a big window. I was always working on something, trying to figure out who I was or what I was doing. I’d be on my laptop going from the chair to the bed, back and forth. I had to redirect the heater to be aimed right at me the whole time in order to survive it felt like lol.
The next place I had after that was an apartment in North Newark that barely ran the heat. I slept with that space heater right beside me. I often sat at the dining room table with it pointing at me while I worked on my master’s thesis on Shakespeare. The supers came by together one day finally to check the temperature to see if I was exaggerating or not. One of them walked in like, ok see it’s warm in here. I was like, no it’s warm here because of the space heater. Go in the bedroom and it’s ice cold. Now that I think of it, they never did get around to fixing that.
I think it was my sister who got the space heater for me to begin with my first year of grad school. I would have probably just suffered through the cold otherwise. I was a teaching assistant teaching my own classes and making a smooth 9k a year. Living off student loans and vibes. But that really didn’t matter much in real time. I had no kids. I was living alone. I learned to be unafraid of money, so long as I have a spot and am pushing forward creatively. If I was fuckin up in one of those areas, then yea I’d probably be more scared of being broke lol. I don’t know.
-Rachel Wagner 2020