Sai Hotel. 964 Howard Street.
Near the middle of February 2001 — one week out of the hospital and just beginning to recover from a six year nightmare of homelessness and heroin addiction — I rented lodgings at the Sai Hotel for 400 dollars a month.* As this was well below what other SROs were charging, it seemed like a bargain until I actually saw what I had rented. On the top floor at the back of the building, an undersized door opened inward on a room so absurdly small, it barely qualified as a crib. The bit of floorspace unoccupied by a single-width bed was a narrow strip along the length of the room, but this was mostly taken up by a small sink and a nightstand. All that remained empty was clearance for the door. To open or close the door from inside the room, I had no choice but to stand on the bed. Every time I shaved or washed my face, I risked electrocution by the ungrounded electrical outlet in an open utility box over the sink. For all practical purposes inaccessible, the lead-colored walls were entirely bare. A diminutive window above the nightstand provided meager illumination that barely dispelled the gloom. Suspended by a length of ancient cloth-insulated wire, a naked sixty-watt light bulb offered more light, but I rarely used it as the glare was intolerable. Every aspect of the room was uncomfortable and oppressive. It felt like a broom closet, in fact I think it had been one, but it was the first place I could call home after nearly six years on the streets.
*cf. Personal History.
7 responses to “Sai Hotel”
IT sounds romantic in the Hunter S Thompson tradition but having witnessed the Fairfax shenanigans I know living there can lead to a fate worse than death if you’re not inclined to knock yourself off at the depressing reality of the dismal surroundings. But it sounds urban and daring when you describe it.
Thanks very much for the excellent feedback, Michael, which has given me some valuable insight about improving my writing. Thank you!
Inspired by your comments, I rewrote the paragraph about the Sai today. Thanks again.
And then what happened?
Read Hotel Fairfax or Personal History.
Interesting story please continue !!!
See my reply to Joseph Thomas.