Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Do collect a mop, pail and sponge.

In its heydey, my building was the place to be. It's where the money was, where the movers and shakers of wild and gritty Tacoma resided.

Built of red brick in 1912, the building, named after an upper-crust fellow by the name of Mr. Hill, served as setting for galas and games in the giant cardroom/ballroom in the basement.

Residents and visitors passed between two thick white pillars out front and through the heavy wooden-and-glass door and past the carved mantel to the right and up one, two, three or four staircases — to the top floor with the penthouse if that well connected. Hands glided along the same banister that mine now follow when I dare to ascend from my hovel in the basement.

It was the era when maids, usually black, were banned from entering apartments through the front doors, they were required to use the kitchen doors alongside. The cold metal shafts that served as refrigerators remain as do the ghosts and spirits of residents past who met good times and tragic.

My apartment's the exception to those days of glory. It's the old maid's quarters. I laughed and exclaimed "appropo!" when the owner told me because at the time I was earning my keep as a professional cleaner.

It's not just that. My station in life has tumbled far, in breadth and depth, from my soul's blueprint, background, education, life experience, aspirations and true self. Where once I dreamt by soul design of traveling the world with pen and camera, capturing humans at their best and their worst and the glory and beauty of animals and nature, now I fight to survive and stay off the streets and cobble together the funds that allow repairs to ill teeth.

My apartment is accessible through a side door or the grand entrance, down the staircase to the basement, first door straight ahead. I've often imagined how many eyes of the finer breed have been laid upon this very door before they turn right toward the dedicated cardroom.

I've come to know a few of the neighbors and as such have seen inside their spaces. Wow. Wee. Niiiiiiice. Places that are spacious with lots of windows and light and good vibes and energies. And all that for only a few hundred dollars above my rent, which tells me that mine's overpriced or theirs too low.

Even at those underpriced rents, I couldn't possibly afford either of the two apartments vacated by my gal pals, though I do covet Kate's place. However, today I discovered that the studio above me, the largest in the house, is coming available; the resident gave me the tour.

It fucking sucks that I just lost my job because I'd take it, it's what I've been needing.

The space is larger and with a more liberal floor plan. Mine's cramped, confining and impossibly restrictive around arranging.

It's above the street. Mine's at street level, which I don't care for at all.

It looks out into a bushy giant paine. Mine looks out into a telephone pole.

And the best feature: windows. Windows that allow a flood of light and sunshine, on those rare days of  Mr. Sol's appearance in the Pacific Northwest.

The windows in my place, on the other hand, are few and angled such that half the apartment never sees the light of day, literally. And because I'm freakishly suprahuman light-sensitive, I struggle a lot here. In fact, I've often considered moving just to get some light.

My place is old and tired. It could benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Actually it could benefit from a change in color, especially because of its inherent dreariness due to the dearth of light, but the owner allows only standard antique white. And shame on the person who painted the wood trim!!! The ocean of bland white is mind-numbing and dreary.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the place, it's a helluva lot better than living under the nazi queen bitch. Still, truth is truth and truth is the place is worn and weary. It has none of the vitality and good vibes of half-dozen spaces I've viewed in this fine and distinguished structure of fascinating history.

Funny how one day can alter a life! A week ago I'd have snapped up that larger apartment. I hunger to move up from my lowly station even if "only" to the first floor where the waves of gaiety and fruitful living and light linger palpalbly. It'd have been a small step — well, 17 steps up the staircase to be exact –  17 steps in the right direction.

As for the cardroom down the hall, alas, it's occupied, so I can't invite you over for entertainment. However, I can host some of my own. I'll provide the snacks, wine and spirits — and by that I do mean the many ghosts inhabiting these walls — if you'll supply the cards:

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