Friday, July 6, 2012

craigslist has become a compulsion.

You don't know what to do. You're not having any luck finding an apartment and now you're not even having any luck finding a roommate situation.
You just keep telling yourself that the right place, your place, just hasn't come up yet. But there's a bit of tragedy in shopping around for homes, you know? You click on some anonymous craigslist add based on the fact that it has a picture and feel an instant wave of fury sweep over you when it's only an exterior shot. You take a post even less seriously when there are no pictures attached at all- at least at first you do.  And then there are the posts for places that contain pictures and you fall instantly in love or feel your stomach drop in dread that someone else is scrambling in this race to find the biggest, brightest, cheapest, closest , etc... to call home. Someone is going to have to settle for that bottom -of-the-barrel hellhole. The law of diminishing returns or something, right? We're all throwing unknowing elbows at each other, trying to shine a little brighter to catch an eye, emailing these replies that make us look quirky and fun and responsible, but not too quirky, Right. Craigslist has become your most frequently viewed page. Even at work. Even on your phone. Because this has turned into an arms race you and WILL see anything posted first. When it comes to selling yourself in a query it may be every man for themselves, but you WILL get there first.
You know the unit/apartment/house that everyone wants. The one that's too good to be true because it was obviously created for you. AND IT'S IN YOUR PRICE RANGE. GLORY! The one that you look at the pictures over and over, scrolling, scrolling more slowly over each one, eyes glazing over slightly. Because you start to see your shit in there. You can imagine your couch by that window and see your pictures hanging on the walls and your dishes in the sink and your bed angled just so. And seeing your apartment in a place that is advertised for anyone and everyone to see, 2000 miles away from your eyes straining on pictures of it on a screen while you lounge on your couch in your current home, it makes you feel uneasy. Queasy. Almost militant. Your heart starts pounding a bit louder even though you will it not to because at this point in the housing search, this feeling of deja vu isn't new anymore. It happens daily. Sometimes more than daily. The possibilities are endless, but they're probably not yours for the taking, so try not to get too excited.
But you do. You DO get attached and excited and send the link to one of your friends with the subject "I think this one might ACTUALLY be THE ONE." Because you're hopeful. The housing search hasn't beat you yet. It's dealt some blows, sure, but you're still looking. You're not giving in on that hardwood floor criteria. You WILL walk to school from home. Those things are non-negotiable. You can live without a dishwasher, maybe, if you have to.  And maybe a view of the mountains out the windows isn't crucial, likewise a bathtub, but you WILL have hardwoods floors and a short walk to campus.
But then you never hear back from any of your meticulously crafted responses, you never hear anything back at all. You start to worry that something is wrong with you. Is this giving you a complex? What are you saying wrong? The non-negotiables that seemed like basic staples are now sounding just the slightest bit frivolous, even to you. You'd settle for newer carpet maybe, right? There's a bus system isn't there?
You are starting to imagine yourself in that dark, dank, basement apartment that you cringed at, crammed and jammed with carpet from the 80s that smells like feet, and an upstairs neighbor with a litter of children and a pack of wild dogs crowded into their equally tiny space, the paper thin walls letting you get suddenly intimate with someone you'd usually avoid.
You actually shake your head a few times to clear it of that horrendous mental picture when you realize it's only a bad daydream. Only a bad daydream.
Except now it's getting down to the wire and since you still have nothing secured and only discouraging responses from shady would-be landlords, you're considering not only dropping your non-negotiables but also (yikes!) living with roommates. Or paying a fuck ton of a lot more in rent than you can really afford. A LOT more.
It was your dream to live alone. That's all you really wanted, to live alone. One. More. Time.
And now even that is looking completely ridiculous. So you send out queries to any ad that can even be stretched as 'passable.' Even to self-important sounding dickheads who are three years your junior, almost begging them to reply. At least tell you what's wrong with you. You don't remember ever feeling so insecure.
And it's hard, you know, to look forward to where you're going when it seems like everyone hates you there or are at least totally uninterested in anything you have to say and all the landlords now seem super shady and a single 26 year old non smoker with no pets can't even find a place to call home. It's really hard to get excited to move somewhere that so obviously doesn't appear to want you- now that you've had to sludge through the underbelly of the housing market for months before you actually move there. But this is what you wanted! Adventure! You're leaving everything behind! So you better be fucking happy about it because no one really gets why you're doing it anyway! Don't you dare falter in your thrill to be moving onto something new! Don't you fucking dare panic or be anything other than glowing with radiance and thrill!
And then your mother, always trying to help in the most embarrassing ways, sends you the link for the women's shelter out there and you realize that the low you thought was THE low in your housing search, it's not even close. But don't worry, you can always crash at the women's shelter! You're not a freeloader taking valuable resources away from battered women! And now your mother has just officially made it her personal mission to find a a place for you to live since she doesn't believe it can really be that hard. You're just not trying hard enough. As if you've never heard that from her before. So you get a near constant string of emails yielding the results of her god-only-knows elementary-level internet search, probably fucking yahoo or something. You know it's mean/rude/ungrateful, but you can't think of anything even vaguely grateful to say in reply, so mostly you just don't reply at all.
Now your eyes hurt and you feel pretty solidly jumpy and tense at all times. But you're totally fucking cool, you know? You're not going to freak out, no way. You're fucking PSYCHED to be moving out west and you could honestly handle the leaving everything behind part if you could fucking secure a place to live in the next three weeks so that the movie company actually has a place to drop off your shit at the end of the cross country haul. No biggie. You're not worried about the way your life is going to change. Mostly just about finding and warm dry place to lay your head at night.
Suddenly you realize that you haven't checked craigslist in the entire time it's taken to type this dramatic narrative. Gotta go.


  1. I was going to suggest a motel for a week while you search...women's shelter though, that's alwayas a possibility. :-)
    Good luck with the search!

  2. Good luck in your search for a place!


    - Ian

  3. thanks to you both! i'm making progress little by little and i think i may have found THE ONE... but i'm trying not to get my hopes up. we'll see!