Written by Jason Boyce, illustrated by Jon Stitch and designed by Isla Bell Murray for The Bold Italic

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It was a handwritten note from the master tenant. As he explained it, his wife was moving back from North Carolina and would need my room. She couldn’t stay in his room because he was currently sharing it with their son’s babysitter, with whom he was having an affair.

I’d only been in the apartment for three months before I got that notice. I fled my previous living situation because I hadn’t slept in a month – both roommates were in new relationships and had ­regular 4 a.m. sexcapades. And sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time I moved. Over the next year, I would move four more times. These are the make-or-break times for living in San Francisco.

Several of my friends have gone through similar circumstances. They’ve moved to the East Bay and are happier there. But I love San Francisco. And I’m stubborn. The fog, the hills, the amazing views, and the crazy range of amazing people it can bring together – all these things made me realize, from my first visit, that this city was my home­­. But it isn’t easy to make a life here. As a filmmaker, my passion pays my bills, but films are long-term projects that can go on months before payment, so I always need to be thinking a few months ahead.

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I’m insanely lucky to make a living from my work, and I do it by balancing a part-time job editing films and working distribution at a nonprofit with freelance work for a variety of clients – mostly documentary-film production. Storytelling and social justice are two of my passions, and San Francisco allows me to combine the two for a career that gives me the strength to keep working, even when my home situation is in shambles.

After I got the eviction notice, I figured it wasn’t worth the impending drama, so I decided to go. I made a few phone calls and found out that a friend of mine had a very small spare room in his flat but could only sublet it for a couple of months. I took it just to get out of a bad space, even though I was just buying time. My clients had deadlines, and my problems couldn’t get in the way of them.

One week later, I was living in a tiny room, trying not to pull my hair out over how much more expensive rooms had gotten in the last three months. Would I even be able to afford to stay in the city, or would I get priced out? I didn’t even have time to think about it. That time was better spent firing off hopeful emails and arranging meetings with prospective roommates while juggling several work projects.

See the rest of the story at The Bold Italic.

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KQED Pop

KQED Pop is a daily blog edited by Emmanuel Hapsis that critically examines the social and cultural impact of music, movies, television, advertisements, fashion, the internet and all the other collective experiences that make us laugh, cringe and cry. We focus on local, national and international experiences with a Bay Area lens. We don’t do reviews.

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